November 26th 2021.
Next club meeting Monday 6th December 2021.
The activities will be as follows:
1. The main feature will be a mini coin fair for members to bring along items for sale.
2. A coin quiz
3. Members to bring along one or two items that for some reason are considered special (e.g. recent acquisition, a long sought after piece, an unusual find, an oddity etc.).
A brief written explanation as to why the piece is special to you.
4. Christmas buffet!
Meetings are held at the Abbey Baptist Church, Abbey Square, commencing at 7.00 p.m.
· Sadly we have heard of the death of two previous members of the club. Tim Hayward, for some time a committee member and Jean Myhill, wife of the late Marcus Myhill, one of the club’s founder members. Our commiserations go to their families.
· Please continue thinking about Short Talks for January, and Auction lots for March
Our November talk was by our own Graham and was entitled ‘Deal or no Deal? Experiences of coin dealing.’. Apologies were received from Neil.
At age 8 ½ I began collecting coins - letting it be known to family and friends. Several aunts made regular trips to Africa and the benefit was their surviving holiday change.
Becoming a Bank cashier and working unsupervised in sub-offices unearthed quantities of silver and scarcer dates. (approx. 1968).
On Saturday morning I would descend on Mr Rose at Thames Valley Coins, Reading, to sell that week’s bounty, and armed with ever-increasing new capital from the proceeds, began again the hunt the following week.
One definition of the word ‘deal’ is ‘to do business with.’
In the course of ‘doing business with’ Mr Rose he willingly shared information about our hobby and that has been true for the vast majority of the people I’ve met through the hobby since.
1972 Joined our illustrious club where I met, amongst others, the late Frank Milward. So began a long working relationship and from whom I learnt the value of foreign coins which henceforth he bought from me. I also introduced him to Bank customers wishing to part with their collections and we had some great joint meetings with them at their homes. There was a wonderful brooch containing 2 roman gold coins, and a lovely collection of German Thalers. (Mrs Orr.)
From that point many friendships with club members have developed and courtesy of Midland Bank Ltd I was formerly trained in the practice of ‘net-working.’ I enjoyed meeting people.
BUYING & ACQUIRING
A lack of capital (spent most of my money on coins for my collection). To overcome this I did deals to sell coins for a 10% commission with payment only after they were sold. I was younger then and in pre-covid days I did not have to consider how my executors would sort that out!
Children – I only buy from them where there is a guardian present. But if selling to them to give a generous discount, or extra choices in the junk boxes, or giving away literature or album pages. Local to me some adults I would call ‘vulnerable’ occasionally bring me items and in those circumstances, I do not charge any commission.
I don’t have customers to the house, unless I have known them for a long time, for reasons of security. I go to their homes or meet at my church (where our Antique & Collectors Market is held). It also helps to verify the seller’s rightful ownership if you meet at their place. And I might spot something else of interest!
‘LEARN ALL ABOUT IT!
‘Publicity – tricky if like me you don’t publicise your address or don’t want to use the internet; as a trained and experienced public speaker, and being retired, I lectured on Numismatics to any group who would have me, TG, WI, Probus, church Group and that did the trick, later, helped by having posh business cards with a picture of the Sun God riding a chariot from a photographic medallion (purchased from a friend in the next street to my home). The cards still receive comment. ‘Word of mouth,’ now brings the most referrals. I had a call from a lady who sold coins to me many years ago. In conversation with a relative, who lived up north, recently he said, ‘I have coins to sell but don’t know whom to approach.’ ‘I know a man’, was the response. During lockdown I wrote a series of coin articles for our village on-line magazine.
“Come & Buy”. I did some selling at car boots with coins, bric-a-brac, books, clothes and the rest, but getting up early on a Saturday morning and standing in the cold was not my forte! Which is probably why I did not take up metal detecting.
