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Saturday, 23 May 2015

187) Currency and Coinage of Bermuda :Bermuda Dollar and Cents:

Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean, located off the east coast of North America.

In 1503, the first known European explorer to reach Bermuda was Juan de Bermudez after whom the islands are named. He claimed the islands on behalf of the Spanish Empire, visited them twice, but did not settle them because of the dangerous reefs surrounding these islands. Interestingly, because of the stormy petrel bird (or cahow’s) eerie nocturnal cries and the loud sounds heard from wild hogs at night, early Spanish sailors did not settle the islands because they thought the isles were possessed by banshees and evil spirits. Combined with frequent stormy conditions, the archipelago was known as the “Isle of Devils”.

Thereafter, both Spanish and Portuguese ships stopped at the islands as a replenishment halt to take on fresh meat and water but never settled the islands.

In 1609, Bermuda were involuntarily settled when the “Sea Venture” carrying British colonists, bound for Virginia was wrecked off the island. The ship was deliberately driven onto the reefs of Bermuda by Admiral Sir George Somers to prevent it from capsizing as a storm had overtaken it. Thanks to this manoeuvring, all crew and passengers were saved, leading to the settlement of the island.

Initially, Bermuda was called “Somers Island”, named after the “Sea Venture” Admiral.

By 1612, Bermuda became a full fledged English settlement.

Until 1614, the islands were administered as an extension of Virginia.

From 1614 to 1684, the Somers Isles Company administered these islands.

Between 1612 and 1624, the first Bermudian circulating coinage was of 2, 3 and 6 pence and 1 shilling nicknamed “Hogge Money”, because on the obverse there was the depiction of a pig (several pigs had been released by Spanish sea-farers on the island and these had flourished and multiplied, providing a major source of food for these early settlers).

In 1684, the Somers Isles Company charter was revoked and the English Crown took over the administration.

In 1707, following the unification of Parliaments of Scotland and England which created the Kingdom of Great Britain, the islands became a British colony.

From 1793, a token coinage circulated here in the form of copper pennies.

In 1842, British coinage became legal tender in Bermuda when the authorities in Bermuda decided to make the Pound sterling the official currency of the colony to circulate alongside the Spanish gold Doubloons (equivalent to 64 Shillings) which were an popular coin in Latin America. The Bermudian Pound was equivalent to the British Pound subdivided into 20 shillings each of 12 pence. No separate variety of coinage was issued for circulation in Bermuda.

In 1882, the Bermuda “Legal Tender Actdemonetised the gold doubloons which had in effect been the most prevalent currency in Bermuda. This left the British Pound Sterling as the only legal tender in Bermuda.

In 1959 and 1964, special silver commemorative 1 crown (five shillings) coins were issued similar in appearance to the British crown coins, but depicting Bermudian designs on their reverses. The 1959 issues (100,000 pieces) have a map of the islands to mark their 350th Anniversary of settlement. The 1964 issues (500,000 pieces) show Bermuda’s Coat of Arms.

Till, 1970, the Pound Sterling remained the currency of Bermuda, although the Government of Bermuda issued a few denominations of its own in paper currency.

On 06.02.1970, Bermuda abandoned the Pound sterling, decimalised its currency and introduced the Bermudian dollar sub-divided into 100 cents. Coins in the denominations of 1 (bronze till 1988; later copper plated steel), 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents (all denominations in cupro-nickel) were issued.

The Obverse of all these coins have a portrait of  Queen Elizabeth II .  On the Reverse the depictions are – 1 cent (wild hog), 5 cents (Angelfish), 10 cents (Bermuda Easter lilies), 25 cents (Longtail in flight), 50 cents (Coat of Arms of Bermuda).

In 1983, $1 (Map of Bermuda and Cahow/Bermuda-fitted dinghy on the Reverse) and $5 coins (Map of Bermuda & Onion on the Reverse) were introduced. The $5 and 50 cents coin denominations were subsequently withdrawn in 1990, because of their unpopularity.

Today, Bermuda is the most populous and oldest of the British Overseas territories.

