Time to go back to Friday.
The first notable phone call was a lady with three “rare” 2016 Peter Rabbit 50p pieces – the variety with half a whisker. There were 9.6 million 2016 Peter Rabbit coins issued, and they all have ten and a half whiskers. The supposed rarity of the coin is not about actually rarity but about poor reporting standards, internet rumours and the rapacious greed and ignorance of a few internet sellers.
It should have been obvious that rare coins don’t crop up in multiples in your change, but people don’t always work that one out. To be honest, it’s dreaming of the elusive rarity which keeps many antiques dealers going.
However, I had to tell the lady they weren’t worth more than 50p each, and she told me this was a shame as she was hoping to buy a wedding dress for her granddaughter. Sometimes I’m less happy with my job than others.
Then we had the man, who to be fair, was an enthusiast. He rang up with a list of rarities, including 30-year-old British banknotes, US dollar bills (which turned out to be from this century) and Australian pennies. It took two ten minute phone calls to persuade him that we had plenty of British bank notes, that modern dollars in circulated condition are worth a dollar and that we have very few customers for Australian pennies (which we sell in bulk lots on eBay).
Finally we had a call from an embarrassed mother. Her son, having collected 50p coins, had tasked her with ringing round to get the best price for them. She was already sure in her own mind that they were worth 50p each and was very apologetic. So I invited her down with her son to view our stock, praising the virtues of coin collecting as a hobby, telling her we had reference books in stock and offering free tea and coffee.
Well, if you’re going to have to sit there taking calls you may as well show some enthusiasm.