“Open for Business.” As church fund-raisers my wife & I started an Antique & Collectors Market which has proved to be increasingly popular, particularly as I seek to cater for all tastes and pockets on my table, Ancient, to modern, tokens medallions, junk boxes etc. as here. I have built up a strong list of contacts and the sales are increasingly becoming a great social event. Several of our church customers have now visited the Midland Coin Fair too.
Taking a trading table at the Midland Coin Fair on their larger quarterly Fairs has seen a significant up-lift to turnover and enabled me to build up a regular and increasing clientele. I am probably the only stallholder not doing it for income but as an enthusiast! I don’t make any money - I had better explain.
The bank, now known as HSBC, pays my pension & having qualified to receive the state old age pension for eight years I don’t need cash for myself and I certainly wouldn’t give any to my wife. But I do invest modest surpluses into coins for my collection and my library! It all goes into Numismatics. On my coin account ledger expenses, I include table and membership fees but exclude petrol.
Be Collaborative: There are always others who have greater expertise than yourself. Acting collaboratively has been important to me and highly valued. For example, John -Banknotes. Michael 1863 bun penny, amongst others. The late David Pottinger - tokens. Selling Scottish Banknotes to Pam West who wrote the Scottish catalogue. All very willing to freely share their knowledge.
The other Month a dealer selling Banknotes at Birmingham asked my advice as he wanted to branch out into English coins. I said the first book he needs to buy is the Standard Guide to Grading British Coins by Derek Allen. The next month having bought the book he thanked me saying it was just what he needed to support his new venture.
Don’t forget to deal with the least of the items in any collection handled. Junk boxes are always popular. Otherwise, when you are supposed to retire you will have to cope with vast quantities of ‘left-overs’ – isn’t that so Michael?
We often don’t know the background or what’s going on in the lives of the people we meet. I believe it is important to show them respect even if they are gruff, demanding or humourless towards you. There are some perhaps from eastern Europe who are not the most popular as they offer to pay less than one would often like for foreign coins in particular, but they know their market. I make it a point to shake hands (pre Covid) and thank them for their business. It has paid off in hundreds of pounds of business.
Challenge: There is a flip side and that is to challenge any obvious suspicious behaviour. I reported someone taking photographs at a fair only a couple of months ago and I don’t allow photography at the market I run. Why? because images of stallholders can be forwarded to accomplices on the outside for them to attempt a robbery.
RISKS & TIPS.
‘Give it the Boot’
Car Boots may be more attractive to be in the open air in Covid times. I recommend you don’t unpack your car until at least one car has parked behind you and begun unloading.
Then you can set-up in peace. Unload your coins and keep the most valuable items to last; consider keeping the most expensive ones in the car, and the car locked.
Setting it all out - Displaying the stock.
Most popular is a Glazed case (Plastic not glass for safety) is a good way to control stock, or individually laid out Lidner trays… which is where I began,
but they have somewhat multiplied since!
“Putting on Weight”
A few high-value items are easy to handle, display, and transport. Bulky cases like mine are heavy and time consuming to load, set up, pack up, and load back into the car.
Others have taken a wiser course here this evening. Access to some coin fairs and clubs involve steps or lifts. How much easier to be able to walk in with a modest sized case!
‘I wouldn’t start from here.’
If I was starting up again, I would not include both of my personal names on my E. Mail address… to deter identity thieves.
“He’s behind you!”
I live near to the Bank branch I managed and Bank training taught me to vary my route and always know what car was behind me.
At least one coin dealer at Birmingham was followed home but backed his car right up to the garage upon arrival to prevent the boot from being opened by a thief.
‘Insure or not to insure’:
There have been cases, I believe, of criminal insiders.
‘FIRST THINGS FIRST’:
On acquiring a parcel of coins, the FIRST THING I do is to list them on a spread sheet with the date name and contact details of the seller.
Only when each item is listed do I move on to the next parcel of coins. One collection at a time. I record prices paid and prices realized.
It is easy to go back in a year or two’s time to check the gaps and pick out any unsold items and look at them again.
I also have my own small collection on a separate spread sheet. INFORMATION IS KEY.
