Tag Archives: Numismatic Society

An Ambitious Day

Yes, it was an ambitious day. And no, of course the ambition didn’t translate into massive advances in anything. I have a couple of poems in my head, the outlines of ten slides for my talk and not a lot else. It’s better than not having a couple of poems in my head (though they are never as good once I get them on paper) and not having the outline of ten slides done, but I had hoped for more.

It all started off with my decision to get dressed this morning. Normal clothes seemed to speak of standards being maintained so I opted for that rather than the Christmas Victorian Miser Chic look. That would have been warmer, and probably more productive, as the cold kept driving me through to the other room, and TV. And the coffee machine, the remnants of Christmas biscuits and conversation.

At least I did get some stuff done. There have been other Sundays where I have done less. I’m just cooking pizza now and will then be adding salad and going through to watch the Great Pottery Throwdown.

I’m using the word “cook” in its loosest sense here. Ready-made bases, sauce from a jar, grated cheese from a bag and a few sliced veg is not the height of pizza perfection. Nor is coleslaw from a  plastic tub, a sprinkle of cherry tomatoes and some leftover canned sweetcorn. At least it’s not a takeaway.

There’s not much to say apart from that. An inactive life leads to an uneventful blog. On Monday, it will be three weeks util my talk. At the rate I’m going, it should be OK, but I need to ensure that I do keep going at this speed. Bearing in mind I have ten submissions to make (it’s a busy month) this is going to be a hectic few weeks.

A nice cup of tea

Interesting Times

We had a good talk at the Numismatic Society tonight. The subject was FAO coins and the 57 slides passed swiftly, taking just 45 minutes. That’s what I like about a talk – informative and short. One of the other members then spent five minutes checking that his PowerPoint would run on the technology we have available. It does. He is due to give his talk in January. I’m due to give mine in February and I haven’t even started. It is a slight worry, but there is plenty of time. I will, of course, still be saying that a week before the talk.

Sorry, I was tired when I wrote this post and forgot to add information about FAO coins. They are a series of over a thousand coins (1,214 according to one article) released under a programme directed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN. The idea was to raise funds and awareness by the use of coins. It originally started with stamps but the organisers soon realised that many of the poorer areas of the world were more likely to see a small denomination coin than they were to see an organised postal service.

One of my headlights has blown in the car. That’s not so bad at the moment, but will need replacing before I drive in the dark again. I still have plenty of light, and it’s still light when I drive home at the moment. However, as winter draws on, this won’t always be the case.

DEtail from the barge

A detail from the barge

On my return from the meeting I found a wonderful meal of sausages, roasted veg and gravy was in the oven and nearly ready to serve. I had taken no chances tonight, as Julia often loses herself in preparing for tomorrow. The vegetables were all a little faulty (woody parsnips, tiny carrots and a rather bulbous leek) which I attribute to the general malaise affecting farming and the supply chain since Brexit and Covid combined to bring us down.

Readers in fifty years will probably be appalled that we didn’t have everlasting lights and radar, but particularly that we had to drive ourselves.. Give it a few more years and we will all be travelling in driverless cars. Not a prospect I welcome.

Pictures are details from the wharf at the pottery.

How to manage a rope

I just deleted this post, but managed to get it back. maybe I’m starting to get the hang of this stuff.

Butlins Veleta Competition Medallion 1954

Day 101 (Part 2)

I may have been incorrect when I said I would post immediately if the talk was good. The spirit was willing but Julia had pasties in the oven with potato wedges and you know how it is . . .

It wasn’t the most sophisticated of meals, but it was filling and warm on a cool night.

The talk was excellent, talking about 24 different coins and the personalities associated with them. They were rather too old for me as I know very little about ancient coins, but it was interesting all the same. As an added benefit, I now have a better idea of the timings for my talk next year and know that I can cover about 25 medallions in reasonable detail.

It covered the famous Greek coin with the owl on, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Mark Antony, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin and the Duke of Wellington. And the widow’s mite, Legionary denarii, the debasement of coins, the death of Archimedes and Hannibal. That’s quite a lot for one evening. I’m not sure how long it lasted but that is a good sign. Usually, by the forty minute mark I am yawning and clinging desperately to the last vestiges of my sanity.

It was, to be honest, a night of mixed emotions. It was fun and interesting, and has taken the hard work out of planning mine, which is good. However, it has also set the bar rather high in terms of quality. Content is not a problem, but quality of design is another matter. I had enough problem with simple slides and plain backgrounds last time. Now it looks like I will have to do a lot better than that.

The pictures are from my collection. The medallion is from the Butlins Veleta Competition in 1954, which was the the biggest dancing competition in Britain between the wars, and probably up to the 1960s.

