Tag Archives: coins

Mistakes…

Did you know that the Cook Islands Dollar and the Isle of Man have some obverse designs that are almost identical on their coins? I didn’t until this morning.

However, after opening a complaint from a customer that got a Cook Islands Dollar featuring the Coronation coach when they had been expecting an Isle of Man Crown featuring the Coronation coach I am now well aware of the fact.

I used a general coin photo at the top, just to remind you how grim these things are.

A simple enquiry would have sufficed. It’s bad enough having to sort everything out without sarcastic demands for explanations. I have hundreds of irritatingly similar coins, I was in a hurry as the post office closes early on Saturday, I should have organised things better, I made a mistake. It’s the first time in approximately 700 parcels that I’ve sent the wrong thing out.

I waited a few minutes before responding to their sarky note. It’s better that way.

The man who rang later that afternoon was not so fortunate. As I sat brooding on my mistake and throbbing with toothache, he told me he was from British Telecom and he needed to access my computer…

To be honest, there’s something quite satisfying about being rude to a wannabe fraudster.

 

A Small but Welcome Improvement (Part 2)

The title isn’t entirely true. This part is about all the bits of yesterday that weren’t welcome, and weren’t improvements.

When I first woke yesterday I was aware of a cold stiff finger. Fortunately it was mine, otherwise this could have been a very strange post. The little finger of my left hand is now following the ring finger of my right hand into arthritis.

I’m not sure whether it’s good to spread the load between hands or not.

Two hands with inconvenient fingers, or one hand with two inconvenient fingers?

 The third arthritic finger is likely to be the little finger of my right hand (it does get a bit cold and stiff at times) so the situation is likely to deteriorate soon anyway.

I doubled up my dose of turmeric, applied a pain-killing gel and cursed old age. There’s not much else you can do, apart from staying positive and, despite all my efforts, this isn’t really one of my strengths.

I am more Dylan Thomas than Pollyanna.

After the brief ray of sunshine that was my visit to the dentist, I arrived at the shop with two minutes to go. I hate being late, even by arrangement, so this was good.

Then I started entering more soul-destroying stock onto eBay. Every one I do is one more step towards my wages, and one more step towards becoming cold and empty inside…

And having come full circle, in a distinctly literary manner, I will leave you all, facing the cold, bleak, dead, stiffness of my existence.

Yes, that positivity stuff definitely isn’t working.

Coins, coins, coins…

Yesterday, we had quite a few people in the shop and I spent a lot of the day in the front of the shop talking rather than working. Today was the opposite and I spent most of the time sitting in the back room typing a seemingly endless list of coins into eBay. 

These aren’t just ordinary coins, these are tedious modern coins mounted on First Day Covers commemorating things like the Queen Mother’s birthday, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and a Royal Visit to the Isle of Man. They are badly made, dull, uninspired and bring out the worst in me.

I’m generally in favour of tradition and  resistant to change. However, after a couple of hours of this I’m prepared to put the entire Royal Family up against a wall and shoot them (normally I only feel like this about Prince Andrew and Fergie and their unpleasant offspring). A couple of hours later I’m also prepared to undermine the entire capitalist system which makes the successful marketing of such trash possible.

Just a short post for now, though the new editor seems to lack the capacity to count my words. I’m off to polish my hammer and sickle and raise a red flag.

Meanwhile I still haven’t worked out the benefits of the new editor, in any, compared to the old one. I may well go back to the old one.

Royal Family 1937

The Halo Slips…

You may recall that I’ve trying to stay calm this week.

Well, my resolve has been well and truly pushed today. What sort of person rings a coin shop about a “rare coin” and doesn’t even know what it is? How do you know it’s rare?

We’ve had several old favourites this week – the worn out Victorian pennies, the “old pennies” from 1912 and the ones” in good condition – you can see all the letters”. The ability to see all the letters on a coin doesn’t mean it’s in collectable condition.

Often, when asked about specific details, the seller doesn’t have it to hand and has to go to another room to find it, leaving me hanging on the phone when I have work to do.

We have had some “rare” Charles Dickens £2 coins offered this week after a newspaper story and some eBay idiocy.  The trouble is that newspapers report coins as “sold” on eBay when they are merely for sale on eBay. Any idiot can put a coin on eBay with a massive price on it. Judging by what I’ve just seen several idiots are doing it.

