A collection of coins and banknotes, stored for years inside a Kauri Tobacco tin, gives us a striking visual insight into the mobility of New Zealanders in the Middle East during the Second World War. The tobacco tin belonged to Gunner Edward ‘Ted’ Frost from Tuakau in the Waikato, who served in the 7th Anti Tank Regiment, New Zealand Artillery. As Ted travelled around the Middle East (and further afield in Greece and Italy) during World War II, he collected local coins and banknotes and stored them together in this tobacco tin. Contained in the tin are notes and coins from Egypt (5 and 10 milliemes, and 5 guerches), Tunisia (6 aspers and 5 francs), Palestine (2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 mils), Lebanon (5 and 25 piastres) and Syria (5 piastres).
While we don’t know what Ted spent his money on, his coin collection reminds us of the geographical scope of New Zealanders’ Second World War, in which many Kiwis visited more countries in a few short years than they might otherwise have done in a lifetime. Ted’s tin is now in the Auckland War Memorial Museum, along with his papers, photographs and a number of other souvenirs he collected during the war.