Commemorative coins:

Bermuda has issued commemorative coins celebrating important events, historical milestones, flora & fauna etc.

 Reverse and Obverse of a Commemorative three-sided gold coin issued under the Bermuda Triangle Series.
For instance, in 1996, Bermuda began minting a series of coins to publicise the mystery of the “Bermuda Triangle”. The coins are three-sided (in the form of a triangle) and are in the denominations of $3 or a multiple of 3. These coins are nicknamed the “Bermuda Triangles” and are made on special lobed triangular planchets of gold or silver.

The first coins ($3, $6 & $30) showed a map of Bermuda, a compass and a sinking ship. Later issues featured specific ships, like the “Sea Venture” (wrecked in 1609) and the “Deliverance”, built by the survivors for their onward journey to Jamestown, Virginia etc.


In 1914, 1 Pound Banknotes were introduced by the Government.

From 1920 to 1957, 5 Shilling Banknotes were issued.

In 1927, 10 Shilling Banknotes were issued.

In 1941, 5 Pound Banknotes were circulated.

In 1964, 10 Pound banknotes were issued.

In 1970, with the replacement of the British Pound Sterling by the Dollar, Dollar denominated banknotes were introduced in the denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Dollars. $1 Banknotes have since been demonetised/withdrawn from circulation.

From 1974, the Bermuda Monetary Authority has taken over the supervision and control of paper money production and circulation.

From 01.01.2014, all the “Legacy Banknotes” (horizontally-printed ones from 1970 onwards) have been withdrawn from circulation, in favour of the Vertically printed Series introduced in 2009.

The 2000 Series of Banknotes (since withdrawn):

Common features:

a)   The size of all these Banknotes was 140 mm x 68 mm.

b)   The watermark was that of Tuna Fish.

c)   The Front of all these Banknotes had a portrait of a crowned Queen Elizabeth II.

An image of the Front of a $2 Banknote issued on 24.05.2000, from the 2000 Series, (since withdrawn).

The Front of the $2 Banknote shows a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and a sea-horse.

An image of the Back of a $2 Banknote issued on 24.05.2000, from the 2000 Series, (since withdrawn).

The Back of the $2 Banknote shows a Map of Bermuda and the Royal Naval Dockyard.

Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda: was the chief base of the Royal Navy in the Western Atlantic between American Independence and the Cold War from 1795 onwards. Prior to Bermuda’s colonisation by the British in 1609, it was a base for French Privateers who used the islands as a staging post against Spanish galleons in the 16th century.

The colour of this Banknote is predominantly blue and green.

The Front of the $5 Banknote shows a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and a conch shell.

The Back of the $5 Banknote shows St. David’s Lighthouse and the town of St. George.

The colour of this Banknote is predominantly purple and burgundy.

The Front of the $10 Banknote shows a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Oleander Flowers.

The Back of the $10 Banknote shows Flatt’s Inlet, Cahow and a sea-shell.

Bermuda Petrel (Pterodroma cahow): Its name is derived from its eerie cries and it is a nocturnal ground nesting sea-bird. It is the National Bird of Bermuda and is a symbol of hope for nature conservation. Following Bermuda’s colonisation by the British, cats, dogs and other predators including humans, hunted the birds down to extinction.

After being considered extinct for about 330 years it was rediscovered in 1951 when a group of 18 nesting pairs were found. A National Conservation Programme was immediately taken up to conserve the bird from extinction again and increase its population. The cahow is an excellent flier and spends its adult life on the open seas coming back to land only for mating and breeding.

The colour of this Banknote is predominantly dark blue and mauve.

The Front of the $20 Banknote shows a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Burnaby House.

The Back of the $20 Banknote shows Ely’s Harbour and Somerset bridge.

The colour of this Banknote is predominantly green and red.

The Front of the $50 Banknote shows a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Commissioner’s House.

The Back of the $50 Banknote shows Map of Bermuda and Scuba divers exploring a shipwreck.

The colour of this Banknote is predominantly bluish black, red and brown.

The Front of the $100 Banknote shows a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Bermudiana flowers.