“i i”- Another pair of eyes.
If possible, take someone with you – useful both for security and when you want to go to the loo.
I was asked to cover a stall for a dealer for the latter purpose at the last Midland coin Fair I attended.
“Time for a Scrap”:
I’ve just come back from a day-trip to Poole to be rid of scrap gold and silver and cupro-nickel to Terry at Dorset Coins.
It’s useful also to be able to sell the accumulations of copper and foreign coins by Kiloware weight, or low grade 1/4d, brass 3d, 6d, 2/6d by number,
on a regular basis by building up other connections.
For me it is important not to try to include overstained or damaged items. If in doubt ‘leave it out.’ Reputation and reliability are important.
Remember too, £5 pieces and the early £2 single metal items are not acceptable at Banks or Building Societies, (only the bi-metallic), so beware what you pay for them.
‘Review, review, review.’
From time to time I do review my stock – if an item has been in the trays for a long time to understand why. Has the market changed? Did I over-grade?
Has the price gone down since acquisition? Has it no eye appeal? Does the label look awful?
Sometimes it’s as simple of removing a bit of fluff or dirt that had fallen on a coin that looked like damage.
Sometimes there is no obvious explanation so I tend to reduce the price of old stock anyway.
As a retired Banker I know that Turnover is the key. New stock is worth the price placed upon it.
Moving things on in due course, negotiating a lesser price, where warranted rather than tying up capital by sticking to a higher price indefinitely.
Buyers don’t want to see the same old things in the trays.
TO STOCK OR NOT TO STOCK. THAT IS THE QUESTION.
Books are a limited market and they are heavy to carry around, but the right ones can be popular. Having seen the stock of Douglas Saville at his Caversham site, I chose to sell to him rather than attempt to compete.
Medallions – again, a limited market and they do tend to ‘stick’.
Proof Coins easily damaged, more difficult to display, dealers always seem to put their fingers onto the surfaces!
Decimal coins yes, but is there a danger that the market will move on? … More recent traders at Birmingham have a table full of uncirculated 50p, alphabet 10ps, modern sets, and the like. Other dealers will go and fill up gaps in their stocks but most sales will depend on the visits of families to the fair. The other month only one came! A single table costs £80. Last month, I visited a book dealer known to be specializing in books on ‘Church bells,’ only to discover that he now doesn’t… all his former customers for that subject had died...
Some things I Don’t sell to the general public: Forgeries or copies.
Not ex-mounts or plugged coins unless specified in red on the label, pierced coins if common dates. Barry Allen bought my last modern copies at the Oxford Numismatic Society meeting.
Collect or deal
When my stock levels are low, I do release from what I call ‘my lecture collection’, especially Roman and hammered once the prices had risen so much. I did once buy a Gothic crown in EF for £250 but sold it a couple of years later to Frank Milward for the same price, to enable me to buy more Methodist medallions. It’s good to have the option.
Memorable Coins bought and sold
A tin box of largely foreign coins from the collection of a sea captain containing 18th/19th century coins. Literally a ‘treasure chest’. A countermarked Bank of England Dollar.
An 1863 mintmark ‘5’ bun-penny.
Two 1927 proof 2/-
A 1934 Wreath Crown.
1943 and 1944 silver 3d. but still on the lookout for the 1945.
Some superb Foreign & English Medallions and Picturesque Banknotes.
At an early stage - a very pleasant visit to Neddy Allen at her ground floor Dorset Square apartment in Central London enabled me to select Methodist Medals from her cabinets in Regency surroundings.
By inspecting my collection in later years, I was handling memories encapsulated in object after object.
There is always the fun of searching through large quantities of coin, you never know what the next piece will be. Collecting or dealing, you do need to be able to enjoy your time. I was approached by Radstock Museum, before a major Methodist Gathering nearby, to provide them with a display of Methodist medals for their permanent collection. I spoke at the very first Medallion Congress on Methodist Medallions, at the Hilton, Warwick one of 9 speakers, and during the evening bourse I sold an Apollo/Soyuz Medallion into the collection of the British Museum. They have since bought a couple more pieces. It is always good to place specialist items.