The other two show an item from my collection of plastic transport tokens. When I was asked to talk at the Numismatic Society it was on condition I didn’t talk about my transport token collection. There is no accounting for taste.

They were provided for a number of reasons – pre-payment, employees, postmen, school children and, in this case, Air Raid Wardens, allowing cheap travel for various categories of people who needed it.

Nottingham City Transport 1d ARP token - size comparison

Nottingham City Transport 1d ARP token – size comparison

Nottingham City Transport 1d ARP token

Nottingham City Transport 1d ARP token






Day 101

And the decision is . . . that I will make a decision later. I want to get this written before I go to the Numismatic Society and decision making will only delay it.. The talk is History’s Great Names in Coins.  It is, according to the speaker going to be “a bit different” and “interactive”. This could go either way. If it’s ground-breakingly brilliant I will come straight back and tell you. If it isn’t, I’ll eat my tea first and then tell you.

To be honest, I don’t generally favour new things, so it’s unlikely my evening meal will be delayed. However, we do have a member who tends to start ranting in a disconnected way halfway through most talks and it will be fun to see how he takes it. It is, as we are often told, wicked to mock the afflicted, so I won’t. On the other hand you can’t blame me for wondering what is going to happen. Will he be engrossed? Or will he be provoked into louder than usual ranting?

A letter arrived for me today. It has taken five weeks to get from the USA to Nottingham and is actually two days quicker than forecast. It seems like a long time. I won’t say anything derogatory about the US Mail system, because it’s generally not too bad and I’m sure it has problems that ours doesn’t, such as long distances, bad weather and bears. These, of course, are all minor inconveniences compared to the challenges faced by the Pony Express and the early Air Mail pilots.

Day 45

I took cake home from work and this seemed to smooth things over. A new cakeshop has just opened over the road from the shop where the sandwich shop used to be.

Then I went to the Numismatic Society for the talk on Smith’s Bank. The banking bit was a little dry but some of the family history was interesting and the speaker (who also happens to be my employer) had done a good job of adding coins to convert it to a suitable talk for a coin society. I will give you a choice of following the link, rather than have me inflict a second hand version of the story on you. It’s not quite as interesting as the talk, but it’s infinitely better than my garbled retelling would be.

There was  a rainbow in the sky tonight as we left the shop, maybe a sign of brighter times. So far we have had a very mild winter and I’m hoping we will get through the next couple of weeks without a storm. The rainbow fade as I got the camera into action, but you can just about see it in the header picture.

The second picture is a cigarette case in the form of a British wartime blue £1. They were changed from green to blue to make counterfeiting harder and were the first British banknotes to include a security thread. After the war the colour returned to blue but the thread was retained. It’s not in as good condition as the last cigarette case we put on eBay, but it’s still interesting.

Wartime Blue £1 on cigarette case

Day 44

There’s something solid and satisfactory about the number 44. It’s a far cry from 37, which always has a shifty look, though clearly lacks the gravitas of 88. Having said that, if I pull my belt tighter I can do a passable imitation of the number 8. I wouldn’t know where to start with imitating the patrician number 4.

After writing that paragraph I looked up numerology. It doesn’t say much about the personality of numbers, though does talk a lot about 888, which is a happy number and is also known as the Jesus Number. It is a fine number from many points of view, including my favourite, that it looks like my grandmother and her two sisters standing side by side. They don’t mention that in the Wiki entry, though they do say that it reads the same back to front and upside down. All in all, I like it, but I’m not sure if it’s a number I have much use for in everyday life.

I’m not sure what number I’m going to use for 1st January 2023. It could be 366 I suppose, in which case 888 will fall on 6th June 2024. On the other hand that’s a lot of counting, so I may have to rethink. I hadn’t thought about what happens in Year 2 when you start using numbers for titles.

We are having steak tonight. We traditionally have steak for Valentine’s Day but tomorrow I am going to the Numismatic Society of Nottinghamshire for a talk on the Smith’s Banking Family of Nottingham. Julia, for some reason, turned down my invitation to come to the talk and have a bag of chips on the way home. I’m just hoping I can stay awake through the whole talk now she won’t be there to prod me in the ribs.



When Alliteration Goes Bad . . .

I’m not sure what I’ve done, but I seem to have a new page when I start WP, giving me the chance to savour the whole WP experience. I don’t just a blog to write and people to see, I now have a few extra buttons and the sense that something random just happened. Good old WP, always something new and confusing.

We will be starting Numismatic Society meetings at the end of the summer, unless, of course, we have to cancel them again. It has been tricky organising speakers but the Secretary has done a sterling job (he is also the shop owner, so I have to say that) and some of the talks do look quite interesting. It will be nice to get back towards normal. It’s a big room and we don’t usually have more than 12 members attending, so social distancing won’t be a problem. The Banknote Society is also starting meetings but their Secretary has decided that they should limit it to ten members, and they have to apply for a place. I can see that causing some annoyance.

