Tag Archives: coins

eBay Tales

This morning the first job of the day was to cancel the bids on 20 of the silver stamp ingots. The bidder claims that his child got into the account and put the bids on. It’s more likely that he he bid himself and then decided he didn’t want them but you can’t prove it so we cancelled all the bids. He really should have paid us for the time taken in cancelling them.

Then we had a note from someone wanting to send a Lego set back. He’d paid around £150 for a complete 1960’s LEGO set, winning it against stiff competition and now claims the box is a reproduction. This isn’t as unlikely as it sounds as there are some repro toy boxes about, though mainly for Dinky toys, which are quite small and plain.

However, this set belonged to a man as old as I am. He had it from new, looked after it and recently decided to sell it. We’ve dealt with him and his father with coins for probably 30 years. It’s genuine and there’s absolutely no question about it.

This, as sometimes happens, is a case of buyer’s remorse. Again, it’s a well known phenomenon in eBay circles. You get locked in a bidding war, you pay too much, and, protected by eBay rules, you decide to send it back even though there is nothing wrong with the item.

I understand it. Even after 30 years and hundreds of auctions I still sometimes worry I paid too much, and don’t always enjoy my purchases. What I don’t do is send it back. My decision, my problem. The vendor or auctioneer is not to blame for my poor decision. Unfortunately, in modern times, it’s the fashion to cry over spilt milk and to try to evade your responsibilities.

After that, things could only get better, and for once, they did.

These three pictures are from a set we posted on eBay – a 1953 crown, a 2003 crown and a silver stamp ingot of a stamp from coronation year. The ’53 was a well designed coin with a face value of 5 shillings, or 25 pence in the modern system. The 2003 crown has a face value of £5, showing how the value of money has declined. So, have design standards. I could have designed that – it doesn’t take much skill to chuck some letters together.  Horses, on the other hand, are quite difficult to do.

 

 

Blood Testing Blues

I went down to the hospital early and was rewarded with a choice of parking spaces. This was good.

Little did I realise it was to be the high point of my morning.

My first clue to trouble ahead was the crowd by the door of the Phlebotomy Room. The second was my ticket number – I was ticket A134. The first ticket called after I sat down was A119. (Yes, it’s run like a supermarket deli counter).

Fortunately I had a book with me. It’s not as interesting as it may seem, as my forthcoming review may mention. For now I’m keeping an open mind. I had nearly an hour of open-mindedness to devote to it this morning.

Little did I realise etc….

It took three attempts in the right arm, and one in the left (including one with an old-fashioned syringe used with a stab it and hope approach). If we’d been fighting a duel honour would have been well and truly satisfied by all that blood and wounding. At that point she called in help.

It seems that I may have some scar tissue in the arm from the number of blood tests I’ve had, and this is causing some problems in drilling for fresh blood. If I live to be ninety I expect I’ll have arms like sacks of walnuts and they’ll be using power tools.

The reinforcement didn’t mess about. One swift jab with a massive needle and the blood was drawn.

It’s a shame she couldn’t have done it sooner as it would have saved me from having to pay £4 for car parking.

It normally only costs me £2  but it went over the hour so it cost £2 extra. Next time I’ll take a flask and sandwiches and have a picnic until the time is up. I like to get value for money.

I took these pictures of flowers at the Mencap garden on Monday when I took Julia down to water the polytunnel. They have a close-down week this week, when they just shut up shop and all have a holiday. Of course, this was all decided by people who don’t have a garden to run.

In the shop we didn’t have as many parcels to pack as yesterday, just a mere five today. I sorted five lots of American coins for eBay, added to my numismatic knowledge via Google (after all, you need to know something to write about them properly), served a couple of customers looking for postcards, answered the phone, polished the counters and cleaned 24 silver ingots in the shape of postage stamps. They will be going on eBay by the end of the week.

Finally, someone brought a medal in to part exchange.

 

It’s the South African campaign medal with the bar for 1879 – the year of the Zulu War. It was originally instituted in 1854, and the date 1853 was placed was at the bottom of the reverse (or “the exergue” if you want to be technical). It  was awarded in a back-dated fashion for campaigns dating back to 1835. In 1879 they decided to re-issue it with Zulu shields in the exergue and a set of date bars relating to wars in 1877-79. The date 1879 is for troops who served in the Zulu War of that year – the one that saw British troops with rifles and artillery severely mauled by Zulus with spears.

It wasn’t all plain sailing in the days of the Empire.

Although it’s a great bit of history, it has been spoiled as a collectable because it’s been re-named. This means that the original name has been removed from the edge and another name has been added. Unfortunately, though this was clearly done in Victorian times, it ruins it for collectors.

Soldiers, you see, would often sell or pawn their medals when short of cash and, when posted away at short notice, be unable to get the medals back. Rather than admit to the military offence of selling or pawning their medals they would merely buy one from the pawn shop and have their name put on them. But that is a subject for a different day.

