Tag Archives: phone calls

Day 107

This is a picture of a coin that were are often asked about. It’s a single metal £2 coin. They were produced between 1986-96 and although they were supposedly for circulation you rarely saw one and they didn’t really catch on. They were replaced by the bimetallic type, originally planned for 1997, but not actually released until 1998.

We often get phone calls from people, who think they have a rarity because they have never seen one of the older sort. This is easily explained by the fact that the old type is at least 26 years old and even then you would need a good memory fro a coin you rarely saw.

However, I cannot explain the fixation some people have for the “solid gold” version. They ring up, they tell us they have the solid gold version, they won’t accept that it is extremely unlikely and they invariably demand that we tell them where to go to get it confirmed. The truth is that there were very few of the gold proof versions made. They were expensive and it’s unlikely that anyone ever took them out of their box, threw the certificate away and spent it as a £2 coin.

There were millions of them minted. Mintage figures for the 1995 Dove of Peace coin is 4,391,248. Mintage for the gold version is 1,000. So, even if all things were equal, the odds are 4,391 to 1 against it being a gold coin. If you allow for the fact that it is extremely unlikely that any were taken out of their packaging (let’s say this happened to 10 of them – bearing in mind they cost about £1.000 and people are going to be careful with them) the chances are 439,125 to 1 against it being a gold coin.

If I were to get one call a day about this, the chances are that I will die of old age several times over before someone rings with a loose gold coin.

However, this doesn’t stop people ringing, convinced that I’m an idiot because I don’t believe their brass coin is gold.

The coin in the picture is gold. It is, as you can see, in a plastic capsule inside a box, with a certificate. And, no, I don’t know why a coin with a mintage of 1,000 needs a numbered certificate with a number over 2,000, but I’ve seen it before

Gold £2 Coin 1995 End of WW2 Obverse

Gold £2 Coin 1995 End of WW2 Obverse

Gold £2 Coin 1995 End of WW2 Reverse

Gold £2 Coin 1995 End of WW2 Reverse

Not the Worst Day I’ve Ever Had

Today I packed parcels. I wrote eight slips out and remembered, after the sixth, that it was no longer 2019.

I moved on to load a gold 50p piece on eBay (it was Paddington Bear at St Paul’s Cathedral). I won’t trouble you with my views on “collectable” coins or the debasement of national character that accompanies cartoon animals being depicted on coins. However, I will let you imagine what these views are.

Then, just in case the excitement of being back at work became too much, I photographed some 1930s auction catalogues. That calmed me down.

A number of people rang me for advice on “rare” coins. On even rang me twice. I thought about telling him he was an idiot but customer service training prevented this.

You can tell how well everything went from the fact that I spent the whole day thinking it was Friday. It was only when Julia informed me that tomorrow was not Saturday, as I thought, that I realised my mistake.

We had vegetable stew for tea. Then we had cheese. It was very relaxing.

Now I’m writing a short post and I’m going to have tea and biscuits before going to bed.

As days go, I’ve had worse.

Catching Up on Friday

Time to go back to Friday.

The first notable phone call was a lady with three “rare” 2016 Peter Rabbit 50p pieces – the variety with half a whisker. There were 9.6 million 2016 Peter Rabbit coins issued, and they all have ten and a half whiskers. The supposed rarity of the coin is not about actually rarity but about poor reporting standards, internet rumours and the rapacious greed and ignorance of a few internet sellers.

It should have been obvious that rare coins don’t crop up in multiples in your change, but people don’t always work that one out. To be honest, it’s dreaming of the elusive rarity which keeps many antiques dealers going.

However, I had to tell the lady they weren’t worth more than 50p each, and she told me this was a shame as she was hoping to buy a wedding dress for her granddaughter. Sometimes I’m less happy with my job than others.

Then we had the man, who to be fair, was an enthusiast. He rang up with a list of rarities, including 30-year-old British banknotes, US dollar bills (which turned out to be from this century) and Australian pennies. It took two ten minute phone calls to persuade him that we had plenty of British bank notes, that modern dollars in circulated condition are worth a dollar and that we have very few customers for Australian pennies (which we sell in bulk lots on eBay).