The Back of the $100 Banknote shows the House of Assembly of Bermuda and Camden House.

The colour of this Banknote is predominantly red-orange and brown.

The 2009 Series of Banknotes (Date of Series 01.01.2009 & presently circulating since 09.03.2009):

Common Features:

a)   The size of all these Banknotes is 140mm x 68 mm.

b)   The portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the Front has been replaced by a very small portrait of her facing left, depicted on the bottom left hand corner of the Front of all denominations of Banknotes, while the  Avifauna and Aquatic life predominantly found in and around Bermuda are featured prominently along with the historical heritage of Bermuda on both sides.

c)   The Banknotes have been printed in Vertical format in place of the hitherto horizontal format.

        The Front of the $2 Banknote shows a Bluebird (Sialia Sialis).

The Eastern Bluebird (Sialia Sialis): is a small bird found in open woodlands, farmlands, orchards etc. It is the state bird of Missouri and New York.

The Back of the $2 Banknote shows the Dockyard Clock Tower and a statue of Neptune.

The colour of this Banknote is predominantly turquoise.

The Front of the $5 Banknote shows a Blue Marlin (Makaira nigricans).

 Blue Marlin (Makaira nigricans): is the majestic fish found in the Altlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Some other historic English names for the Blue Marlin are “Cuban Black Marlin”, “Ocean Gar” and Ocean Guard”. The Blue Marlin is a relative of the Saltfish and Swordfish, and is easily recognisable for its long “sword” or “spike” of its upper jaw, its high and pointed dorsal fin and pointed anal fin. The Marlin uses its “sword” to club other fish on which it feeds.

It is interesting to recall that the fish found a mention in Ernest Hemmingway’s book “Old Man and the Sea”. Hemmingway was a frequent visitor to The Bahamas, especially to the island of Bimini, where the Blue Marlin is highly prized among the strong game-fishing community.

The Back of the $5 Banknote shows the Horseshoe Bay and a Somerset Bridge.

The colour of this Banknote is predominantly pink.

The Front of the $10 Banknote shows a Bermuda Blue angelfish (Holacanthus bermudensis).

Bermuda Blue Angelfish (Holacanthus bermudensis): This is a species of marine angelfish of the family Pomacanthidae. It is blue-brown in colour with green hues and bright yellow on the tip of its tail and fins. And can grow up to a length of 18 inches. It is found in the western Atlantic part of Bermuda, the Bahamas and florida to the gulf of Mexico and also the Yucatan, Mexico. It ranges along the Tropical Eastern Atlantic, is common in florida and strays further south into the Caribbean. It stays near rocks, coral and sponges and is popular as an Aquarium fish.

The Back of the $10 Banknote shows an image of the Ship Deliverance and Commissioner’s House.

The colour of this Banknote is predominantly purple.

The Front of the $20 Banknote shows a whistling frog.

The Back of the $20 Banknote shows the Gills Lighthouse and St. Mark’s Church.

The colour of this Banknote is predominantly green.

The Front of the $50 Banknote shows a Longtail (Phaethon).

The Back of the $50 Banknote shows the St. Peter’s Church.

The colour of this Banknote is predominantly yellow.

The Front of the $100 Banknote shows a Red Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis).
 Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) or the Red cardinal: The Northern Cardinal is a bird of the genus “Cardinalis”. Found mostly in Canada along Eastern United States through Mexico, it frequents woodlands, gardens, shrub-lands and swamps. It is a mid-sized songbird which can grow to about 21 cms or 8.3 inches. It is primarily grainivorous, but also feeds on insects and fruits.

The Back of the $100 Banknote shows the House of Assembly of Bermuda.

The colour of this Banknote is predominantly red.

Coat of Arms of Bermuda:

The Coat of Arms of Bermuda shows a red coloured lion holding a shield that depicts the wrecked ship the “Sea Venture” which led to the settlement of Bermuda. The Latin motto below the Coat of Arms, reads: QUO FATA FERUNT” (meaning “Whither the Fates Carry (us)”.

