Sifting Through History

It was an interesting day yesterday, starting with sorting out several boxes of Royal Mint proof sets. It moved on to refilling the decimal coin albums – the £2s, the £1s and the 50 pences. You can’t knock it, because it’s getting people involved in coin collecting and going through the change in their pockets. That’s how I started.

Collectable decimal coins – one of the mainstays of the shop. The 1807 is the two pound coin that supposedly has the rare variety. It doesn’t.

The first coins that ever interested me were farthings. We had a few at home in the early 1960s, just after they were discontinued. They were small neat coins, with a picture of a Wren on the back. A few years later my grandfather gave me one dated 1901. It had the veiled head of Queen Victoria on one side and, wonder of wonders, the figure of Britannia on the back. I was amazed.

I suppose in the days when we only had two black-and-white TV channels and no internet it was easier to be amazed.

There’s a little more to the farthing than the Wiki entry suggests, they actually date back to the days when silver pennies were cut into quarters (or fourthings) but it’s a good summary of the farthings I’m talking about.

By 1968 I had moved on and bought a book. That told me that it was still possible to get Churchill Crowns from the bank at face value (5 shillings, or 25 pence) and that they would be a good investement for the future. I asked my mother to get me four. Fifty years later they are worth their face value when we buy them in. You see them at all sorts of prices on ebay and antique centres, but that is just proof of either ignorance or greed.  A cupro-nickel crown from the 60s, 70s or 80s is not an expensive coin, and as I noted the other day, we just sorted a thousand for export. The fact that we were able to put together a thousand (and still have plenty left) may be a clue as to how well they sell, even though we are only looking for pennies of profit. It’s a rare week when we don’t buy twenty or thirty. And an even rarer week when we sell one to the public.


Cupro-nickel crowns commemorating the silver wedding of the Queen and Prince Phillip

Although I didn’t continue with coins, I did continue collecting, which is a long, long story.

Meanwhile, back at the shop, I was allowed to look through a couple of boxes of junk that we have bought from the estate of a deceased dealer. This is the sobering side of dealing in collectables, when you end up with the stuff of someone you’ve known for years.

Coronation medallet of William IV (1831) – an interesting piece of history from the junk box

Apart from being a practical demonstration of mortality it’s also a lesson that everyone, no matter how well organised they seem, has an accumulation of bits and pieces lurking around at the back of their life.

Peninsula War victories of the Duke of Wellington. It’s a bit worn, but so am I, and I’m a lot younger.

26 thoughts on “Sifting Through History

    1. jeffpermie

      Agreed, and going to a country where you cannot simply go online and order or at least find an address of a company / supplier who sells / supplies what you are looking for makes things interesting. Having to just drive around (in our case, catch a hop-on hop-off mini bus jeep thingy), jump off to inquire, be sent down the road (charge again for another jeep) to find out that they too do not sell / supply, to then get another jeep and head off in another direction, ending up in a mall where you find something similar but not what you actually wanted and having spent 70% of acquisition on transport alone and being 4 hours spent doing so! haha
      Makes one remember back to when you only went out to find something if you Really needed it!

  1. jfwknifton

    The thing that has really spoilt children is computer generated images and the games they are used for. Nothing can compete with it, neither teachers nor books nor hobbies. It’s the fast food of the mind.

    1. quercuscommunity

      I bought a collection of bus tickets once – they had some interesting destinations, bus companies and adverts on them. Give me a pile of stuff and I just start sorting…

      1. Donnalee

        Did you say what year it was made? If it’s post-Peninsular, it may or may not be post-flushing-Napoleon-for-good-and-all, but it is still of interest to me as long as it isn’t 1915 or something recent like that–

      2. Donnalee

        No trouble–I just worry that I have my old email on my site and that emails don’t get there. I hope you feel better.

      3. quercuscommunity

        Much better thanks – I just ground to a halt due to old age, cold and heavy lifting. 🙂 How do I access the email on your site? When I press the email button it asks for an address – does this mean mine? Sorry – not very technical.

      4. Donnalee

        Huh. It’s laughingdakinimusic at yahoo dot com. I thought I had it posted there somewhere, and may have, but this’ll do for now. The old age etc. is getting me lately as well.

      5. Donnalee

        Since they are having this drama about people able to edit the comments of others (?!) and I no longer want to leave comments that people can change to say that I promised them a million dollars or threatened them or endorsed them etc., I am not going to be using the wordpress reader, so direct email is the only way to contact me. Thanks.

Leave a Reply