Tag Archives: coins

The Captains and the Kings depart…

This morning I stood in a queue with a lot of old people and a medic with a cough stabbed me in the arm with a flu vaccination before saying: “Really, I’m too ill to be in work today.”

Just what you want to hear at this time of year.

That, of course, wasn’t the worst thing that happened today. England threw the Rugby World Cup away.

Work was work. Good in places.

When I got home from work there was an ambulance parked outside the house almost opposite. The man who lives there is younger than me and is on his last lap with prostate cancer, so even losing the rugby recedes into perspective.

The coins are from a set made in 2006 using the Britannia silver bullion coin as a base and adding gold highlights.

It is made from .958 silver (known as Britannia silver) rather than the more normal .925 Sterling silver. This standard was used in Georgian times for silver items to stop silversmiths melting down coins as their raw material, coins being .925 silver (as they remained until 1919)

Britannias are pleasant enough but have no real history as they are yet another invention of the marketing department at the Royal Mint.

 

Whining Wednesday – Again

I had a letter from the hospital last week. In all the excitement I forgot to tell you. I now have two sorts of arthritis and two joints I’d never heard of before.

I have osteoarthritis, which I already knew without the help of a highly trained medical professional. I also have psoriatic arthritis. This adds a few symptoms (it is apparently the one that makes my fingers swell up) and is a pain to spell. This, as I think I’ve already mentioned, is particularly annoying as, due to a previous poor diagnosis, I’ve only just mastered the spelling of eczema.

There are a number of things I can do to help myself – according to the internet if I lose weight, cut down on fatty foods and sugar and eat more fish and fresh veg this will do me good.

At the moment I’m trying to think of anything that isn’t improved by following this advice. Unless you are allergic to fish and fresh veg this is general purpose dietary advice. It’s as useful as saying that if you want to live a long time you should breathe in, breathe out and remember to wake up every morning.

Incidentally, there’s a link on the internet telling you about the five foods to avoid if you have arthritis. Unfortunately it’s a film and they tell you what the foods are without showing you. This is no use to a  a man with no sound on his computer.

To add to my misery my computer has just started in that mode where it overwrites good stuff if you go back to edit. I forget what it’s called, and even worse, I don’t know how to switch it off.

We went for breakfast this morning. Julia paid. As I’m giving up my day off to act as her taxi driver while she supervises the fitting of a new sheet on the polytunnel, I think this is fair. It hasn’t improved my temper or my views on organisations that can’t organise relief staff, but at least I’m not hungry. After leaving the all I could eat breakfast before I filled myself to the earlobes I am in a good place – comfortably full with a warm glow that comes from having had value for money.

However, this doesn’t mean I’ve forgiven her.

It does mean that I had a good laugh with my food. A family arrived just as I was putting my crumpets through the toaster a second time. They immediately started getting in the way, though I was intrigued to find that the father, who had a lisp, called his son “son” at every opportunity. It’s good to see a man who faces up to a challenge and doesn’t let a speech impediment restrict his behaviour. On the other hand, I did wonder if they could have chosen a better name – it seems the kid is called Zachary.

And that’s not all. They made a big thing about being vegetarian, even down to asking if the vegan sausages were OK for vegetarians. I know vegans have to check if vegetarian food is OK for them but I’ve never heard an enquiry the other way. I started to harbour suspicions about the vegetarian credentials, and intelligence, of this family.

Then we got onto nuts. Was the breakfast suitable to sufferers of nut allergies. The answer was that the breakfast cereals may have had contact with nuts in the factory.

“Oh, that’s alright, a trace doesn’t matter.”

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t an allergy, an actual allergy rather than a fashion accessory allergy, life threatening and triggered by even a trace of the substance in question? I knew a bloke who was allergic to fish. He kissed his girlfriend after she had eaten fish several hours previously and ended up in hospital. That’s an allergy.

When you interrogate the serving staff about allergens and then say a trace doesn’t matter you are actually proving you don’t have an allergy, just a love of hearing your own voice. (As an aside here, I always try never to irritate anyone who will be alone with my food. I think this is a good policy.)

I’ll finish this subject here, as the next 200 words don’t really add much, apart from a heap of abuse about a woman seeking attention.

I’ll finish the post with my new joints. They were listed as SI joints, I’ve heard of SI Units and CV joints, but never SI joints. Turns out they are sacroiliac joints. I don’t really see the point of them, apart from holding my hips and back in place, which I’m sure could be done without extra joints, but, having read about them, I am now quite concerned. Fortunately, mine seem in good shape at the moment.

