Next club meeting Monday 6th June 2017.

·       Subject -  Annual General Meeting and Display Competition

Monday 3rd July 2017.

  • Subject -  “Medallions from the Female Perspective” by Francis Simmons

Tuesday 1st August 2017.

  • Subject -  Summer trip to the Freemason’s Hall


The club's AGM and Annual display Competition for the Michael Broome Cup is the meeting where the officer's report the status of the club and the membership voice their concerns/ideas. It is also the time where the club committee is elected for the forthcoming year.


As last year,with this newsletter is a single Committee Report with contributions from all the officers and the AGM agenda, the financial balance sheet and the 2016 AGM minutes. We will not be repeating the content verbatim at the meeting. After the formalities, the agenda points that the Committee requires membership feedback will be discussed. Then there will be the opportunity for members to raise any issues, so please take time to read the report and gather your thoughts prior to the meeting. The election of officers will follow.


If you are willing to stand for election to the Committee please contact the chairman (tel 01932 336945) or the secretary at the number on your membership card.


The second part of the evening will be devoted to the annual display competition, with the winner being awarded the Michael Broome Memorial Trophy for 1 year. The competition is open to all members and can cover any topic connected to numismatics. So to all members please have a go and enter a display.


There may be some limited time available at the end of the meeting for dealing but please note that the time before the start of the meeting is for members to look at the Displays and perhaps renew their memberships.


Meetings are held at the Abbey Baptist Church, Abbey Square, commencing at 7.00 p.m.


May Meeting


 Chris gave a talk on Antique Silver and Hallmarks. Chris set out the history and development of the use of silver and the reasons why purity mattered. Silver is a precious metal which is widely available. It has many uses, especially when alloyed, which gives it the extra hardness for practical applications without undue loss of colour. This alloying however, especially with copper, has made its principal role - a way of storing and exchanging wealth, a concern through the ages.


The Greek and Roman coinage systems relied on the quality of the silver used to make coins. This was frequently abused by kings and emperors, both by alloying with copper and by silver plating base metal coins. After the collapse of the western Roman Empire, silver became the main exchange metal in Britain, surviving into mediaeval times as the silver penny. Penalties for being caught adulterating silver were always harsh.


King John’s taxation regime brought a new approach in the thirteenth century with the establishment of a new standard of 92.5% pure silver content. This became the Sterling Standard, and its application in England and Wales the subject of statutory control. In 1238 the king ordered the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London to choose six goldsmiths (who also were silversmiths) to supervise the trade and forbade gold and silver plating. (In 1400, this rule was relaxed for ecclesiastical plate, which could be plated base metal.) This regime was extended to provincial goldsmiths’ work which also had to be tested. The Goldsmiths’ Company implemented the standards for gold and silver in 1300 and many fines followed for breaches.

 As a new feature of a successful test, a leopard’s head was punched on silver vessels before they were sold. The judicial ceremony of the Trial of Pyx began at this time when silver objects, chosen at random, were assayed in a Royal Court. This practice continues to this day. Silver coin and plate were of identical quality and, at various times, plate was coined and coins were melted to make plate.


In 1363, Edward I introduced a maker’s mark and in 1423 and Assay Houses were established in seven provincial towns. In 1478, a new system of annual alphabetic marks was added to system of marking and the leopard’s head was given a crown. However, this did not stop the debasement of the coinage, especially under Henry VIII. A partial restitution of the quality of the silver was made by later Tudors, and the Civil War and its consequences 1642 – 1697 led to the establishment of the Britannia Standard (0.958 pure). However, this proved too soft for practical use and in 1720 the Sterling Standard was reintroduced.


After many developments, including the establishment of the Royal Mint and the movement of the Trial of the Pyx to the Goldsmiths’ Hall in 1870, the 1973 Hallmarking Act was the culmination of a very lengthy and complex process involving over 30 laws relating to hallmarking. On joining the European Common Market, the right to continue in this way against established continental standards was fought and won.


The present Hallmark contains many of the above historic features: the maker/ sponsor mark, the leopard’s head for Sterling/ London (or other assay office equivalent), the date letter. A fineness mark is mandatory but other marks are often retained.

 Christopher and Rachel had brought with them a number of hallmarked items. Many Victorian and Edwardian pieces seemed to have unusual purposes which led to an impromptu quiz about their real purpose. To avoid us thinking that these were very eccentric, they also brought some mid-twentieth Century pieces with equally unusual purposes.


Members thanked Christopher for a very interesting talk and for bringing so many pieces to accompany the slide presentation.





Future Events.

·         London Coin Fair at Holiday Inn, Bloomsbury 3rd June

·         Midland Coin Fair – National Motorcycle Museum 11th June


Past Events

·           10 years ago Edward Besley spoke on News from the Romano-British Empire

·           20 years ago was the Annual Bourse

·           30 years Tony Holmes spoke on the History of Spain.

Club Secretary.