Monthly Archives: August 2019

The Medallion Collection

It’s a very modest collection, which was, partly, my intention when I started it.

The idea was to buy a medallion relating to every year of the 20th Century, and to do so with discrimination and economy. (Before you ask, that’s 1900-2000 because I can’t be bothered to argue about when a century begins and ends).

I’ve collected a number of things in my life but I’ve never really made a sustained effort, or had sufficient cash. Not that I’m pleading poverty, just that my eyes are bigger than my wallet. Once I’ve bought a few things I start getting ambitious.

Look at this one – linking piers and medallions. What better for a man who likes piers and medallions? It’s nearly 200 years old and it isn’t expensive in collecting terms. However, I can’t see Julia being too happy to find we were on baked potatoes and beans until the end of the month because I’d blown the housekeeping. She’s very patient with me, but even she has her limits.

The first medal celebrates the life of Dr Kwame Nkrumah. I presume it was made in 1972 to commemorate his death. It doesn’t have a pier on it, but it does have a map of Africa and some interesting history behind it.

He was 63 when he died, just two years older than me. In that time he had achieved independence for Ghana and established a fame that still endures. That doesn’t leave me with much time for achieving something as I’ve loafed away my first 61 years and all I have to show for it is a small collection of  medallions.

The second one marks the Cambridge University Press’s move away from hot metal to digital printing.

I like medals made from re-used metal. I have one made from the copper of the Foudroyant )one of Nelson’s old ships) and one made from the lead of Selby Abbey. The Selby Abbey one was sold to raise funds for rebuilding the fire-damaged abbey. I really must find them…

It’s interesting to hold something in your hand and think that it used to be something else, though I suppose all metal was once something else, even if it was just ore.

This isn’t an elegant medal but it marks the end of an era. It was £6, including a box and explanatory leaflet.

I aim to spend around £5 on a medallion, which allows me to complete the century for around £500 and lets me buy something regularly. A collection needs regular additions. Or an addict requires a regular fix, depending on how you view collectors.

Looks like I missed the midnight deadline. I remember thinking it was 11.40 and time was pressing. Then I woke up at 12.10 sitting in the computer chair. I left it another eight hours before posting, as my ability to edit improves greatly after sleep.

 

A Picture for Laurie

The opening picture is a medallion of William Shakespeare by Paul Vincze, commissioned for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. You may remember the Moon Landing Medallion I pictured a few days ago. I mentioned I had this in my collection and Laurie said she’d be interested in seeing a picture of it. I laughed in a hollow fashion, as it’s just one piece of the multifarious detritus that flows around our house.

However, I have to start tidying and last night one of the first things I put my hand on was my medallion collection. To be more accurate, some of my “medallion collection”. The some is easy to understand, the inverted commas were added as I haven’t really collected so much as accumulated. There is a difference, as we tell people when they come to the shop with bags and boxes and even buckets of coins, stamps, cigarette cards, medals and postcards. We do banknotes too, but they don’t usually appear in such quantity.

An accumulation is just an aimless gathering of bits and pieces, often put together with an eye to quantity and economy rather than a theme. It’s often called a collection, but that doesn’t make it one. I could call a salad food, but that doesn’t alter the fact that it’s just colourful plate decoration.

I’m in anti-salad mode tonight. Julia is cooking and has just told me that our baked potatoes and veggie burgers will be accompanied by salad. This is indeed a cruel and unusual meal.

However, back to collections, a proper collection should have a theme, it should improve your knowledge of the subject and it might even increase knowledge of a collecting field.

Having rather foolishly agreed to give a talk at the Numismatic Society – Monday, 9 March 2020 – Peace & Tribute Medallions of The Great War – I am having to knock that part of my collection into shape. (Make a note in your diary if you are in the area).

The trouble is that there isn’t much information about them and I’m having to trawl the internet and write to museums. So far the museums have been friendly but have had no information, and the internet is tricky. If you search individual towns for information something sometimes crops up. But if you just search generally the third or fourth reference I found was one of my posts on this blog.

I’ve pictured a couple of examples below.  In a week or two I’ll probably find this post cropping up as part of my research!

An Elegantly Wasted Life

We had a slowish day, with enough work to keep us going but nothing overly taxing.

