Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chicago Civil War Token Maker's Royal Connection to Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge

Every now and then while I am doing some numismatic research, I'll come across a little known fact that has nothing to do with numismatics but that I find interesting none-the-less.

This time it happened while I was researching the S.D. Childs and Company, and its founder Shubael D. Childs. The Chicago diesinker is well known among collectors as a manufacturer of tokens and medals, especially Civil War Tokens.

Some collectors believe the Chicago diesinker may have been the first producer of Civil War Tokens in 1861 when the company was being run by Shubael D. Childs, Jr., the founder's son.  Others debate that distinction. But regardless if S.D. Childs and Company were first or not, they definitely were an important producer of Civil War Tokens.

So it was with some interest that I came across a family connection between Shubael D. Childs and the newly wedded Prince William, along with his father Prince Charles and grandmother Queen Elizabeth II. An ancestor chart showing this connection can be found at FamousKin.com.

It turns out that Shubael Childs and the current Royal Family are related through Shubael's gggggreat-grandfather, Wolstone Childe.

With all the recent attention focused on coins and stamps honoring the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, along with the 150th Anniversary of the start of the U.S. Civil War and S.D. Child's & Co.'s 1861 dated Civil War Tokens, this connection between the two seemed worth sharing.

View the ancestor chart for Shubael Childs and Prince William 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Zero Currency Notes Fight Corruption Worldwide

When we think about corruption here in the United States, we often associate it with our politicians. I don't think there's a day that goes by where there isn't some news about a politician gone bad.

Recently it's been the trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich who is on trial for allegedly trying to sell President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat.

5th Pillar

In India the problem is apparently much worse. That is why a group called 5th Pillar (http://india.5thpillar.org/) was formed to help fight corruption, not only in India, but worldwide.

Their idea is to empower people with a means to fight corruption by introducing what they call the Zero Currency note. As 5th Pillar's website states:

"Next time someone asks you for a bribe, just take your country's zero currency note and hand it to them. This will let the other person know that you refuse to give or take any money in order to perform services required by law or to give or take money to do something illegal."

Get Your Own Zero Currency Notes

What I really like about this idea is that 5th Pillar provides the images for a zero currency note for many different countries, including the United States. Just click on your country from a pull down menu and you can download the image and print it.

The 5th Pillar website also lists a "Corruption Perception Index Ranking" that allows you to compare perceived corruption in various countries. Although it's probably no surprise, Somalia ranks way down near the bottom of this list with a 2010 index ranking of 178.

The Incorruptible Kiwi

So want to know which country is perceived to be the least corrupt according to 5th Pillar?

Well it's definitely not the United States thanks to our never ending parade of greedy politicians.

The honor of least corrupt country in the world goes to New Zealand with a 2010 index ranking of 1. But that hasn't stopped 5th Pillar from creating a Zero Currency note for the Kiwi.