It’s Human Nature.
Show me bag of coins and I think of the hidden gem that might be in there. It rarely is. I’ve offered on four lots of coins this week. I bought one lot for £3 after they decided to keep the two best coins. The other lots were worth less and they decided to keep them. I was happy with that, as we do have plenty of junk. We are currently building up towards a third of a ton, the level at which the scrap man will call and collect.
The commonest “rare coin” we find in a bag of coins is a sovereign or half sovereign. They were circulating coins until 1914 when they were withdrawn in favour of paper money. People who had them put them away as gold is something people trust in times of economic trouble. The Treasury designed a £1 note over the last weekend of peace (1st and 2nd August) sent them to the printers on 4th (the day war was declared) and put it into production using stamp paper, which was the only suitable paper available in bulk. They were issued to the public on 7th August. Quite impressive. Over the years the sovereigns and half sovereigns which were put away were either spent or mixed in with a general accumulation of coins.
I once pulled a sovereign out of a paper bag of coins (worth about £10 in total) and told the lady it was (in those days) worth £300. Delighted? Not a bit of it. She snatched the coin from my hand, shoved it in a pocket and glared at me. It was, I speculated, a probate job and she was intent on defrauding her siblings.
Apart from that we’ve had very few rare coins in lots. Probably one or two a year. The clue is in the word “rare”. Take the man with the New Pence coins last week (he still hasn’t written to say thank you for my time and trouble in replying to his query). If they are worth £1,000 each, did he really think he had found a handful of them? Obviously he did, and his £15,000 daydream became a handful of loose change.
I once had someone say “I thought it was too good to be true.” as I told him this on the phone. He had gone through his kids’ piggybank and found 13 of them All I could do is agree with him.
And, now, back to the photos on my old camera card, what gems lurk in there. You always think it will be good, don’t you? Human nature, as I said. I used three of the best yesterday. Three more today and that’s it. There are a few duplicates as I tend to take back-up shots and a few of the group but I( don’t think I can use them – old photos are a tricky aspect of our data protection laws.