We had three parcels to send this morning, with a fourth to be packed and weighed so that we could invoice the buyer. In the afternoon another order came in – one postcard. It didn’t take much packing.

I’ve just had a look at the shop’s eBay account. The invoice has been paid and two more things have been purchased, a post card and a coin set. It looks like another easy day, though I’d rather have a busy one because it means I’m earning my wages.

There’s a very fine line between having an easy day and having a succession of easy days, or “unemployment” as it also known. Not that I would be unemployed, I’d just call myself a writer and get on with all the stuff I’ve been meaning to do for years, such as drinking more tea, claiming for pens on expenses and looking wistful.

I would also spend time selling my own stuff on eBay, though I note that their namby-pamby terms and conditions prohibit me from selling a kidney (Plan C, as I think of it), advertising my services as an inept assassin (or even an efficient one, to be fair) or advertising coins from Sudan.

I can see their point in some of these, but other prohibitions, such as Sudanese coins, make no sense.

Last week we wrote up a sale for a miniature George Cross on a First Day Cover, It’s a novelty collectable and the George Cross is a perfectly respectable medal. However, eBay automatically refused it as Russian law prevents the ale of Russian State Orders and Decorations. To advertise this, we would have to remove the Russian Federation from our postage list on this auction. We did this but still couldn’t post the auction.

We removed the word “George” from the title and it allowed us to proceed. The Russians, you see, have an Order of St George and the idiot in charge of such things at eBay has allowed for this by making it impossible for you to advertise medals with “George” in the title.

Politics by eBay is becoming ever more farcical, even in a world that includes Boris Johnson as our Prime Minister.

Just out of interest, now that President Trump (UK slang for breaking wind) and Prime Minister Johnson (US slang for penis), does anyone else have a growing belief that we are living in ludicrous times?

I’m going to resist temptation and not discuss silly names.

However, if you want to follow the link I can’t stop you.

Painted Ladies and Flying Time

There were three Painted Ladies in the front garden when I got home. The combination of red valerian and warm flagstones seems to attract them.

The quality of the photographs is, as ever, dubious. Just as the garden seems to be good for Painted Ladies this year, it seems to be bad for photography at the end of the afternoon.

 

The rest of the evening was a bit of an anti-climax after that. I had some sorting and planning to do, and seemed to have worked harder in the evening than I did during the day. The Westminster School Attendance Medals I put on eBay yesterday sold within hours. P8190077.JPG

As I think I said yesterday, this always makes me wonder if they were too cheap. However, I think it’s generally that you are showing your stock to so many people that there are always keen buyers for certain things out there.

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I’m adopting one of the medals as my new motto.

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Delay Not: Time Flies.

How true.

A Reasonable Sort of Day

Sorry about missing yesterday. We went to see Dad, came home the long way,replied to some comments, had a takeaway and then I fell asleep in front of the TV, waking shortly after midnight. That meant I couldn’t post yesterday.

I should have planned better and done it in the morning, but you know how it is…

Well, maybe you don’t, because I understand many people live orderly and well-planned lives.

Yesterday consisted of of lie-in, brunch, visit, defeat at dominoes, coffee with sister, great view of a Red Kite in Northamptonshire, Chinese takeaway and snooze.

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Red Kites are becoming commoner

Today consisted of getting up, complaining about aches and pains, dropping Julia at work (rather in the manner of Shakespeare’s schoolboy – with her “shining morning face, creeping like snail, Unwillingly to school”.) I’m trying to persuade myself I’m in the 5th age – “round belly with good capon lined, With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances”. It’s getting harder to believe as the days go on.

I then took myself to work, wrestled for supremacy on the Ring Road with a lobotomised boy racer and an articulated lorry, survived, arrived an hour early, started work because we had a lot to pack – the boss arrived and chipped in and we had the lot done by just after 10.00.

No stupid questions in email, hardly any phone calls, left work an hour early. Did two errands, had two cups of tea in the back room of a friendly jeweller, shopped, went home, washed up, fed Julia on her return from work (coffee and cake), TV (did well at Pointless), cooked tea (which was half made up of leftovers from last night). Now feeling virtuous and blogging. Julia is ironing and after that I will make a drink.