The Coat of Arms replaced a badge which was in use before 1910. The badge was based on a sketch made in 1869, of the 1817 Seal, which depicted a wet dock of the time showing some boats in the background which in all probability indicates that the islands were a stopover base for ships passing through this part of the Seas.

The heraldic blazon reads: Argent (meaning “silver”), on a mount vert (meaning “green colour”) a lion sejant affronte gules (meaning “red”) supporting between the forepaws an antique shield azure (meaning “sky blue”) thereon a representation of the wreck of the ship Sea Venture proper”.

About the Sea Venture: It was the flagship of the London Company which had helped establish the settlement of Jamestown in Virginia, USA in 1607. Its charter included delivering supplies and additional settlers in 1608, raising the number of settlers to about 200.

 As the settlement was ridden with starvation, diseases and armed conflicts with the Native Americans, the settlement looked doomed for failure, as was the fate of the earlier two attempts to establish a settlement in Jamestown.

The London Company therefore was staring at huge losses from its shipping venture and demanded huge sums of money from the Jamestown settlers to meet the costs of the voyage from London to Jamestown which they were not able to pay upfront.

The investors in the London Company tried out a last-ditch attempt to shore up the Company’s profits and fitted out their best and most expensive ship the “Sea Venture” in June 1609, which sailed on her maiden voyage from Plymouth for Jamestown, Virginia at the head of a seven ship fleet carrying between 500 to 600 settlers in the entire fleet.

The fleet ran into a hurricane level storm (and like the Titanic), it had a critical flaw – her timbers had not set and the ship began to leak and take in water rapidly which rose in her hold to about nine feet. As a result, the Sea Venture separated from her fleet, almost foundered on the shores of Bermuda.

The Admiral of the Company, Sir George Somers, was at the helm during the storm, and finding that all hope was lost, deliberately drove the ship onto the Bermuda reefs to save the passengers and crew. Over a 150 men and a dog were saved & they set up the settlement at Bermuda.

The Bermuda Triangle or the “Devil’s Triangle”:

The US Board of Geographic names does not recognise the “Bermuda Triangle” as an official name.

The “Bermuda or Devil’s Triangle” is an imaginary area located off the south-eastern Atlantic coast of the United States. The area is known for a high incidence of unexplained losses of ships, small boats and aircraft. The apexes of the Triangle are generally accepted to be – Bermuda, Miami, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Popularly believed to be the zone in which disappearances of crafts are attributed to the paranormal or activity by extra-terrestrial intelligence, much of the documented evidence indicates the reported incidents to be fake, inaccurately reported or embellished by “story-telling” (much like the Bermudas were being called the Devil’s Isles on account of the “eerie” calls of the stormy petrel, till they were finally settled in 1609).

 A study by the World Wide Fund for Nature in 2013 did not include the Bermuda Triangle among the 10 most dangerous waters for shipping and insurance companies do not charge higher premiums for voyages in these waters.

The “Devil’s Triangle” is one of the two places on Earth that a magnetic compass actually points towards true North. The difference between the two is known as compass variation. The compass variation can be as much as 20 degrees in different locations within the Triangle.

The other place where a magnetic compass points towards true North is an area off the East coast of Japan. It is called the “Devil’s Sea” or the “Dragon’s Triangle” by the Japanese and Filipino seamen were a lot of mysterious disappearances similar to the Bermuda Triangle.

The Facts and the “Enduring Mystery”:

The “Bermuda Triangle” falls under one of the most heavily travelled/frequented shipping lanes in the World, which are well-defined routes for destinations in the Americas, Europe and the Caribbean islands. The shipping also includes, several cruise ships and pleasure crafts heading from the Bermuda Islands to Florida & vice versa. Several Aircraft too criss-cross over the Triangle headed for Florida, the Caribbean and South America without incidence.

On 16.09.1950, the first instance of unusual disappearances in the Bermuda Area was mentioned in an article for the Associated Press by Edward Winkle Jones.

