Tonight has been spent watching TV, doing research and, around 11 o’clock, sleeping in my chair. I woke just before 2am, made sandwiches for tomorrow and sat don to gaze at my blank screen whilst wondering what I have done with my life. This is, I believe, vaguely in line with my plan from last week.
A lot of today was spent photographing pennies. A lot of Saturday was spent doing this too. We have several drop-down menus of Victorian Pennies on eBay and two of them were nearly sold out. There’s something about this, particularly when you also have to remove the photos of the ones that sold and enter new prices, that requires precision. Unfortunately this is easier said then done as all pennies look much the same and it can be confusing. At one point to day I had to stop and double check my work, but fortunately it all went well. Saturday was slightly more difficult, but I was beset by a variety of customers and phone calls on Saturday, which never helps.
They were the ones known as “bun pennies” today – the young portrait of Queen Victoria where she is wearing her hair in a bun. It was current from 1860-94. Before that the pennies had been a little larger, and made from copper rather than bronze. After 1894, they carried a veiled head portrait, also known as the Old Head. She didn’t do badly – being depicted as a teenager on copper coins from 1837 to 1894. I think that makes her 75. They changed the silver coin effigy in 1887, but left the copper for a few more years. All in all, it’s quite complex as a series, due to various small differences in the dies used for making the coins, but I try to avoid most of the complexity by claiming to be the tea boy when asked questions of a searching nature.
As kids, we used to find bun pennies in our change, because they were still circulating until we went decimal in 1971. By that time they were worn virtually flat, which is the typical state of 99.99% of the pennies that now come through the door. They were good times for coin collecting in those days, as you could form a collection from pocket change, even if it was a poor quality collection. When decimal coins came in coin collecting declined as a hobby. It returned when the Mint started producing new designs every year, but after Covid it seems to have declined again.
I remember the days of penny candy over here. 30 cents went a long way back then. 29 cents even bought a loaf of bread. Now a loaf of quality bread is at minimum $8 and usually is around $10. Rick has been making his own.
That’s a lot of money for a loaf of bread! Having said that, I suppose we aren’t too far behind.
It was possible to buy a penny bun in the bus station on the way back from school. Two pence buttered.
A penny for butter? I never had to make that coice, but I suspect my bun would have remained dry. I have always been a bit on the frugal side.
I mostly settled for the unbuttered bun. The butter was probably marge anyway.
You are probably healthier as a result of your self-denial. Yes, I remember the days when they all came in blocks. Margarine has come long way since then in terms of spreadability.
It seems to me that what you have done with your time is to become an expert on coins, medals, and other collectables. No small thing, especially with those pennies. Makes my head spin just thinking about it.
I’m just glad that I don’t live in America – some of your collectors collect things by date, rarity, condition AND colour of coin. An hour with an American coin magazine (courtesy of the internet) is a bewildering place for a man like me.
But yes, I know a few things, and am hoping this will keep my mind lively in retirement. 🙂
Yes! And you know enough to give talks on those things. Very impressive, indeed.
It’s easy to confuse a head full of jumbled knowledge with a mis-spent youth. 🙂
Oh, I expect so!
🙂 It’s good to be enthusiastic, but a sense of balance comes in handy too, as Julia tends to remind me several times a year.
Fascinating and memory provoking
🙂 I remember changing half a crown into pennies at a seaside arcade and the feeling of weight I had in my pockets (that’s 30 pennies fro those of you who don’t remember the days of pre-Decimal coins.).
That was a fortune to a boy, Quercus
It certainly was. We had a couple of trips to Skegness where I blew my savings on penny arcade games and I then gave up gambling as mugs game. Perhaps that was what my parents intended.