Struggling for Words

Oh dear, what should I talk about?

Julia has put an end to talk of funerals for the moment. She thinks it’s morbid.

She’s also put an end to posts about how she bosses me around. That is tricky, because if I do what she tells me I sort of prove my point. And if I don’t do what she says I might have to develop early-rising habits and cook my own breakfast.

I also don’t want to talk about work too much, as I admit that many people will find it less than fascinating. Not everyone is blessed with my capacity for loving ancient rubbish.

Nor will everyone be fascinated to hear how we reset the credit card machine after it stopped working.

Nor will the news that we’ve increased the stock of our on-line shop by 10% this week be greeted with much more than the thought of raising an eyebrow.

We have been shown some interesting things this week – including a George Medal that required a new ribbon, a medieval lead token someone found whilst digging the garden and a box of World War Two medals which included King Haakon VII’s Freedom Medal. I would have liked to have known the story behind the last one, but they didn’t even know which member of the family they had belonged to. Needless to say, as soon as I showed interest they decided to keep them.

The big news is that the shillings are all done. On Monday they will be delivered and, hopefully, out of my life forever. The same goes for the 1,000 crowns we’re also sending. However, don’t worry, we’ve already bought more. It seems like everyone who comes in has cupro-nickel crowns.

Shillings of Elizabeth II - English and Scottish varieties

Shillings of Elizabeth II – English and Scottish varieties

I have some. I bought them in 1968 after reading about how they would be a good investment. My Mum got them from the bank for me – four at face value of five shillings each. (This was before we went decimal and they became worth 25 pence). They are still worth that. Allowing for inflation this is a bit of a disaster.

Things could be, as I often say, worse. There’s a website you can use for selling things and they offer 19 pence each. I won’t send you a link as I don’t want to encourage them.

There would be more photographs but for the last few days I’ve been having trouble with my media contents – scroll down a few weeks looking for a suitable library shot and the whole thing freezes, making me shut down to get going again.

Looks like I may have to email WordPress.

It rained this afternoon. I’m hoping this isn’t a sign that summer is over.

We also had to evict another wasp queen. That is two in the last three days. Opinion in the shop is divided between gently showing them the door and killing them. At the moment I’m with Eddie on gently showing them the door. However, I’m wondering if I might change my mind shortly as the suspicion of a wasp invasion builds up.

As lives go, this is not cutting edge…

 

Thoughts on Modern Coins

It wasn’t the most interesting of days.

Rain, repetitiveness and a limited supply of customers all conspired to make it a bland sort of day.

We have some new stock, but they are mainly modern coins, and I think you know my view on this sort of thing. I just had a look at the Royal Mint website, to post a link and this is what I found. A thousand years of minting history, which has brought us some of the most beautiful coins in the world (though this is, of course, a matter of taste) is now bringing us the Game of Thrones series.

If the decay of the modern world was on trial, and I was prosecuting, I would now rest my case.

I applaud the fact that people are now searching through their change looking for coins to collect, and it’s even better that they are coming into the shop to fill gaps in their collections. But look at what they are being offered.

There are other organisations that produce coins, and put marketing ahead of value and aesthetics, but they aren’t grinding a thousand years of history under the heel of commercialism. That, and the fear of legal action, means that I will just mention the Royal Mint.

I don’t even mind about the commercialism, it’s the poor standards of design and trivial nature of many of the subjects that really get to me. As a result, I can’t even get a decent picture to illustrate the post, so please accept my apologies for the poor quality photos.

In which a joke of questionable taste is told, coins are sorted and I am forced out of the way by a rude woman in the supermarket.

I decided to employ a sub-heading as I couldn’t convey it all in the title. (Added later: then I forgot to write a title! Senior Moment Alert!)

Last week, having failed the blood test, I received a panicky phone call from the anti-coagulation service. They do take things a bit seriously at times. All I did was forget a couple of pills and drift off target a bit – it’s not like I’m hovering at Death’s door. I’m not even at Death’s garden gate. In fact, I’m feeling quite perky.

As I get older I really ought to stop saying things like that, as I’m going to look pretty stupid if I drop dead tomorrow.

I’m pretty sure the anti-coagulation is working as I bled quite a bit when they pulled the needle out.

We had a visitor in the shop today, which was good as I hadn’t seen him for about ten years. He used to be a coin dealer, but he’s taken up a new career since then and now takes secular funeral services. He also told us one of the funniest jokes I’ve ever heard. Unfortunately I can’t repeat it.

It wasn’t rude and it didn’t feature bad language but it was, shall we say, in questionable taste, and looked at something from an unusual angle.

I laughed so hard I nearly fell off my seat.

