The Auction

Back to last night . . .

I ended up being late and arrived at the auction as Lot 11 was going through. This wasn’t actually a problem as I had nothing marked until Lot 22. Prices were strong for the ancient cons with brisk bidding. We don’t actually make any money from the auction, but it’s nice to see good prices as it means members are showing enthusiasm, and are obviously getting things which they want.

Lot 22 came up. It ws a coin weight of Charles I, with a good clear portrait. I fancied it as a good example, and something that would be an interesting piece in my small collection of interesting things.  (Note how little excuse I need when buying shiny things). In the earlier days of our coinage, when the value of a coin was guaranteed by it’s weight of gold or silver, merchants would weigh the coins to check they were full weight and value.

I chased it up from £10 to £40 but decided to le it go at that point. It’s not something I collect, just something I fancied as a curiosity.

After another gap, bidding opened on a token that had been sold in Newark during the Boer War (1899-1902) to raise funds for the families of troops fighting overseas.

Borough of Newark Mayor’s Fund 1900 (Obverse)

Borough of Newark Mayor’s Fund 1900 (Obverse)

I’m told they come in silver and in gilded bronze, and also in official boxes, but I’ve only ever seen loose bronze ones like this, which is  better example than the one I currently have in my collection.

After that I waited for the Nottingham Transport tokens, adding to my collection with a nice brass one (they are mainly plastic). That cost £10 for two tokens, but I split it with another collector after the sale so ended up with one for £5. I then bought seven plastic tokens for £7. It wasn’t one of my better buys as I have six of them already and just wanted one that I don’t have. Sometimes this happens. I will,I expect, eventually sell the rest.

Nottingham Corporation Transport Blind Person Transport Token  – Number

Nottingham Corporation Transport Blind Person Transport Token  – Coat of Arms

Then I waited for a local street trader’s arm badge. There’s not much more to be said about it. At some time in the past (I suspect they were pre-war, but I haven’t really researched them) street traders would have worn these on their arms. It is marked by Hiatt of Birmingham on the edge – Hiatt were well known makers of police equipment, including the arm badges of Special Constables between the wars, which were similar to, but larger than this badge.

Derby Street Trader’s Badge – made by Hiatt

Are you getting the idea that I’m spending quite a lot of time being bored between lots? If you are, it’s an accurate picture. Our volunteer auctioneer makes a decent job of it, and is as good as a lot of the professional auctioneers you see around the country, but club auctions don’t give him much to work with – lot after lot of low value lots being pursued by grim middle-aged men nursing grudges against other members and trying to get something for nothing.

Finally we got among the cheap medallions and I made a few purchases for my medallion collection – three lots for a total of £7.

In all it was just over and hour of boredom on a hard chair with a few minutes of excitement every so often. At least the chair kept me awake. I once sat on a comfortable settee in a Lincolnshire country auction and only just woke up in time for the lots I wanted to bid on.

It is the nature of an auction that the anticipation is generally better than the actual experience, and that I think more about the coin weight I didn’t buy than the things which I did buy.


12 thoughts on “The Auction

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      Transport tokens were provided for various purposes in many large towns – in Nottingham we had special ones for postmen, school pupils, members of the Air Raid Precautions service (ARP) and the blind. We also had ones for ordinary people. They were available for purchase or were issued by the council. The brass ones, I suspect, were more like a permanent pass for blind people and the hole was probably so that they could be carried on a string.


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