In 1952, Fate Magazine published a short article titled “Sea Mystery at our Back-door” by George X. Sand which talked about the losses of several planes and ships including the most famous one – the loss of Flight 19, a group of five US Navy TBM Avenger Bombers on a training mission on 05.12.1945. This article focussed on the layout of the area where “mysterious” disappearances of Sea & Air Crafts were happening. Sand mentioned that this could be due to supernatural forces at work.

In April 1962, American Legion Magazine further fuelled the “mystery/alien/supernatural angle” to the disappearance of Flight 19 by stating that the Flight leader had been heard saying “we are entering white water, nothing seems right. We don’t know where we are, the water is green, no white”. (Pretty confusing!! One can see that the Flight Leader was totally confused & had no clue as to what to do next).  It was also claimed that officials at the Navy Board of Inquiry had stated that the planes “flew off to Mars”. (Pretty funny indeed!! What kind of officials are running the US Navy).

In a 1964 issue of the Argosy Pulp Magazine, Vincent Gaddis made the first mention of the apexes of the triangle, in an article titled “The Deadly Bermuda Triangle” adding that the disappearances of Flight 19 and other craft were part of “strange events” in the Region. He followed up this article by bringing out a book titled “Invisible horizons” adding fuel to the “Mystery”.

 As regards, the “boundaries” of the Bermuda Triangle, the versions of several writers differ greatly in fixing the boundaries some varying from 500,000 to 1.5 million sq.miles depending on which accident in an entirely different location is being reported about.

Several other writers followed up the strange events/supernatural incidents” theory – John Wallace Spencer “Limbo of the Lost” (1969), Charles Berlitz “The Bermuda Triangle (1974), Richard Winer “The Devil’s Triangle” (1974) and so on. “Mystery” proponents even included “leftover technology” from the lost Continent of Atlantis, UFOs etc. In the science fiction film “Close Encounters of the third Kind” Steven Spielberg featured the lost Flight 19 airmen as “alien abductees”.

Trust people (read writers) to “cash in” on a raging mystery (like the disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 without trace on 08.03.2014, while flying over another Sea, when several theories/books got published).

In 1975, Lawrence David Kushe presented a counter-view in his book titled “The Bermuda Triangle Mystery: Solved”, wherein he stated that there were several inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the works of the “Mystery proponents viz:

-      Disappearances of sea and air craft were almost the same in all the Seas.

-      Tropical storms and hurricanes were not taken into account in the narrations.

-      In some instances, the disappearance of sea-craft had been mentioned, but no mention was made about their return safely to port after a few days.

-      An instance of a “mysterious” plane crash was found to have been a figment of the writer’s imagination or based on hearsay.

-      He concluded that the Bermuda Triangle mystery was based on faulty reasoning, sensationalism and misconceptions. (Remember that the Bermuda archipelago was not settled by the Spanish Sea-farers because they were called the “Isles of Devils” on account of the eerie nocturnal calls of the Bermuda petrel, which the Spanish were too “scared” to investigate rationally).

-      Full marks to Kushe for trying to put things in proper perspective.

Some of the other prominent reasons for the “disappearances” of the Craft are attributed to:

-      Compass variation (as mentioned earlier)

-      The Gulf Stream which is a deep ocean current originating in the Gulf of Mexico and flowing through the Straits of Florida into the north Atlantic, which is in the nature of a river within the ocean, with surface velocity of about 2.5 metres per second and capable of carrying away small planes or stalled boats etc.

-      Human errors

-      Violent weather

-      Presence of large fields of methane hydrates on the continental shelves capable of sinking ships by decreasing the density of water (This phenomenon has been observed elsewhere, but not in the Bermuda Triangle)

The Facts of Flight 19 “Disappearance”:

-      On 05.12.1945, at 2.10 in the afternoon five Avenger aircraft took off from Naval Air Station at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Grumman Avenger was a single-engine torpedo bomber which usually carried a crew of three. It was a routine practice mission and the Flight was composed entirely of students except for the officer in command – Lt. Charles Taylor.

-      The mission required Taylor and his students to fly due East 56 miles to Hens and Chickens Shoals to make practice bombing runs. When they had completed their bombing runs, they were to fly straight back to base, at a distance of about 120 miles. This course would take them on a triangular path over the Sea.

