Sunday, 10 December 2017

Coins - small change 

I saw a good spread of coins today at my favourite dealer. I bought five out of ten or so Nineteenth Century Italian coins. Some of them neither I nor the dealer had ever seen before. They included coins from the Kingdom of Italy set up by Napoleon, Lombardy/Venetia controlled by Austria and Tuscany. An interesting set of coins in reasonable condition. None worth a fortune.

Why were they all low denominations? They were one, five or ten cent coins so what happens to the larger coins? I was offered a large collection last week of over a hundred and fifty coins. Not one large denomination coin at all .

Sunday, 3 December 2017



The last meeting of the year was a talk by Shailendra Bhandare from the Ashmolean Museum        entitled 'Introduction to Islamic coins from the Indian Subcontinent'. It was very interesting and well presented. a fascinating introduction to this series. 


The coin illustrated here is a 1 Lats coin from Latvia. This is one of their excellent series of festive designs.  

There are many coins to chose from with a Christmas theme to suit all pockets. Latvian coins are some of my favourites. see the latest edition of Coin News magazine for more. 

Saturday, 11 November 2017


The theme of the day was War and Revolution.

This week has marked the centenary of the Russian Revolution and the end of the Battle of Passchendaele. This week is Remembrancetide. 

these are a tray of coins from 1917.



the following tray is an assortment of items from centuries of warfare.


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?