At a hotel in Las Vegas in July 2021 Immanuel X, King of Ourania (known better to numismatists as Edessa), graciously greeted His Excellency the Governor General of British West Florida. King Immanuel had earlier been appointed ambassador to the US by a claimant to the Empire of Manchukuo, a descendent of the last Chinese Emperor, Henry Pu Yi. Later King Alanus of Bermania was seen enwrapped in a presentation by King Boleslaw II of Wojcikslavia on the constitutional implications of the Congress of Vienna on the current status of the Kingdom of Poland. What could prompt this almost surreal scene? MicroSummit 2021 of course. This event drew together Kings, Presidents, and Dukes representing various micronations from throughout the US and Canada, and it has for more than a decade.
What Is a Micronation?
While there is no universally accepted definition, most could be described as a spirit or an ideal configured in the context of a more or less mythical or hypothetical country. Some make serious political pretentions, others less so. Some even have undisputed “territory” such as the famous Sealand. One can usually observe that when micronational heads of state gather there is generally more harmony and joviality than meetings of their more mundane counterparts.
This particular celebration of creativity began with solemn ceremonies of the Kingdom of Bermania, familiar to many CoinsWeekly readers. A carefully painted and wax-sealed grants of arms were presented to Chess Grandmaster Stan Vaughan confirming his title as King of Ourania. Another grant was presented to futurist John Michael Godier. The latter, famous for his interviews with experts in astronomy and space exploration, hosts the Youtube show “Event Horizon”.
Amid the flags nestled together on the dais was that of the Burgravine of Munich, known to numismatists as Ursula Kampmann. It was a pleasant surprise to the King of Bermania then, and to the Burgravine now.
While many technical speeches were delivered dealing with international treaties and sovereignty, the attendees also enjoyed lighter ones, such as “The Wolf of Dubbio,” delivered by King Alanus I, known to numismatists as world and ancient coin dealer Allen G Berman. The story is an excerpt from his recent book of humorous stories, “Please Ignore Our Time Machine”. This work was recognized with an award for contribution to micronational literature at the conclusion of the conference.
Fantasy Coins – Creativity and Liberty
Of course a great many examples of micronational and fantasy coins and paper money were in evidence. The event provided a rare opportunity for collectors to acquire coins with under 100 mintages for not much more than a few dollars. Some of these rare examples were struck to represent the coins used in works of literature such as Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.
And of course there was free money. All stalwart representatives who participated until the official breakdown of exhibits on Sunday morning were presented with banknotes of the Kingdom of Volletnia by Her Majesty Queen Loraine II.
Why are numismatists attracted to coins from countries which do not exist? Perhaps it is the creativity and liberty used in designing them, a freer process than used by conventional governments. Perhaps it is the same sense of adventure that brings them to be arm chair historians, exploring kingdoms from ancient Judaea to medieval England and beyond. No matter how one analyzes it, coins struck by fantasy nations and pretenders have been fascinating numismatists at least since the early 1800s. The late Colon R. Bruce II helped define the field by writing Unusual World Coins, published in six editions by Krause Publications. So many fantasy coins are in the hands of collectors these days, and more are being struck every year. Perhaps it may be time for a seventh edition.
In his non-royal everyday life His Majesty Alanus I of Bermania – also known as Allen G. Berman –is a coin dealer with a passion for selling coins that tell a story. Of course, Allen can be found in our Who is Who section.
As a coin dealer he has written several book, including “Papal Coins”“ and “Papal Numismatic History”, which can be bought directly from him – with a royal dedication, if requested.
In this article, you can learn more about the Kingdom of Bermania – and the proclamation of Ursula Kampmann as Burgravine of Nuremberg