-      About an hour and a half into the mission, one Lt. Robert Cox picked up a radio transmission from Taylor, who indicated that his compasses were not working, but he believed himself to be somewhere over the Florida Keys (South of the Florida mainland). Cox asked him to fly North, towards Miami, if Taylor was sure about the Flight being over the Keys.

-      Taylor was an experienced pilot, but may have become confused at some point during the Flight. He was unused to flying East towards the Bahamas. For some reason, Taylor apparently thought that the Flight had started out in the wrong direction and had headed South towards the Keys, instead of flying East. This thought was to colour his decisions throughout the rest of the Flight with deadly results.

-      The more Taylor took his Flight North to try to get out of the Keys, the further out to Sea the Avengers were actually flying. Snatches of transmissions were picked up on the mainland, indicating that the other pilots were trying to get Taylor to change course. “if we would just fly West” one student told another, “we would get home”.

-      By 4.45 p.m. it was obvious to people on the ground that Taylor was lost. He was urged to turn control of the Flight over to one of his students, but apparently he didn’t.

-      As it grew dark, communications deteriorated. From the few words that did get through it was apparent Taylor was still flying North and East, the wrong directions.

-      At 5.50 p.m. the ComGulf Sea Frontier Evaluation Centre managed to get a fix of Flight 19’s weakening signals. It was flying East of New Smyrna Beach, Florida. By then communications were so poor that this information could not be passed to the lost planes.

-      At 6.20, a Dumbo Flying Boat was dispatched to try and find Flight 19, but the weather was getting rough and the Avengers were very low on fuel.

-      Two Martin Mariners were supposed to rendezvous at the search zone. The second one, designated Training 49, never showed up. The crew of SS Gaines Mill observed an explosion over the water shortly after Training 49 had taken off and heading towards the site and saw what looked like oil and airplane debris floating on the surface. They were unable to recover any of it, because of bad weather. There was little doubt that it was the remains of Training 49.

-      The last transmission from Flight 19, was heard at 7.04 p.m. Planes searched the area through the night and the next day, but there was no sign of the Avengers.

-      The Authorities did not really expect to find much. The Avengers, crashing when their fuel was exhausted, would have been sent to the bottom in seconds by the 50 foot waves of the storm. As one of Taylor’s colleagues noted “they did not call those planes “Iron Birds” for nothing. They weighed 14000 pounds empty. So when they ditched, they went down pretty fast”.

-      The US Navy’s original investigation concluded that the accident had been caused by Taylor’s confusion. Taylor’s mother refused to accept this. Finally, the Navy changed the report to read that the disaster was due to “causes or reasons unknown” (adding fuel to the “mystery”). Perhaps, If Taylor had listened to his young students and let the more knowledgeable one take command, instead of acting foolhardy, because he was the ranking officer – perhaps we would never have heard about Flight 19’s misadventure and lives may have been saved).

Some other notable incidents:

-      Ellen Austin: is said to have come across a derelict ship in 1881, sent on board a prize crew (a boarding party is one that claims the vessel as a captured one) and attempted to sail with it to New York. Legend has it that the ship disappeared and reappeared without the prize crew. Another boarding party seems to have fared similarly.

Fact: A ship called Meta was built in 1854 which was renamed “Ellen Austin” in 1880. No record of the alleged incidence or disappearance of boarding crew is found anywhere.

USS Cyclops: carrying a crew of 309 full load of manganese ore and with one engine out of order, was lost without trace sometime after 04.03.1918 after leaving Barbados. Later, two sister ships of the Cyclops – Proteus and Nereus, also carrying heavy loads of metallic ore similar to the one on board the Cyclops, were lost in the North Atlantic during World War II.

Fact: All three ships suffered from structural failure due to overloading with a much denser cargo than they were designed to carry, which led to their sinking.

Caroll A. Deering: A five-masted schooner built in 1919, was found aground and abandoned at Diamond Shoals, near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on 31.01.1921 without any one of its crew being accounted for.