Mistakes, there have been a few.
Forgetting to deduct 10% when buying the second half of a gentleman’s collection. Then using the Spink Catalogue instead of Coin Yearbook for common dated coins and so paying ‘over-the-odds’.
When dealing with Bill W’s collection I sold two Roman coins to a friend – about the only Roman coins I knew what they were and did not look too closely. They were subsequently returned as forgeries and I refunded. Bill left no paperwork. Not only did I refund but sold other coins to the same buyer at 50% discount to make amends. Having sold her late husband’s collection to me, a lady, still obviously grieving, and having received an agreed a price, subsequently came back for more money. To preserve my integrity, I paid her up to the full resale value. Sometime later she came back again for more, when I paid her a further, and I emphasised, a final contribution, and so made a modest loss. For me reputation has to be protected at all costs, when possible. No point in fighting a battle you can never win.
I Once bought a couple of forged coins – very good copies, but I should have been suspicious of the person I was buying from. A strange man from the dirty-mac brigade who might not look of place in London’s Soho district.
Also given a coin to the wrong purchaser in Birmingham by mistake. Fortunately, I was able to track him down and he was very obliging in checking the bag of coins I had handed over and returning the extra item.
“GOTTA HAVE ONE OF THOSE”
PRACTICAL THINGS I REALLY NEEDED.
Good loop/magnifying glass, a supply of pens and note books.
Reference works that I gradually built up over the years. Spink Catalogue, Coin Year Book, Kraus 1601-date for foreign coin, BHM – British Historical Medals, English Silver Coinage (Maurice Bull), Roman Coins & their values, Byzantine, Greek etc. When buying items from a new series I do enjoy the research, so the relevant books are essential. If I need to refer to a catalogue whilst at a customer’s home it is important that the year on the front, that they see, is the latest! A good LED light and quality extension lead are necessary at any venue that is not flood-lit. A bum bag of change is essential, and plenty of £5 notes (remembering to keep a supply as you can’t get them from a cash machine, or a bank branch not offering a counter service). I keep a permanent supply of £40 in £1 coins, £10 in 50p’s, and a £10 mixed- bag of a smaller denominations permanently in my coin case and it’s topped up after each sale.
I do attend the Midland Coin Fair, Birmingham for the 8 months when I don’t have a stall in order to maintain friendships, keep pace with what the market is doing, buy for my own collection, and to handle coins from all series over time.
That way I get to know what the genuine feels and looks like and to easily recognise the overcleaned.
You get to know those who price on the high side but then offer significant discounts and those who don’t. Also, those whose grading is at odds with yours.
Be willing to learn and to change:
I have to confess that I was particularly overwhelmed here last month and made mistakes: when I have two tables I should treat them as separate. So, when buying from the junk boxes I should have arranged for my wife to be paid at the time of purchase so the buyers could take their coins away with them. Entirely my mistake! It would have saved me several interruptions and cut out the piles of items awaiting collection on my table. I am easily confused.
Can I now communicate a request or three?
Please bear with me as first thing in an evening I will need to fully set up and adjust the order of the trays before you are allowed to start looking.
On my table, please pay for purchases before you leave the table and take them with you. So, you may be paying 2 or 3 times during an evening. It will assist me in not mixing up the coins.
DO HAVE THE CONFIDENCE TO HAVE A GO:
We all have different experiences and strengths to bring to any task. We all have personal gifts and knowledge to offer. As we are in Cop 26 remember all collecting and dealing is a form of recycling.
Go with what you know, ask others you trust about things you are unsure of. And what better place to start than with part of a table at the Reading Coin Club… as I did. Thank you for your attention and for all your support over the years.
10 years ago Tim Everson gave a talk on the subject of the Numismatic History of Cyprus
50 Years ago – Member’s evening