Thursday, 19 October 2017

The theme for Saturday's meeting is the collector's bookshelf. For my 12th birthday I was given a copy of Spink's Catalogue of English Coins. It was complete revelation of the diversity and scope of the series.

Since then I have built up a mini library of books. this is photograph of just a part. It gives an impression of the many different series of coins, tokens and medallions available to the collector.

One of the best pieces of advice is "buy the coin, buy the book!". there is always something more to learn.

What books got you interested? what books are essential?

Saturday, 9 September 2017

An Elephant never forgets 

The theme for this month's meeting was the elephant on coins. members brought along various specimens from ancient Rome to modern Eighteenth Century tokens of Coventry.

Here are some elephants. Top row

Great Indian Peninsula Railway free pass 1880s?
India 2 rupees 2003
Ancient Indian coin 3rd Century AD?
bottom row
East Africa and Uganda Protectorate 10 c 1912
Ceylon 2 stivers 1815

Elephants embody strength and gentleness, power and faithfulness. An excellent theme for coin collecting!

Monday, 28 August 2017

Thirty Years’ War

The Thirty Year’s War was a bright spot in a fairly dull course on Seventeenth Century history. I was interested in the causes of the war, the ups and downs a different countries joined in and the longer term consequences. It was a bit like one of those schoolboy fights where everyone piles in and no-one knows who is fighting whom or why. Sometimes parties were on wrong side because hated one country more than another.  
You can look at it in many ways, a religious war, and an economic and social fisticuffs or not even a war at all but a series of unconnected wars which just happened to coincide. One could argue that English Civil War was part of it. The Stuarts were connected with the war. There are obvious parallels with Twentieth Century conflicts. It is a sort of genuine Game of Thrones.
Who would not like phrases such as “the defenestration of Prague” which comes from this period and “Kipper und Wipper”. This was a term arising from the period of extreme inflation, caused by trying to fund the fighting.  
I have several times thought of collecting coins relating to the Thirty Years’ War. This covers a wide period and most of Europe and many religious and political theme.
If you look that up on the internet there are some excellent guides.
However they tend to concentrate on more expensive coins and medallions.
Illustrated are some cheaper ones.

Top row; Ferdinand of Austria, silver coin of Besancon on the Rhine and Archdiocese of Bremen in Germany while occupied by Frederick of Denmark
Middle row: two copper coins of France Cugnon and Dombes
Bottom row: Pope Innocent X and  jetton of Richelieu with old coin ticket.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

19th August   Summer coins – coins from hot countries

Recently despite being August and in theory the middle of Summer the weather has had a touch of Autumn. Nights get chillier and some days it is windy and wet. We have probably had our Summer!

Warm weather makes me want to collect coins from hot countries. I did some research to find the hottest countries on earth. No great surprises, India, Africa the Middle East, but also Mexico and America. No trace of England there! If you look at the current currency of those countries they are all interesting and well designed. I expect some were minted at the Royal Mint.

Yes I do think of coins from hot countries on a hot day. That usually for me means India. Coins from the subcontinent are quite reasonably priced and easy to get. Modern coins from Tunisia, Sudan, Saudi, and Somalia are probably not collected but in their way fascinating.
On a cold day I might think of cooler places but that is another story. 

Illustrated here are coins of Somalia, Egypt, Morocco and South Arabia.
then an Islamic coin possibly a Mamluk coin from Aleppo. The coin is a brockage. the Indian coin is from Jaunpur sultanate 1458-79 tanka. 

Other members displayed coins from the Caribbean and Middle East. 

a member brought this crown sized Persian coin. Any ideas what it is? 

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Some Ecclesiastical Coins

For our July meeting we looked at coins from Prince Bishops, Electors and even a 20th Century token from Birmingham. That token was issued for a bazaar in 1929. it lasted three days so that is
 a lot of bric-a-brac and white elephant!

Germany Archdiocese of Bremen under Frederick II of Denmark 1642. Occupied by Danish troops during the Thirty Years War

1.    Austria Salzburg Cardinal Archbishop Matthew 1520s. Salzburg issued coins from 10th to 18th Century, they were always of a high standard. Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg (1469 – 30 March 1540) was a statesman of the Holy Roman Empire, a Cardinal and Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg from 1519 to his death.
In the course of the Reformation Lang's adherence to the older faith, together with his pride and arrogance, made him very unpopular in his Salzburg diocese. As early as in 1523 he was involved in a serious struggle with his subjects in the City of Salzburg, and in 1525, during the German Peasants' War, he had again to fight hard to hold his own. Cardinal Lang was one of the chief ministers of Charles V. He has been compared with Cardinal Wolsey.

2.    Germany Salz Land Minz 1692. 2 oval shields with the arms of Salzburg left, and of the Archbishop right, hat above, value in a circle below.

3.    Belgium Liege John Theo of Bavaria 1752 Johann Theodor of Bavaria (3 September 1703 – 27 January 1763) was a cardinalPrince-Bishop of RegensburgPrince-Bishop of Freising, and Prince-Bishop of Liège. Another long running series of coins

4.    Birmingham Cathedral 1928. Sixpence issued for a fund raising bazaar to finance restoration.

5.    Germany Trier 1694.  The Archbishop-Elector also had great significance as one of the seven electors of the Holy Roman Empire.

6.    France Lyon 1250. Inscription PRIMA SEDE GALLIARV “The first bishop’s see in France”

7.    Switzerland Chur Bishop Ulrich VII von Federspiel.  1692-1725

Saturday, 17 June 2017


The British Commonwealth -

Many people start collecting the coins of their own country and then either go back in time or travel the world (speaking collectively). In the 1960s and 1970s it was easy to get some commonwealth coins imply from the coins in your pocket. A South African penny, Australian sixpence or New Zealand half crown. They were same size as British coins. You could put together quite a collection. Nowadays things have changed. You occasionally find Gibraltar pounds or Channel Islands money in your pocket. I once got an Ascension Island 50 p.

I suppose most people would just pass these on in their change as quickly as possible but the budding coin collector or even the more experienced one will put them aside.

The theme for our meeting today was coins of the Commonwealth. Members brought year sets from Canada, India, New Zealand and Falklands. Single coins were well represented. There were some fascinating early issues which were cut or countermarked Spanish dollars. I knew these were used in the Caribbean but had no idea they were also used in Gibraltar and Prince Edward Island.

Why did colonies have their own coins and not just use British issues? The answer is it was illegal to export British currency for many years. Local merchants sent goods to England and agents here would sell them and send manufactured goods to the colonies. Capital stayed in Britain. It was not until recently that colonies and commonwealth states had their own currency. Sometimes it was based on sterling or a local currency such as rupee or dollar.


Monday, 12 June 2017

ONS programme 2017/2018

19th August   Summer coins – coins from hot countries
9th September   The Elephant.

 21 October    The coin collector’s bookshelf.      and the AGM

11th November          1917 War and revolution 

2nd December           speaker?

13  January   Winter coins   

10 February  Ships, planes, and trains. 

11  March      Islands, peninsulas and enclaves in the Mediterranean.
14  April         Commerce and trade in empire – Rome or Britain

15  May          Politics: revolution and independence
12 June         Women on coins.

 14 July        France

 August        Indo-China and the East Indies