It rained last night. The weather forecast said it would happen at 2am. It was actually 1.57am when the first thunderclap occurred. This quite impressive, particularly when you think that some recent forecasts have been completely wrong and the forecast rain has failed to arrive several times.

That paragraph is as far as I got before falling asleep. I rose, made sandwiches and remembered I still had to write a post. At that point I managed to wipe the entire thing out. I say “entire thing” –  it was just the opening paragraph. When you have nothing to say, even a banal paragraph on the weather seems hard won.

We had a strange happening today. A customer who had made an appointment to travel 90 miles to see us didn’t appear. Eventually he rang to tell us his car was playing up and make a new appointment for Saturday.

At 3.40, as we were getting ready to leave, he arrived, having had his car fixed. We were just closing things down, the owner had gone, and we weren’t really geared up for doing a £3,000 deal on gold coins. However, we did, and added more to the deal. At that point his new credit card refused to work, leaving us stuck with partial payment. This was all very annoying, particularly as someone else turned up to sell us coins, despite the normal cut-off time for bringing coins in being 3.30. It was, for a short time, chaos.

IOM Gold Half Angel – note how the Archangel Michael is fighting a dragon dressed only in Speedos and highly inflammable wings.  I’d want a bit more clothing. However, as, St George on the sovereign seems to get by with only sandals and a helmet this seems to be typically angelic/saintly dragon-slaying kit.

So, back to the suspended deal. It held all the elements of a classic distraction set-up. I’m sure it wasn’t, but the gold, the late unannounced arrival, the friend who came with him to do another deal, the part payment and the credit card glitch are all typical elements of previous frauds or attempted frauds.

Every year for the last three or four years, sometimes twice a year we are approached by “film companies” or “photographers” who ring or email on a Thursday or Friday night desperately needing old banknotes (usually £50 notes, sometimes lower values) for a film shoot. It’s always end of the week, urgent, features some sort of problem with payment and usually a courier pick-up rather than a proper address. Bank of England notes are always worth their face value, and can be banked, so they are a good target, and don’t set alarm bells ringing like gold.

However, we aren’t idiots (honestly) and have noticed that the “urgent need” seems to disappear when we ask a few questions and tell them we are happy to accept cash if their card isn’t working properly. As I say, today wasn’t suspicious, but it did have all the elements, so I wasn’t particularly sympathetic when we had to decline the deal. A simple phone call could have solved most of the problems.

Meanwhile, we had a rather cold call. A newly widowed man rang about his ex-wife’s property. He had found a coin in her jewellery box, which was worth, according to the internet, £5,000/ A few enquiries suggested it was more likely to be £15-20. He quickly lost interest and rang off. The cold aspect? She died last week. It’s customary, though not obligatory, to wait until after the funeral before selling stuff. It’s not a prize-winning exhibition of unfeeling greed though – that goes to the family who lost their grandfather in the morning and had his medals in the local coin shop by lunchtime.


I found the bird photo whilst searching for “gold” and thought it made a more cheerful ending than my final anecdote.

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