To cap it all, as I was trying to get things loaded before we went home, two people rang in the last ten minutes. One had a “rare” decimal penny and one had a “rare” £2 coin.

I came close to snapping.

What sort of person, having found us on the web, presumably with our opening hours, decides to ring ten minutes before closing time?

The prize moment of the day, however was the offer of a rare £2 coin with a picture of the White House on it. I didn’t take that call, I just heard one of my workmates say: “I think you’ll find that the 2005 £2 coin actually has St Paul’s Cathedral on it.”

Image result for st pauls £2 coin

The Quality of Coins…

We had an unusual start to the day.

On Saturday we have a lie in.  It’s the one day of the week when we aren’t pressed for time so we sleep in until 8.00. It’s only an hour but it breaks up the week, and prepares us for Sunday. I was in that stage of waking where you know the alarm is about to go off, but you don’t actually want to open your eyes and confirm it. It’s a comfortable place to be and I quite enjoy it.

Then Julia’s mobile went off.

It was work.

According to my alarm it was 7.58.

The Council had organised a special event for employees in one of their departments (and family members) after they won a national award. They had realised, somewhere between opening at 6.00 and ringing us, that they would need extra staff, hence the phone call.

Julia has a particular tone of voice she uses when she wants to express disapproval without actually saying she disapproves. I have heard it more than once. The crackling voice on the other end of the phone become gradually more apologetic.

Fortunately the rest of the day was better. We had customers in for most of the day and managed to get a few things on eBay too. It’s strange to think that six hours of work can be condensed into a couple of lines.

I’ll load some pictures now as they are a slightly more interesting way of  showing how industrious I’ve been.

For starters, I’ll start with a marketing master class. If you are thinking of marketing a coin by using a well-known entertainer, make it a rule to check if he’s likely to be at liberty to help with the promotional work. Rolf Harris was not a good choice to promote the Australian silver Kangaroo coin. Eddie refuses to put them on eBay but I have no problem with them. The coin didn’t actually commit any crime and besides that, it gives me a chance to say “Can you see what it is yet?” (American readers may need to refer to the link to see what I’m talking about, just replace the name with Bill Cosby).

The next selection are from the well known nation of Tristan da Cunha. It’s so proud of itself it even uses the abbreviation TDC instead of its name. I doubt if any of the coins ever see the place, though according to this link they do provide a source of revenue for the island. They seem to be jumping on the Great War bandwagon, and though the designs aren’t bad on the reverses, the badly done bust of the Queen is almost criminal.

Contrast that with the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy used on our current coins, and the coins of many other nations, and the TDC one looks even worse. You can see the IRB effigy on this poppy-shaped coin from Jersey. You can also get them with red colouration applied. I will say no more.

It’s not what I thought I’d be dealing with when I went to work in a coin shop.

Southwold Pier (Part 3)

There’s not much more to tell, but I do have more photographs to use, so you’re getting part three whether you like it or not.

The miniature bandstand in the header picture is part of the pier furniture. There’s quite a lot of it about – chairs, tables, booths and the previously mentioned waste bins. It all adds up to quite a stylish place with some serious attention to eating. I didn’t make notes of all the eating establishments – I really must get more professional about these things.

 

The end of the pier is formed by a group of concrete-filled posts that have been used as unconvincing wishing wells. It’s amazing what people will do if they have some change and a target. If I was in charge I’d rig up some buckets and collect my winnings regularly.

 

And at that point it’s time for a look back…

 

It’s a fine view but, as you can see from the walking stick picture, not a view achieved without a certain amount of personal danger. You need to be careful with the stick, though the spacing on Southwold isn’t too bad. It still feels a tad perilous, despite knowing it can’t actually go through. That’s a new ferrule by the way – I wore the last one out and bought some new grey ones from Amazon. I may buy a new, wider, stick to make sure our future pier trips pass safely.

Finally, on the return trip, you get a good view of the George Orwell mural.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

George Orwell with quotes – he spent quite a lot of time in Southwold, as this article shows

The Artist - Charlie Uzzel-Edwards

The Artist – Charlie Uzzel-Edwards – aka known as Pure Evil

There are about 60 piers in Britain, so there only 59 more to go. The problem is that I’m worried we’ve done the best one first and the rest are going to be a let down.

Next post – we visit Pier 2, which leaves just 58 to go.

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.