That’s the trouble with doctors, the more you see them , the more things get looked at until, eventually, you end up with a new problem. Since finding out I had sacroiliac joints I have had them in my thoughts every day.

Gold Medallion - Richard the Lionheart

Gold Medallion – Richard the Lionheart

 

The gold medallions are part of a series from the Cook Islands. They are 11mm in diameter and weigh half a gram.

When these Kings lived they didn’t know that the Cook Islands existed, but that doesn’t stop the Cook Islands and their relentless drive to make money from the international trade in over-priced numismatic items.

I’m sure these coins are all sold out, but have a look if you want to see the depths to which the coin trade has sunk. We had some, but I’m glad to say we sold them before I started work in the shop.

There’s nowt so strange as folk…

I once bought a collection of 107 owls. They were no bigger than two inches tall, with some being under an inch, and none were by recognised potters. Most of them had been sourced from gift shops or charity shops and as a collection they were a pleasant, if slightly eccentric, thing to look at.

Owls are nice. If it had been a collection of vultures I might have felt slightly different about it.

I tell you this to set the scene relating to another collection we bought recently. It consisted of about ten pound of mint condition decimal copper with a few five and ten pence coins.

Most of them were carefully laid out in plastic bags before being rolled up and taped into ribbons of coins, but a substantial number were individually wrapped. Some were wrapped like sweets but the majority were taped into individual flat packets. Cutting the pieces of plastic from a larger bag must have been laborious, but the effort of wrapping them was Herculean.

And no, we don’t know why he had done it like that. I just assume that he was old and had time on his hands. In those circumstances some of us blog, others wrap coins tightly in bits of surplus plastic and cellophane. Goodness knows what I will be doing in a few years time.

People think that they are protecting the coin but in fact, the chemicals that make up plastic contain a lot off sulphur, which discolours coins. Over the years they have developed plastics that do less damage to coins. AS you can see from the colours of some of these coins, these weren’t wrapped in low sulphur plastic.

Anyway, my job was to remove all the wrappings.

I’ve had more exciting jobs, but I still paid whether I’m excited or not.

 

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Decimal 1/2 p coins – not worth much in 1971 and worth less now

An Interesting King

The coin is a 1 Fils of King Ghazi I of Iraq. Dated 1938 it is uncirculated and still has traces of its original lustre.

King Ghazi was king for only six years but he seems to have packed a lot in – wanting to annexe Kuwait, conducting an affair with a palace servant, having suspected Nazi sympathies and, finally, dying in a car crash which may have been organised by his Prime Minister.

All this sounds very familiar.

Fils is singular, though some coin dealers write 1 Fil. The plural is fulus but in the west we stick to using fils. Unfortunately it’s also French for “son” so you need to be quite precise in your search terms. In French it’s both singular and plural.

The coin is available on eBay for £25, though lower grades are available much cheaper. That’s a good thing about coin collecting – it encompasses all budgets. You can buy some very interesting coins for a pound or two if condition isn’t important. We did that yesterday, selling a coin of Louis XVI like this one, from 1792, to a young collector. It was very worn, but it was £1 and think of all that history!

Smash and Grab

I was relaxing last night, having had an easy run up to Leeds, and a slightly less easy run back (rain, spray and lorries).

Number One Son is safely in his riverside apartment with half my kitchen equipment (Julia decided I didn’t need things if I hadn’t used them for a few months, though I notice her breadmaker is still here).

Julia was rattling round the kitchen, newly released from jury duty, and all was well with the world. Apart from famine, poverty and the shadow of Armageddon, but I normally manage to ignore that.

Then I get a phone call.

It’s from the owner of the shop.

He had left it till the end of my day off, but was just ringing to warn me the shop was in a bit of a mess after a break in.

A pair of robbers, who I sincerely hope will be afflicted by scabies and erectile dysfunction for the rest of their miserable lives, smashed their way in through two front doors and grabbed (a) the box of 50p pieces and (b) a random selection of coins.

The box of 50p coins probably contains £100 of coins. The random selection contains a rare 50p, and  other coins to a value of about £5,000. We think they were after the 50p rather than the other coins.

Of course, to do this, they had to smash the counters rather than reaching in through to open backs.

Considering all the effort he has put in to expanding the business, this is a real slap in the face.

Much worse than a car rolling away.

Sometimes you wonder why you even bother trying. A lifetime building up and two scrotes with a hammer can cost you thousands in five minutes.

The police have said they will get there as soon as possible.

Brimming with Bonhomie

I’m absolutely full of it today. I enjoyed writing about the sweethearts yesterday, the boss is going away on a trip, and, when I returned home tonight, my anticoagulant results were in.