As I have said before – people who like making rules have loved  lockdown.

And that brings me onto the subject of alliteration. Apparently I have to practice it if I want to be a poet (another gem from that book I was telling you about). Unless you want to be a haiku poet, where alliteration and poetic devices are frowned upon. Well, that’s what they tell you. In fact some haiku editors are quite happy with alliteration. I’ve even seen it mentioned favourably when they have been picking their favourites. There is no consistency.

Anyway, as i left Julia at work I spotted two magpies in the road – clearly parent and child. The words “fat, fluffy fledgling” came to my mind, but they don’t work well, they are not alliterative, they are just  tongue-twister about a flat fluffy fledgling or, more confusingly a fat fluffy fedgling. I really don’t know what’s wrong with it, but I can’t make it fit a poem, there’s just something wrong with the words. Strange, isn’t it?



Brimming with Bonhomie

I’m absolutely full of it today. I enjoyed writing about the sweethearts yesterday, the boss is going away on a trip, and, when I returned home tonight, my anticoagulant results were in.

They were spot on target and I don’t have a retest until early December. This is a better way to live – free from the tyranny of medical tests – though it does mean that I tend to bleed a little too freely when I nick a finger tip in the kitchen.

I must improve my knife skills. Or make Julia do more of the cooking.

Last night we had a very enjoyable talk at the Numismatic Society.


They weren’t big on portraits in the early days of coinage, but the production method didn’t really lend itself to quality work. This is  Edward I from a Canterbury Mint penny of 1272-1307. It could, however,  be any one of a number of Kings, or even Shrek

I grant you, Coins in the later Medieval Countryside is not a title calculated to cause rapturous outbursts of enthusiasm, even amongst the members of the Numismatic Society. There were a number of familiar faces missing, but as they are normally the ones who sit at the back and mutter it actually improved the evening.

The talk was mainly about the archaeology of the coins from Rendlesham in Suffolk, which seems to have been an active high-status estate in Anglo-Saxon and early Mediaeval times. It is close to Sutton Hoo, which is a lot more famous and, let’s face it, a lot more interesting.


Long cross penny of Edward I – Lincoln Mint 1270

The project at Rendlesham has consisted, as far as the coins go, in using metal detectors in a scientific manner to search surrounding fields, and graph the types and frequency of coins, to give an idea of they way money was used. They have found over a thousand coins during the project and one of the questions coming out of the research is whether other sites could produce as many coins if they were worked in a similar intensive way.

Another equally important question, for me at least, was why did they never tell you there were jobs like this when I was at school? A job playing with coins, writing books and giving talks to numismatic societies – what more could you want?

Anyway, it’s time for me to go and practice my knife skills – roast veg with cumin served with steak and kidney pies and fruit crumble. As long as I don’t cut either of my typing fingers I should be OK.

Sorry about the photos – they are from an old post and could have been presented better. Unfortunately WP has been acting up again and I can’t work on them tonight.

Quick Post

We got stuck in traffic this morning and Number Two Son texted to say he’d seen us from the bus while he was on his way back from the night shift. Great use of technology!

Fourteen parcels to pack and a long slow queue at the post office. There was some light relief but I have no time to describe it.

A reasonable afternoon and some cooking.

A good talk at the Numismatic Society.

Chicken stew for tea. (Cooked earlier – good planning).

A fight with the new editor, which keeps throwing me out of the photographs.

Taking Number Two Son to work in the next few minutes.

I’m going to see what pictures it lets me use.



The Coming Week

We have a talk on framework knitters on Monday night. It’s not a very numismatic subject but it’s a piece of Nottingham history and a subject I should know more about.

I like to think I’d have been a Luddite, but really I know I’d just have stayed home and muttered. Same goes for being a Cromwellian or a Chartist. It’s all very well being part of history, but I like a soft warm bed and an absence of shooting.

If history had relied on people like me we’d still have despotic Kings, cheap stockings and no vote. I’m not sure this would be a bad thing. We’re still ruled by privilege, we wear cheap Chinese socks and look where voting has got us.

Before that, we have 19 parcels to pack on Monday morning, so it’s looking like a busy day.

It may have occurred to you that there’s a distinct lack of Sunday in this post. That’s because Julia had the day off so we got up late, had a leisurely day, caught up on some work and noticed it was getting dark.  That’s how Sunday goes sometimes.

There’s a lack of Tuesday too, because I’m having trouble thinking that far ahead.

No doubt parcels will play a large point in the week.

I suppose I should have picked a different title.

We put the Isaac Newton medal on eBay a week ago, and it’s one of the things that is waiting to be packed tomorrow. It’s nice when a plan works. We have some things that have been on for two years, so it doesn’t always work.