Next club meeting Monday 5th February 2018.

·         Subject - Bitcoins By Chris.

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



·         Please bring your Auction lots for March along to the next meeting and give them to Ian, together with a list of the items, any reserves and – most importantly – some form of identification and an e-mail address if you’ve got one, so Ian knows who the lots belong to. Close of play at the February meeting is the deadline for entering lots into the auction, they must be handed to Ian by then.

·         There will be a maximum of 200 lots. Poor specimen, junk lots and lots with unrealistic reserves will be reviewed by committee to decide if there is a realistic chance of their sale so be aware such lots may not make it into the auction. Reserves will be shown. Lots will not be graded – it is up to the buyer to determine the grade. It is buyer beware when bidding for the auction lots and no responsibility is accepted by the club or auctioneer.


January Meeting

At January’s meeting, five members volunteered to give short talks.



Michael’s interest in coins arose initially from gifts from Dunkirk evacuees and various WWII participants. He bought a Festival of Britain 5/ piece which led to a lifelong interest in crown-sized coins. This choice led to a world-wide collecting interest from Thalers to Morgan dollars.


But being hooked on history and geography, Michael’s attention was drawn to antique maps – this providing his second abiding interest – especially of Berkshire. He showed five maps from his collection. The first was by John Speed, dated to the Stuart period, arguably the most famous English cartographer. The Reading town plan was copied by a Dutch map maker, Rutger Hermanides, circa 1661 and shows little change until the early-Victorian railway arrival. The third map was roughly the same age and drawn by Philippe Briet. It depicts Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The fourth map of Berkshire was by Thomas Bowen, better known as an engraver – but like many map-makers died in poverty. The last map was by ‘Victorian’ Thomas Maule who first published his highly decorative county map in the early 1830s, finding its way into an atlas in Victoria’s reign.



Michael has a long-standing interest in the quality of the minting process of British coins. He had brought two coins from his collection which were of particular interest – earning the title absolutely unique. The first coin was a (slightly) double struck James II Maundy 4d. The double striking only appears to affect the eyes, which gives James a strange look. Following James II reign, there were enormous pressures on the Royal Mint. Located in the Tower there was barely room to work with their new steam-processes and in 1805 it was agreed to move to Little Tower Hill, The Keys were delivered in 1812 and an ambitious production of gold started in 1813.


The major task was the silver output, especially small denominations to replace the circulation silver and silver tokens. Between 1811and 1816, 1.5 million silver coins were made, with the mint working 24 hours a day. Distribution started in 1817 and the period for demonetisation of existing silver was three months. Now, there was tremendous pressure on die engraves and production staff with the result that there were several anomalies. The second coin, a George III 1816 6d, was, as far as can be determined a unique mint product. On this coin the engravers used lozenges -♦- instead of stops -■-, in colon separators. In Michael’s view, there will never be another one like this. 



Neil’s affection for yachting is well known and the development of ‘yachts’ can be followed through their portrayal on medallions. The term originates from the Dutch word jacht "hunt", and was originally a light fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy to pursue pirates. Pepys records that the Dutch pleasure-boat, the yacht Mary, was presented to King Charles upon his departure from Holland. These vessels became important during the wars with France under William III.


Neil illustrated his talk with eight medallions, showing the evolution of yachts. Illustrated were an early C18 French medal showing faster, larger yachts as revenue cutters; an 1842 Regatta medal showing an association with Neptune; a Plymouth Regatta medal; a French medallion showing a cutter shaped boat, but sleeker and bigger; a Pinches piece for the Upper Thames Sailing Club; an Americas Cup medal – and a comment about the snobbishness of yachting clubs a century ago, and a French plaque showing a vessel with taller masts.







Gavin’s talk was about want a strange, countermarked cartwheel penny and what you can learn from it. The countermarks were HARVEY TABAC and 1823, Head of Side, and 1 DRAM. Research showed that The Side was a medieval road in Newcastle upon Tyne and this road had been illustrated in a local paper. John Harvey was a tobacconist and appeared in the trade journals, burial registers and (in the case of his son) in litigation with Player’s over a copyright infringement – Harvey’s Navy Cut and Harvey and Davy’s Nave Cut looked similar to Player’s own brand.


The family business can be traced to 1762 with a tobacco shop run by John Harvey. He died in 1770, and the business carried on under John Harvey (junior). He moved to larger premises in Hanover Square 1783. Continuing into the C19, the business had a serious fire and Court appearances related to assaults as it passed to John Harvey’s godson when John (senior) died at the age of 90. The name continues into the C21 as collectors buy tobacco tins and cigarette cards along with other Newcastle tokens issued by tobacconists, such as John Davison.



The study of a practically worthless medal-et, smaller than a 5p coin, dated 1856, brought history and the C21 Berkshire/ Hampshire border together. Depicted are two figures on the left and a baby. The French medallist has depicted Napoleon III, his wife and son and dated it 14 June 1856. The baby is Prince Imperial, the only child of Emperor Napoleon III  of France and his Empress consort Eugénie de Montijo. After his father was dethroned in 1870, he relocated with his family to England. On his father's death in January 1873, he was proclaimed Napoleon IV. In England he trained as a soldier and served in the Anglo-Zulu War. In 1879, serving with British forces, he was killed in a skirmish with a group of Zulus.


The family lived in Chislehurst and father and son were buried in the churchyard. Eugénie, in the meantime, had become respected and well known in England and bought Farnborough Hill House. She went on to found Farnborough Abbey (St Michael’s), were she, her husband and son were reunited in death. All three rest in granite sarcophagi provided by Queen Victoria. Eugénie also founded a Benedictine monastery in the grounds.  


After five excellent presentations, the Marc Myhill memorial shield was awarded to Mick for his talk about French royalty and Farnborough Hill House.




Answers to Gavin’s Quiz

1.      What is Brass? An alloy of copper and zinc.

2.      What is Bronze? An alloy of copper and tin and sometimes also lead and zinc.

3.      What do Berlin and Paris have in common as a mintmark? The letter A.

4.      Which country uses the Cruzeiro? Brazil.

5.      Which country uses the Kurus? Turkey.

6.      Ceylon used coins worth 1/3840 of a pound, True or False? True.

7.      Where were coins worth 1/52 of a shilling used? Jersey.

8.      What coins or tokens have the reverse legend “in memory of the good old days”? Imitation Spade Guineas of George III.

9.      Which British base metal coin has a face value of 1/960 of a pound? Farthing.

10.  What was the date of the first British silver florin? 1849. (1848 pattern and proof.)

11.  Who designed the obverse of Edward VII coins? G. W. de Saulles.

12.  In whose reign did some coins have VIGO below the bust? Queen Anne.

13.  What is the date of the “Northumberland shilling”? 1763.

14.  No gold Third Guineas were issued after 1813, True or False? True.

15.  What is the scarcest date of the George VI nickel brass Threepence coins? 1949.

16.  When was the British farthing demonetised? 30th December 1960.

17.  Which coin designer’s initials were B.P.? Benedetto Pistrucci.

18.  When did English coins have LIMA below the bust? 1745 - 46.

19.  Copper farthings were issued dated 1860 – True or False? True.

20.  What motto appears on the decimal 2p and what does it mean? Ich Dien - I serve.


Future Events.

Past Events

·         In January 1978 members heard a talk by Graham Kirby entitled “Numismatic Miscellany”.

·         In January 1988 Michael Fulford talked on "A Clergyman’s Collection of Roman Coins”.

·         Since then the January meeting has been given over to short talks from members.

Club Secretary.