Fact: Deering was perhaps a victim of piracy connected with the illegal rum-running trade during Prohibition. It is also believed that another ship the SS Hewitt, which disappeared around the same time may have come to the aid of Deering and was also seized by the pirates who were possibly involved in the disappearance of both crews and that of the SS Hewitt.

Star Tiger and Star Ariel: G – AHNP Star Tiger disappeared on 30.01.1948 on a flight from Azores to Bermuda, while Star Ariel disappeared on 17.01.1949 on a flight from Bermuda to Kingston, Jamaica.

Fact: Both planes were operating at the extreme limits of their range and the slightest error or fault in the equipment would have prevented them from reaching their destinations. In fact one plane had lost radio contact much before it entered the Bermuda Triangle.

Douglas DC-3: On 28.12.1948, a Douglas DC-3 disappeared with 32 persons on board, while on a flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Miami, without trace.

Fact: Upon investigation, the plane’s batteries were found on extremely low charge, which the pilot ordered back into the plane without a recharge since the piston-engined craft relied upon magnetos to provide spark to their cylinders rather than a battery powered ignition coil system. What led to complete electrical failure was not brought out conclusively. Nevertheless, it seemed to be an equipment failure and not on account of “unforeseen forces” at work in the Triangle.

Connemara IV: A pleasure yacht was found adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, south of Bermuda on 26.09.1955 without any trace of its crew. The Bermuda Triangle theorists were of the view that the yacht was struck by three hurricanes at Sea, but somehow stayed adrift, but the fate of the crew remained a “Triangle” mystery.

Fact: The last hurricane passing through this area was between 14th and 18th September 1955. As to the crew & passengers, they may have abandoned the yacht due to some reason and may have been lost at sea.

Now to end this post on a “mysterious angle”:

In April 1952, a pilot Gerald Hawkes, had a strange experience while flying from Idlewind Airport to Bermuda. Hawkes began his trip on a clear-skied, windless late afternoon. Suddenly, his plane dropped 200 ft, then shot up again and this pattern continued several times over and over again. To make matters worse, he and his crew were experiencing instrumentation problems. Consequently, he was unable to make radio contact with either Florida or Bermuda, and had no idea where they were. They were finally able to get their bearings after they finally made contact with a radio ship. Hawkes thought that perhaps his craft was “caught in an area where time and space seem to disappear”.  A Believe it or Not Experience - And so the Mystery Endures!!

(The $10 and $20 Banknotes are from the collection of Ajit George. The $2 Banknotes are from the collection of Jayant Biswas. Banknotes scanned and article written and researched by Rajeev Prasad).


British Crown Dependencies:

1) Specimen Banknotes from the States of Jersey

2) Coinage and Currency from the States of Jersey

3) Currency & Coinage of the Bailiwick of Guernsey

4) Currency & Coinage of Gibraltar : An Overseas Territory of Great Britain

5) Coinage of Gibraltar: (A British Overseas Territory): An Uncirculated Decimal Coin Collection Set minted by the Tower Mint, UK in 2010
6) The Isle of Man: An Uncirculated Decimal Coin Collection Set minted by Pobjoy Mint, UK in 2015

7) The Centenary of the ill-fated Titanic (15.04.1912 - 15.04.2012): An Alderney Five Pound Coin Commemorating the Maritime Legend

8) "Man of Steel": A Superman Movie: A set of stamps brought out in 2013 by Jersey post, the States of Jersey, commemorating Henry William Dalgliesh Cavill who played Superman in the Movie

9) Coins & Currency of Bermuda

10) The Bailiwick of Jersey - Presently circulating coinage - Pounds and Pence 

11) St. Helena & Ascension Islands: An Uncirculated Coin Set from 2003 

12) The Legend of the "HMAV Bounty" is interwoven with the heritage of the Pitcairn Islands: An uncirculated coin set from Pitcairn Islands in 2009 depicting the icons/relics of the Bounty minted by the New Zealand Mint 