Then I carried on sorting. Stamps, shillings and crowns. Ah, the glamour!

Finally, as you may have guessed from the first paragraph, I went shopping. It all went relatively well until I got to the checkout. The manned checkouts were all crammed, so I decided to use the self-service. They, it seemed, had been giving trouble all day, and the one I used queried six of my nine articles, necessitating the intervention of a staff member each time.

When all was done I started to leave the shop. As I got to the doorway a woman came up behind me and pushed past, which isn’t good when you’re using a stick for balance. She then made someone else swerve to avoid her then walked directly towards someone coming into the shop and made them stop the let her past.

She wasn’t being pursued, she was just very rude, arrogant and inconsiderate.

All this rush meant that she got to her car, started the engine and engaged reverse gear ready to escape.

Meanwhile, I put a bit of a spurt on.

And once I was behind her car, as she waited impatiently to reverse out, I walked behind her…very…very…slowly.

I don’t usually manage to get my own back, but today everything just fell right. And it felt good.

 

Sixpences, Sweethearts and Samosas

It was a hectic morning, with fourteen eBay parcels to be packed and sent off before the Post Office closed at lunchtime. We would have managed it easily, working together as a well-oiled machine, if it hadn’t been for the arrival of a shopful of customers.

It’s a real dilemma – we want to provide a quick and efficient eBay service, but our core business is based on the customers who come to the shop so we can’t neglect them.

We were expecting a quiet day as two of the Saturday regulars came in on Friday, but it didn’t work out like that. Within the first hour we were full with people buying and selling and the post had to wait. We got most of it done in time, though some will not be going into the post until Monday. Such is life. It’s not ideal but we are still within the time allowed for posting.

During the rush I managed to sell a nice Victorian sixpence to a young collector who is just starting to collect coins. Hopefully it will be the start of a lifelong collecting habit, and hopefully he will continue collecting good stuff instead of modern decimal coins. We owe a lot to decimal coins, as they are fuelling a great interest in coin collecting, but I can’t help wondering if it will still be popular in ten years, or if it will be a bubble that bursts.

In the afternoon we also managed to sort more shillings, put several lots on eBay and polish the counters. One of the later customers bought us samosas from the Indian shop across the road, which proved to be an acceptable snack with our afternoon coffee.

I’ve described one of the sweetheart brooch lots as having a pin that has been “replaced at sometime in the past”. I resisted the temptation to tell them that it had actually been replaced by me five minutes before I took the photos for eBay. It’s not a bad job, even if I say so myself. It came from the back of a cracked enamel badge that said Delegate and involved two sets of long-nosed pliers and a certain amount of muttering.

This is the brooch – a WW2 mother of pearl sweetheart brooch for the Royal Armoured Corps.

We have several more on sale, including these two for the Middlesex Regiment.  The one on the left is a silver and enamel tie-pin or bar brooch, the one on the right is silver, with hallmarks for 1915. It’s an interesting subject for collecting, with all military units depicted in a variety of styles, though I often wonder who gave them and if they came back.

 

 

 

Back to Blogging

It snowed today. Again.

The other news for the day is that after a break of six days I am back to blogging. Has it really been 6 days?

It started with a hectic night. As it approached midnight I was still busy and decided I’d miss a night rather than just throw a few words at the page. Next night it was easier not to write a post and suddenly not writing blog posts became the new norm.

When the kids used to attend a dojo regularly to train in aikido the instructors always used to say that it only takes two weeks to break a habit. From what I’ve seen in the last week, you can probably break a habit in three days.

I was surprised that, after a thousand posts, I could just stop, though I think there were other factors at work. In the past it’s really annoyed me to miss a post, but this time it was actually a relief. Part of the problem, I think, was that I’ve been finding it difficult to adjust to regular employment, For twenty-five years I’ve been used to planning my own time and making my own decisions (apart from the ones Julia takes for me) and it’s a bit tricky adjusting.

I’ve also been adjusting to new, repetitive, tasks in cramped conditions, which seems to have brought on a new crop of aches and pains. Six hours a day moving coins round may not seem the most onerous of jobs, but the weight mounts up. Honestly.

After a week sorting pennies (we had nearly a ton of pennies to sort this week) and counting  foreign currency, I’ve shifted a fair amount of weight. Much of it has been moved whilst sitting in unsuitably hunched positions. We also bought in a large quantity of modern 50 pence pieces, including two of the famous Kew Gardens coins.

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The new shop may have more room than the old one but it still isn’t built for comfort. However, it’s a lot better than the old one, and BT may, just possibly, connect the internet sometime soon…

Our other problem is that, with a shared front door people think we are closed, and several have gone into the Indian Takeaway by mistake. You would think the presence of a menu, and absence of coins, would give them a clue, but one spent nearly five minutes in there.

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Next week we are going to buy a sign that days “Open”.