Ian Fenn's Blog

15 Oct 2015

Once owned by a Prime Minister

Coins | Ian Fenn

This morning the post arrived with an annoying surprise. The local branch of my bank is closing and they were asking that I empty my safety deposit box by mid November. I decided to do it immediately. The letter had only just arrived so the news of the closure was fresh , and the news that people had to empty their safety deposit boxes hopefully hadn't got around. So I head off to the bank after lunch, with an airline carry on bag. In half an hour I am back home with 1/3rd of my coins collection. Before transferring the coins to a new bank I had a sort through them and found some long forgotten treasures. One small box brought a smile to my face: In it were two numismatic items; a New Zealand 1967 2 cent Bahama's Mule and a Token from a Wellington( Capital City of New Zealand) Department store. Neither is particularly rare ( here is a link to the story of the Bahamas mule http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/research_and_publications/fact_sheets_and_guides/5914507.pdf) but that's not why I smiled in the case of these two coins the provenance is far more important. In 1967 New Zealand converted from Pounds Shillings and pence to Dollars and cents. I was only seven years old at the time, I can remember the black and white TV programs advertising the change, and recalling the difficulty I anticipated with the new coins. Now I can hardly remember the coins before that date. The Finance minister over seeing this change was the Right Honorable Rob Muldoon, the man who became NZ's most Famous or infamous, depending on your point of view, Prime Minister. He served as Prime Minister from 1975- 1984. He is a contentious figure still, even though he died in1992. People either loved him or hated him there was never any middle ground. For all his faults I recall him as the last real leader New Zealand had. He didn't listen to the press he terrified them and on at least one occasion he brought an ill-prepared Journalist to tears. Right or wrong he led!!! I suspect he would be stunned at today's political world. Back to the coins:In 1967 he was presented with the two coins that are now in my custody. I am still amazed I am the owner, they came up for sale in NZ about 3-4 years ago, there was no apparent interest in them and I made a fair ( but I believe cheap)offer and they became mine. the box they came in is not in great condition but for me its the person behind the box and the two "coins" that is the most important .

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