Famous Battles

1) Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo and Napoleon's Exile to St. Helena: (Part I): A One Crown Commemorative coin issued by the Ascension Island (minted by Pobjoy Mint UK) 

2) Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo and Napoleon's Exile to st. Helena: (Part II) 1) A 5 GBP Coin issued by the Royal Mint UK. 2) A"Drie Landen Zilverset" ( ot the "Three Lands Silver set") containing coins issued by the Royal Dutch Mint including coins of Netherlands, Belgium and UK

3) Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain by issuing a 50 Pence coin by the Royal Mint UK

Gold Coins:
1) Gold Sovereigns issued in 2013 & 2014 by MMTC-PAMP in India under licence from the Royal Mint, UK, carrying the "I" Mint Mark

2) Gold Half-Sovereigns minted by MMTC-PAMP in India in 2014 under licence from the Royal Mint UK bearing the "I" Mint Mark 

Silver Coins:

1) A 20 Pound Silver coin minted for the first timr by the royal Mint UK: reverse design carries the famous St. George slaying the dragon design found on Gold Sovereigns 

British India Coinage:

 1) East India Company Quarter Anna Copper Coin which is one of the first issues under the Coinage Act 1835

2) Victoria Coinage: When she was Queen and afterwards Empress

3) Edward VII: King & Emperor  Coinage

4) George V King Emperor Coinage

5) George VI: The last of the British India Emperors Coinage 

Other British Royalty: 

1) Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations (1952-2012): A Five Pound Commemorative coin issued by the Royal Mint, UK

2) Commemorating Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation in 1953: A Five Pound Coin minted by the Royal Mint UK in 2013, depicting the Imperial State Crown

3) The Royal Coat of Arms of the UK: Great British 2012 Coin Set (Uncirculated) issued by the Royal Mint UK

4) Prince George's Christening Ceremony celebrated with coins issued by the Royal Mint UK in 2013

5) The British Empire:  A Case of Numismatic "segregation": (Guest Post by Rahul Kumar)

6) 1) The Portrait Collection: Various Portraits of Queen Elizabeth II on Coinage 2) The Fourth & Final Circulating coinage of the Portrait designed by Ian Rank-Broadley and the First Edition of the portrait of the Queen made by Jody Clark

 British Coinage:

1) The contribution of the Great British One-Pound coins in keeping alive the historical legends/emblems/heritage of the UK (1983 onwards)

2) Transformation of a Five shilling Coin (Crown) into the UK Twenty-five Pence & then the Five Pound Coin

3) Transformation of the Two Shilling Coin (Florin) Coin into the UK Ten Pence

4) The 350th Anniversary of the Guinea: A Two Pound Coin issued by the Royal Mint UK celebrating the milestone

 Commemorative British Coinage:

 1) Commemorating the Bicentenary of Charles Dickens: A Two pound coin celebrating his literary contributions during the Victorian Era

 2) Commemorating 50 Years of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) - presently called the World Wide Fund for Nature by issue of a Fifty Pence coin by the Royal Mint, UK

3) Coins commemorating London Olympics & Paralympics (2012)

4) Commemorating 150 Years of the London Underground : Two pound Coins minted by the Royal Mint UK, showing the "Roundel" logo and a train emerging from a tunnel 

5) Commemorating the 100th Birth anniversary of Christopher Ironside with his" Royal Arms" design on a 50 Pence coin issued by the Royal Mint, UK 

6) 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta - the Universal Guidepost to Liberty and Freedom

Inspirations from Scottish History: 

1) The Legend of King Bruce & the Spider on Banknotes

Banknotes from Scotland:
1) Commemorating Sir William Arrol and his creation the Forth Rail Bridge by issues of Britain's first ever 5 Pound Polymer Banknote


  1. Ramchandra Lalingkar has commented:
    "Very interesting information about the innovative Coins and Bank Notes of Bermuda. I was intrigued to know and see the triangular coins issued by them and the vertically printed Bank notes. “The Bermuda Triangle” is really a mystery and there were number of attempts to solve it. On searching in ‘Google’ one can get lot of information and videos. Rajeev, thanks for sharing this post".