Tag Archives: crowns

Starting with Teeth…

The good news is that I have no more dental work for a while. Having spent the last two weeks with a temporary cap I’m now pleased to record that I’ve just had my new crowns fitted.

I have kept the old ones, because one is gold. I’m thinking, as with the previous one that I kept, that they will be useful if the world banking system collapses. I’m also wondering about the idea of melting them down and using them to make a piece of jewellery for Julia.

Dental gold, I’m told, is about 60% pure, which makes it close to 15 carat gold. This was a standard used by the Victorians and I’ve always liked it. This probably seems strange, but there are some nice items made in 15 carat. It went out of use in 1932. Unfortunately, it’s quite close to 14 carat gold, a tawdry American standard that has been popularised in the UK by TV shopping channels. They have also popularised chocolate diamonds. Brown jewellery, whatever next?

And here is another place where American and English diverge as languages. We have the word carat, which describes the weight of a diamond and the fineness of gold. In America they have carat for the weight of diamonds and karat for the fineness of gold. It is both an example of American logic and the capacity of the English language for absorbing ambiguity.

You only need to think of a metal cleaning solution made in Eastern Europe. That would be Polish polish, and I’m sure most of you instinctively read it as that.

Further to the story of the skip – Julia finally tracked the company down and on being told that they couldn’t do anything, informed them in steely tones that she was sure they could.

They could, she said, either provide us with a skip or refund us for the one they had taken away early.

They are sending us a new skip tomorrow.

Then I left the AA. That for American readers, is like the AAA, but not based in America. My breakdown cover was due to cost me £312. I looked at it and decided I can’t afford it. So I looked at reducing cover, and got it to £171.

At that point I turned to the internet. I could, if I was joining the AA for the first time, get the reduced cover for £25 less. I’ve had this argument with them before and, after 38 years of continuous membership, it finally annoyed me so much I decided to do something about it.

I now have breakdown cover with Green Flag. It has cost me £58 and offers, on paper, the all the important elements of the AA cover.

Of course, I’ll only know if I’ve done the right thing when I’m stranded on a dark road in the middle of a rainy winter night. That’s what always worries me when changing insurance, have I done the right thing or have I sacrificed security for a few quid?

Featured image is a Razorbill. I was just wondering about sticking some lipstick on it and calling it a Puffin.

 

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.

 

 

Sifting Through History

It was an interesting day yesterday, starting with sorting out several boxes of Royal Mint proof sets. It moved on to refilling the decimal coin albums – the £2s, the £1s and the 50 pences. You can’t knock it, because it’s getting people involved in coin collecting and going through the change in their pockets. That’s how I started.

Collectable decimal coins – one of the mainstays of the shop. The 1807 is the two pound coin that supposedly has the rare variety. It doesn’t.

The first coins that ever interested me were farthings. We had a few at home in the early 1960s, just after they were discontinued. They were small neat coins, with a picture of a Wren on the back. A few years later my grandfather gave me one dated 1901. It had the veiled head of Queen Victoria on one side and, wonder of wonders, the figure of Britannia on the back. I was amazed.

I suppose in the days when we only had two black-and-white TV channels and no internet it was easier to be amazed.

There’s a little more to the farthing than the Wiki entry suggests, they actually date back to the days when silver pennies were cut into quarters (or fourthings) but it’s a good summary of the farthings I’m talking about.

By 1968 I had moved on and bought a book. That told me that it was still possible to get Churchill Crowns from the bank at face value (5 shillings, or 25 pence) and that they would be a good investement for the future. I asked my mother to get me four. Fifty years later they are worth their face value when we buy them in. You see them at all sorts of prices on ebay and antique centres, but that is just proof of either ignorance or greed.  A cupro-nickel crown from the 60s, 70s or 80s is not an expensive coin, and as I noted the other day, we just sorted a thousand for export. The fact that we were able to put together a thousand (and still have plenty left) may be a clue as to how well they sell, even though we are only looking for pennies of profit. It’s a rare week when we don’t buy twenty or thirty. And an even rarer week when we sell one to the public.

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Cupro-nickel crowns commemorating the silver wedding of the Queen and Prince Phillip

Although I didn’t continue with coins, I did continue collecting, which is a long, long story.

Meanwhile, back at the shop, I was allowed to look through a couple of boxes of junk that we have bought from the estate of a deceased dealer. This is the sobering side of dealing in collectables, when you end up with the stuff of someone you’ve known for years.

Coronation medallet of William IV (1831) – an interesting piece of history from the junk box

Apart from being a practical demonstration of mortality it’s also a lesson that everyone, no matter how well organised they seem, has an accumulation of bits and pieces lurking around at the back of their life.

Peninsula War victories of the Duke of Wellington. It’s a bit worn, but so am I, and I’m a lot younger.