Tag Archives: Ebay

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 the. 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…

 

An Ordinary Life

Yesterday started, as usual, with shillings. We’ve probably spoken about shillings enough. I’ve certainly sorted enough.

I then moved on to sorting out four boxes of  secondhand office supplies we’ve recently inherited from the estate of a local dealer. Although I like stationery, I don’t necessarily like it when it’s mixed up in a box. What with scissors, loose staples and a loose craft knife it was not a happy episode.

Finally I was able to get to the computer in the back office and start putting medallions on eBay. We have a large supply of medallions. I refer to them as “modern”, though to many people the 1970s and 80s are “before I was born”.

I’ve put 41 on in two days and sold 14 already.

Fortunately I am not an ambitious man.

Historical Note: When someone reads my blog 50 years from now to see what ordinary people were thinking about Syria in the run up to Armageddon they are going to have to conclude “not much”.

I’m not sure why we are involved. I’m not sure why the Russians are involved. And I’m not going to waste time worrying about it because there’s nothing I can do to change things.

I’m now going to make corned beef hash for tea.

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Shillings, always Shillings…

We had fourteen parcels to pack and post this morning, which we managed in reasonable time. I was happily photographing and loading medallions on eBay when the boss arrived and hobbled through the door.

He has a bad back and stick that is too short for him – a recipe for disaster, as I know to my cost.

Then we had cake.

After that the other two went home, one to a pre-planned afternoon off and the other to an afternoon of stretching out with painkillers and hot water bottles.

That left me alone in charge of the shop. Just me and several thousand shillings.

Two hours later there were still several thousand shillings, but they were arranged differently.

Shillings of Elizabeth II - English and Scottish varieties

Shillings of Elizabeth II – English and Scottish varieties

When I write the chapter called My Working  Life – The Shilling Years for my autobiography it’s going to need some work. I may have to tell the story of how Kylie Minogue came in to buy Australian coins for her father’s collection.

She spent several hours picking over our fine stock of antipodean numismatic gems before noting the time and wondering if she had time to stay.

I should be so lucky

 

Disclaimer: Shillings, always Shillings… is a lazily written work of fiction and the author would be glad not to be sued by Miss Minogue, who has never actually been to the shop. Though she would be welcome to pop in if she’s ever passing.

Other pop stars are available, though their songs probably wouldn’t have fitted so well and, frankly, if S Club Seven, Blue or Little Mix came to the shop I probably wouldn’t recognise them.

 

 

 

Pack, Pack, Pack!

We turned up at the shop today and found we had a record number of packages to send off. A normal Monday sees us with anywhere between two and ten parcels to send. Today there were fourteen. Not only that but one of the orders was for twenty eight medallions to go to Australia.

That required a stout box, brown paper and some old-fashioned wrapping skills.

We sent out pennies and sixpences, several coin sets, a seventeenth century token, two lots of banknotes and a variety of other things I can’t quite remember.

We also bought some coins (including a stunning Gothic Florin) and turned two lots of stuff away as it had originally been bought from the Sunday supplements and were thus (a) expensive and (b) poor quality. This is always sad as we know we are disappointing people, who often buy it with an eye to either investment or leaving it to grandchildren.

I’m tempted to use the word tawdry, but it seems a bit cruel, even though it does allow me to use an interesting link.

At the moment it’s a bit of a sore point as we overpaid when buying a few things that turned out to be very cheap on eBay. We will have to transfer some of the cost to the other things we bought. Some you win, some you lose…

The moral of this is don’t buy from people who spend a fortune on advertising, as you are paying for the advertising rather than the item.

And if you want to leave something to the grandchildren put some money into a savings account.

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.

 

 

 

“Rare” Coins and Dark Thoughts

It sometimes feels like we’re under siege in the shop.

Every day we get phone calls or personal callers with “rare coins” to sell. I don’t mind it if the coins are old (by which I mean pre-decimal) because there is at least some hope of something interesting cropping up. The “rare coins” that provoke me to thoughts of homicide are the ones that are reported as being rare in the press, on the internet,or, even worse, on ebay.

Recently we’ve had several reports of rare 2007 £2 coins. It’s a commemorative issue which marks the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire. The rarity is not in the coin itself (with a mintage of over 8,000,000 it’s actually reasonably common) but in the placement of the edge inscription.

The motto AM I NOT A MAN AND A BROTHER is impressed around the edge. According to the intellectual giants who stoke the hellish fires of rare coin “knowledge” the lettering should be right way up when the Queen’s head is uppermost. If it is upside down, the coin is the “rare” variety.

2007 £2 coin

2007 £2 coin – reverse

Now, this is where things start to come unstuck. The edge inscriptions are put on by a roller before the final striking and people who know about the process are happy that the inscription is going to land in accordance with the laws of chance – 50% will be right way up and 50% will be rare varieties worth £300 on ebay.

Or, to look at it another way, there is no rare variety. There’s also no evidence of one selling for £300 on ebay in the last month or so.

Turning to the actual prices realised on ebay, which are often very different from the fanciful figures put on the coins that don’t actually sell, I found one that sold  for £500, one for £102, one for £23, three for £20 and only two others in double figures.

Some people clearly shouldn’t be allowed on ebay without supervision.

Thirty three coins, after allowing for ebay fees, sold for £2 or less, with several selling for 99 pence.

That’s from a total of 155 sales in the last 6 weeks.

I will let the figures speak for themselves.

 

 

 

Another New Week

Well, it’s another new week and it’s a blank canvas full of possibilities and the potential for cliches.

I rose early, did a word puzzle and then sat and decided what to do. I decided to do more sitting, and did another word puzzle. These aren’t intellectual exercises by any means but at 6.30 my brain isn’t necessarily prepared for heavy lifting.

Breakfast consisted of a pear, a small citrus fruit (I lose track of all the names they use these days) and two turmeric capsules. As a dietary regime it could probably do with some fine-tuning.

My first TV selection was what I refer to as “classic comedy”. That could equally be “very old repeat” as it was a 1982 episode of Minder – the Birdman of Wormwood Scrubs. That’s the episode where they refer to a male Bullfinch, but show a female Chaffinch. After that I lost interest in the assorted rubbish on offer and concentrated on the computer.

Looking through the Q&A section of ebay to increase my knowledge of the system I was struck by the fact that though many of the world’s resources are decreasing the supply of idiots shows little sign of slacking off.  If we could harness stupidity and get it into a fuel tank we wouldn’t need electric cars. I won’t dwell on the subject, as we don’t have the technology for this, and the waste upsets me.

Now, as the clock creeps round to mid-day I realise that a touch of TV, two word puzzles, some light blogging, a quick breakfast, and a bit of ebay, has absorbed five hours of my life.

No wonder I don’t get the washing up done.