They were spot on target and I don’t have a retest until early December. This is a better way to live – free from the tyranny of medical tests – though it does mean that I tend to bleed a little too freely when I nick a finger tip in the kitchen.

I must improve my knife skills. Or make Julia do more of the cooking.

Last night we had a very enjoyable talk at the Numismatic Society.

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They weren’t big on portraits in the early days of coinage, but the production method didn’t really lend itself to quality work. This is  Edward I from a Canterbury Mint penny of 1272-1307. It could, however,  be any one of a number of Kings, or even Shrek

I grant you, Coins in the later Medieval Countryside is not a title calculated to cause rapturous outbursts of enthusiasm, even amongst the members of the Numismatic Society. There were a number of familiar faces missing, but as they are normally the ones who sit at the back and mutter it actually improved the evening.

The talk was mainly about the archaeology of the coins from Rendlesham in Suffolk, which seems to have been an active high-status estate in Anglo-Saxon and early Mediaeval times. It is close to Sutton Hoo, which is a lot more famous and, let’s face it, a lot more interesting.

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Long cross penny of Edward I – Lincoln Mint 1270

The project at Rendlesham has consisted, as far as the coins go, in using metal detectors in a scientific manner to search surrounding fields, and graph the types and frequency of coins, to give an idea of they way money was used. They have found over a thousand coins during the project and one of the questions coming out of the research is whether other sites could produce as many coins if they were worked in a similar intensive way.

Another equally important question, for me at least, was why did they never tell you there were jobs like this when I was at school? A job playing with coins, writing books and giving talks to numismatic societies – what more could you want?

Anyway, it’s time for me to go and practice my knife skills – roast veg with cumin served with steak and kidney pies and fruit crumble. As long as I don’t cut either of my typing fingers I should be OK.

Sorry about the photos – they are from an old post and could have been presented better. Unfortunately WP has been acting up again and I can’t work on them tonight.

Coins and the holes where coins used to be…

I’ve been looking back through a few old posts and have noticed that I seem to be running to a pattern. I moan, I rant, I explain why things are chaotic and I discuss the shortcomings of other road users. For variety I sometimes describe how my wife bullies, browbeats or outwits me.

Once in a while I complain about my aches and pains, disparage the medical profession and denigrate editors.

I also have problems with technology. Considering that I have problems with such basic things as sleeping and the use of apostrophes, it’s hardly surprising that technology beats me. I say “beats me”… It doesn’t actually beat me; I have three sledge hammers in the tool shed so in purely physical terms I have the upper hand. I suppose what I mean is that technology confuses me into a state of near surrender, but if the machines ever get too cocky I have the ultimate sanction.

This is actually the start of a post I wrote two days ago. It wasn’t good enough, so I sidelined it, made the sandwiches, played Scrabble against the computer, lost again, and went to sleep.

Tonight I wrote the first few paragraphs of a much better post, and lost it. I’m not actually sure where it went. Here, we return to my earlier thoughts and review my comments on technology. The day when I hammer my computer flat is rapidly approaching.

I have therefore “improved” the previous attempt by throwing half of it away and grafting a few moans on to the end.

Today I spent much of my time in the shop entering cards for coin year sets onto eBay. If you consider coins dull, and I do, then the empty cards for making up year sets are, I promise you, duller.

I have had the results from my last chest X-Ray and it was OK,  I do have a chest. This is handy as it gives me somewhere to keep my lungs, which, in turn, allows me to breathe, an activity considered essential for good health. It also stops your shirt getting messy. Imagine the laundry situation if your lungs were externally mounted.

Unfortunately I failed my last blood test. I do have blood, and it seems to be going round OK, but it seems that I need to talk to a doctor about it. I can do this on the phone but, there was a six day waiting list for a telephone consultation slot. I take it that there is nothing urgent about whatever problem their expensive testing machinery has come up with.

And that is why I find it reasonably easy to criticise doctors.

I now have a new date with the specialist and am hoping that in four weeks I may have a diagnosis. I bet they are going to tell me I have arthritis. I know this because it is following exactly the same path as my last outbreak. The difference is that it took just over a week to sort it out last time and it will have taken about eleven this time.

I have added a few coins to the end, as a relief from the hundreds of empty holes staring from the other pictures like hundreds of dead eye sockets. There’s a Battle of Hastings 50p, a Magna Carta £2 and moon landing £5 from Guernsey,

The £5, which is from 10 years ago shows early use of colour, which later became the garishly awful later use of colour. It doesn’t look the thin end of a wedge does it?.