We actually sold a medallion I was going to blog about. It’s a Moon Landing commemorative by a sculptor called Vincze. I’ve often thought about collecting his medallions because some of them are quite striking. I loaded it on Saturday before we left the shop and it sold shortly after. It was either very collectable or too cheap. Sometimes after a quick sale you wonder about the price…

Moon Landing Medal by Vincze

Moon Landing Medal by Vincze (Reverse)

 

It has not been an exciting day, and not really a productive day as the decluttering and writing is grinding to a halt at the moment. On the other hand, it hasn’t been a bad day either. I think we can mark this down in the plus column.

A Very Annoying Woman

It’s tempting to say today was more of the same…more of the same…

Tedium echoes down the empty hallways of my life…

In fact there was slightly more pressure than a normal day because I have a leisurely breakfast with Julia on Saturdays and generally get to work with minutes to spare, rather than the normal hour I get when dropping her off at work and going to work from there.

We had more parcels than usual today, and quite a few phone calls, including one from a woman who said she had “done the research on the internet” because she “wasn’t stupid”.

The coin in question is the Sherlock Holmes 50p, which has just been released.We have 200 in stock and charge £3 each. She says they are very rare, and her implication was that I was lying to her in order to gain pecuniary advantage by deception (she didn’t actually use those words, but that was what her tone implied).

Unfortunately, when I checked after she put the phone down, the mintage figure of 210,000 she gave did not apply to this coin but to the famous Kew Garden 50p, the one they all want. We buy several of them every month, pay good money for them and sell them for around £100. That’s the only one that makes three figures. Most 50p coins, even in mint condition, only make £3.

The Royal Mint won’t even release the mintage figures for a year or two, so we won’t know what the figure is. Here are the figures up to 2017. They haven’t released the 2018 figures yet, and certainly not the 2019 figures.

I checked on the internet myself, and in an article comparing Kew Gardens and Sherlock Holmes they said the Kew mintage was 210,000. That’s what happens when greed and stupidity meet the Internet – false hopes, shoddy research and an outpouring of ignorance.

Just for the record, because I’m still annoyed about it, despite what she said, she didn’t really do any research worthy of the name, and she IS stupid.

After that I put some more School Attendance medals on eBay, went home, took some blurred photos of Painted Ladies in the garden and carried on with my nightly routine of napping, eating and blogging.

I did get a pointless answer on Pointless Celebrities (Burt Lancaster in Field of Dreams) then wondered why there has never been a decent film about cricket. To say it’s one of our national games, and it altered the course of one of our royal dynasties, it’s made little impact in books and films. Raffles was a cricket player, but that’s as close as we get.

If we could make a film like Field of Dreams about cricket I’m sure the nation would return to normal after all this Brexit nonsense and electing a clown as Prime Minister. Whether we stay or go, we need to return to a state of affairs where politicians at least put up some sort of pretence of being sensible and running things properly.

The Peacock is from our visit to Gigrin Farm as few years ago, as is the picture of kites. I feel a bit like that peacock, constantly attacking the mirror, though I’m constantly attacking life rather than a reflection.

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Red Kites at Gigrin Farm

More of the Same

More parcels. More London School Attendance Medals. More rain.

I have moved on, from the London School Board to London County Council. Edward VII has given way to George V. The medals have become smaller and hang from colourful ribbons. But the tedium remains the same.

Fortunately the World of WordPress beckons and everything seems so much better when I am at home. Tonight I am going to catch up on some WordPress Reading. I’ve been lazy recently and need to get round and see what people are doing.

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Goldfinch Concert in Sherwood

Three Hours Later…

We’ve eaten (Vegeburgers, jacket potato and roasted aubergines, onions, courgettes and tomatoes – all from the garden). We’ve chatted. Julia has had several texts from work – they have a fixation about texting on Fridays. She has made some pithy comments. We spoke to her brother, who rang for a chat. Finally I made it back to the computer and realised I hadn’t done any reading.

The aubergines, or eggplants as the Americans say, are a miniature variety and the first real success we’ve had with them as our seasons are a little short and unsunny for them.

I have caught up with Laurie in Maine and Whippet Wisdom in Scotland but the rest of you, I’m afraid, have been neglected yet again. I will do better!

I have to go now as we are in negotiations about who makes the next cup of tea and I need all my wits about me.

Main picture is a pigeon from the park. The others are the Goldfinch that sang for us earlier in the week.

 

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Not where you’s expect to see a songbird in full song…