Tag Archives: rare coins

An Interesting Day

Tonight, I beat an Oxford College on University Challenge. I can’t remember which one it was, but it was one of the proper old ones. They had a shocker tonight and managed to get down to zero after interrupting with wrong answers several times. I, on the other hand, hit a good run of questions and my one aging brain defeated the four fresh young brains. It was a moment to treasure. Pardon my glee, but some nights I watch it I don’t even understand the questions. I didn’t actually understand them all tonight, to be honest.

We had a good day in the shop and bought in a nice modern collection. It has some very rare coins in it. This is unusual, because despite what you may read in the papers or on the internet, there are not many rare modern coins. The seller walked out with slightly surprised expression. It’s always nice when you can surprise someone with more money than they were expecting.

I continued my research on the silver prize medallion we found in one of the trays. It had been there for years – a prize for the Mediterranean Fleet Water Polo Championships in 1934. IT is named on the edge and I have been able to put together an interesting, though sad, story. The officer in question was decorated with the DSC for his part in the Battle of Narvik, serving aboard HMS Havock. The battle took place in the middle of a snow storm and the leader, Captain Warburton-Lee, was awarded the first VC of the war. Lieutenant Bruce, the recipient of the water polo medal, would go on to gain three Mentions in Despatches, the final one being posthumous when HMS Somali broke up whilst under tow after a torpedo attack whilst escorting a convoy to Murmansk. According to a newspaper report he refused rescue until his men had been taken off the life raft he was on, and died when his raft capsized.

In a world where the word “hero” is often used rather loosely it is good to see it used properly

I love my job, and I do enjoy the research, but there are some terribly sad stories out there.

Seals, Solstices and Slimming

First, and last, day back at work after Christmas. I’ve been given Monday and Tuesday off, so I don’t return to work until next year.

I just had a look at the weekly seal update from Donna Nook, as we have failed to get there so far this year, and the news is not good. Numbers decreased by 90% over the previous week, so I suspect they will all be gone by now. With various things, we just couldn’t get to the coast this year. This included being asked to change days at work, meetings for Julia, and floods. It seems like everything stacked up to prevent us going.

I will use some of last year’s pictures with this post to give a flavour of what might have been.

The day was hectic, with 16 parcels to get to the Post Office before it closed at 12.30 and a constant stream of customers and phone calls. Most of the calls were about selling gold or silver but a few were about the perennial favourites – “rare” coins and “valuable” minting errors. They mainly occurred when I was already using both hands for wrapping packages.

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Last year’s seal at Donna Nook

We just got everything packed in time. Saturdays are always a bit of a rush, due to the Post Office closing at 12.30.

All the people who rang about selling gold and silver came in and sold us the stuff, as did a couple of other people who turned up on spec. We also had a group of regulars in, so things got quite busy.

Just one more Bank Holiday to work round then we can get on with work again.

Finally, after returning home in what appeared to be almost daylight compared to recent weeks (it’s the solstice effect – day length is actually only two minutes and eighteen seconds longer than it was a week ago) I found a leaflet from Slimmers World through the letter box. I’m sure it wasn’t meant personally but I do have a growing feeling that the whole world is having a laugh at my expense.

The Halo Slips…

You may recall that I’ve trying to stay calm this week.

Well, my resolve has been well and truly pushed today. What sort of person rings a coin shop about a “rare coin” and doesn’t even know what it is? How do you know it’s rare?

We’ve had several old favourites this week – the worn out Victorian pennies, the “old pennies” from 1912 and the ones” in good condition – you can see all the letters”. The ability to see all the letters on a coin doesn’t mean it’s in collectable condition.

Often, when asked about specific details, the seller doesn’t have it to hand and has to go to another room to find it, leaving me hanging on the phone when I have work to do.

We have had some “rare” Charles Dickens £2 coins offered this week after a newspaper story and some eBay idiocy.  The trouble is that newspapers report coins as “sold” on eBay when they are merely for sale on eBay. Any idiot can put a coin on eBay with a massive price on it. Judging by what I’ve just seen several idiots are doing it.

To cap it all, as I was trying to get things loaded before we went home, two people rang in the last ten minutes. One had a “rare” decimal penny and one had a “rare” £2 coin.

I came close to snapping.

What sort of person, having found us on the web, presumably with our opening hours, decides to ring ten minutes before closing time?

The prize moment of the day, however was the offer of a rare £2 coin with a picture of the White House on it. I didn’t take that call, I just heard one of my workmates say: “I think you’ll find that the 2005 £2 coin actually has St Paul’s Cathedral on it.”

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