Finally we had a call from an embarrassed mother. Her son, having collected 50p coins, had tasked her with ringing round to get the best price for them. She was already sure in her own mind that they were worth 50p each and was very apologetic. So I invited her down with her son to view our stock, praising the virtues of coin collecting as a hobby, telling her we had reference books in stock and offering free tea and coffee.

Well, if you’re going to have to sit there taking calls you may as well show some enthusiasm.

 

One for Tootlepedal

As requested by Tootlepedal, here is the picture I took of a long-tailed tit yesterday. They flit through the treetops, squeaking to each other and never settling long in one spot. I didn’t have my big camera with me and the one I did have was set for flowers in close-up so it is a very bad shot. I put it here just to show that long-tailed tits, though beautiful birds, are not easy to photograph. I will then add, if I can find them, a few more shots taken over the years which are slightly better.

Poor shot of a long-tailed tit

Poor shot of a long-tailed tit

Even the miracle of modern photo editing can’t make this into anything but a comedic failure. Small equipment allied to poor technique do not produce good results, as Julia has often mentioned.

I don’t seem to be doing too well finding the shots of long-tailed tits, though I know I have a few. Try these instead. Here’s one from  The Marmalade Police and other stories…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I will look for more tonight but I have to go to work now – packing parcels and answering phone calls from people who are about to have their dreams shattered.

Number One son is back from his raid on Leeds. He has fixed up a flat and done his first job interview but is bemoaning the fact that he might have to take a boring job. I didn’t like to explain that this is normal. The job openings for International Playboys and Unicorn Trainers are very limited.

Ideas (Part 1)

By the time I’d finished my frittering yesterday I had twenty minutes to post before midnight. At that point I decided that it was time to take a more relaxed attitude.

I’ve become adept at knocking out a quick post over the last year or so in order to maintain a record of daily posting. The post is the easy bit – adding photos and tags is what seems to take time. You can meet the deadline despite this, simply post before midnight then edit to add all the other bits after midnight.

At the moment I have photographs with no words, words with no photographs and ideas with no words or photographs. For the sake of symmetry, I really should add that I have words and photographs with no idea, but I don’t. One thing I’m not short of is ideas.

They say that the most frightening thing in the army is a new officer with a map, and I can see this being true. In civilian life the most frightening thing I know is a committee member with an idea, or even worse, several ideas. I was at a committee meeting on the farm once when a new member announced “I don’t do things, I see my role as being more about having ideas. I could probably write a list of fifty ideas now.”

The ironic thing, as anyone who has ever served on a committee will know, is that everyone has at least fifty ideas, but what you really want is people who will do things. If committee work was about sitting round having ideas we wouldn’t be permanently short of people on committees.

The phone has just rung. I should have left it but I am conditioned to answer telephones. Four rings later, as I am half-way there, it stops. This is more irritating than actually picking it up to find either the noise of a call centre or the inane scripted chatter of an operator.

So, idea number one – see if there’s a landline that offers call barring.

Two – go ex-directory.

Three – disconnect the phone.

Four – look into the Edgar Wallace plot device that allows you to kill someone via a telephone line. I can’t remember the story, but I do remember the ability. My grandfather often mentioned the story, so I assume this is a case of genetics.

Five – see if it’s possible to set it to stun or sting, as killing someone for being irritating is a little harsh.

Six – look up You Tube footage of sturgeon. I saw some on TV and at the Garden Centre yesterday. There must be a celestial purpose to it. I like sturgeon.

Seven – remember that the irritating Scotswoman is called Sturgeon. Nicola Salmon is just a figment of my imagination.

Eight – and remember Salmond, Alex Salmond. See above.

Nine – look into careers that offer fame, fees for speeches and generous expenses.

Ten – look into careers where you can promise much and get away with delivering nothing.

Eleven – find address for Liberal Democrat Party.

Twelve –

Is that the time already? Better get ready – I have an appointment to be stabbed in the arm in half an hour.

Twelve – develop a better blood test. Preferably one that involves no stabbing.

Thirteen – develop a blood test that uses a mobile phone app.

Fourteen – check what a “mobile phone app” is. I’ve heard people talk about them but I really have no idea…