February 28th 2022. 

Next club meeting Monday 7th March 2022.

·        Subject - Club Auction - for members only

Monday 4th April 2020

·         A London Bestiary By  Gerry Buddle

Monday 9th May 2020.

·         TBC By  David Guest


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



·         The March meeting will be the club auction. Nobody will be allowed to look any lots until all the lots have been put out. Please keep well away from the lots until an official notice is made, saying that viewing can begin. As usual, there will be no dealing at this meeting.

·          The time for viewing lots is BEFORE the auction starts, not during the auction. 


February Meeting

This was the delayed Short Talks meeting from January.

We had a total attendance of 22, with apologies from John, Peter, Tony and Stuart.


Talk 1 – James – What do I collect?


James began by explaining the reason behind the subject of his talk – he had been asked the question by a new member a few months prior, and realised that it was by no means a simple or straightforward answer!


James gave a quick background of how he came to collect coins – he was given a 1997 BUnc set by a family member, and another commented that “It might be worth a few bob in a couple of years”! This got James thinking, and low and behold set were changing hands on eBay rather regularly. This lead to the first ‘collection’ of BUnc and Proof sets from 1982 and 1970 respectively to date - at that point, around 2003.


With no where left to go, this ‘collection’ got dispersed to fund a focus on English Milled Silver – a collection that now spans a date-run (with the expected gaps) of all denominations back to the mid-1800s, and examples of every monarch going as far back as the 1400s, with the sole exception of Phillip and Mary. Gap filling and upgrading became somewhat beyond James’ funds, and so a new theme was sort.


This was global coins representing Elizabeth II – broadly, coins of the Commonwealth nations and British Dependencies/British Overseas Territories. Starting with the easy ones… South Africa, Australia, New Zealand as well as the islands of Isle of Man, Jersey etc, this quick became a rather larger field than anticipated. With the help of the esteemed Gavin Scott, James is fairly certain he now has at least one example from each nation/territory from Canada in the north to the British Antarctic Territories in the south!


Having ‘finished’ this collection, the natural progression was world coins. Helped enormously by several large tins of coins given to him by his well-travelled grandad, a large chuck of the country list from all corners of the world was quickly ticked off – leaving some trickier ones to be found – Keeling Cocos Islands was mentioned as a particular white whale, probably needing a small lottery win to be viable!


Having been exposed to a collection of error strikes and trial pieces during his time at DNW, these became a fairly constant side-line collection for James – this now includes examples of flan flaws and clips, brockages, and (his favourite) a one penny flan struck with twenty pence dies! Sadly, the market for these has exploded in the last few years, with even the slightest clipped flan fetching £30-40 – and anything ‘nice’ (brockages, wrong flans etc), easily over £100.


Tokens, medallions and numismatic miscellanea do not really form part of James’ collection – unless the have an attractive obverse/reverse, or show an interesting/amusing subject, or are generally nice to look at… examples include an advertising check for Laphroaig whiskey, and some (fantasy?) brothel tokens from the American mid-west!


Banknotes are certainly not something that is part of the collection… except a set of the 2008 Zimbabwe hyper-inflation notes… a set of early-issue DHF Somerset notes… a selection of notes left over from various holidays… and some attractive 1940s Hungarian notes that were recently gifted by a colleague. Not a collection though.


And stamps – James adamantly stated that he does not collect stamps… there might be one or two foreign or themed ones that get separated from their envelope before that gets recycles, but certainly not enough to be called a collection… oops!






Stuart – A trip to Guildford Mint


Stuart based his talk some photos that he had taken on a recent trip to Guildford where he had visited the site of the Mint that was operational from 978 for about 100 years. He began showing an OS map of the location on the Mint – in Eashing. Locally there is a beautiful mediaeval bridge which is thought to date back to the early 1200s – the cutwaters of which are rounded rather than pointed which prevents eddying of the water, and reduces the wear on the piers.


The next set of pictures showed part of the original dyke that formed the boundary of Guildford – this part is actually in someone’s back garden, however the footpath alongside is open!


Stuart then talked about the locations of the Saxon mints using an extract for the Spink catalogue – there are thought to have been about 90 local mints between 973 and 1066! Some coins shown included a penny of Edward the Martyr (975-978).


We continued with a selection of views of Guildford Castle, which included some lovely herring-bone brickwork on one wall, and plaques giving the history of the Keep and Palace. There is also a plaque showing “an impression of Guildford Castle in C13th viewed from above the “Great Gate” Built in 1256” – this view including an image of Prince Edward being presented with a newly minted gold penny! One such example has recently been unearthed in Devon, and sold for £540,000 when it went under the hammer at Spinks in January!


Neil – Smeaton’s Lighthouses


Neil began his talk by showing an extract from Davis’ Nineteenth Century Coinage giving details of a copper ‘twopence’ coin with a lighthouse on both obverse and reverse – the Eddystone Lighthouse in Plymouth, and the Spurn Point Lighthouse in Hull. Interestingly, a silver proof version sold at Dix Noonan Webb in December 2020 for £800 (plus commission and taxes).


Until the 1836, lighthouses were private enterprises built by investors with a view to collecting a cut of the docking fees. With the Eddystone reef sitting in the middle of the shipping channels into and out of Plymouth as well as along the south coast, a warning was badly needed so in 1696 construction of the first Eddystone Lighthouse was started by Henry Winstanley, and was lit on 14th November 1698. This lasted until 27th November 1703 when a Great Storm erased the lighthouse almost entirely, killing Winstanley who was on the lighthouse making repairs.


Construction of a replacement was completed in 1709 by John Rudyerd. This structure lasted almost 50 years before the combination of wooden structure and lit candles met their obvious conclusion – the lantern caught fire, and the tower burnt down on 2nd December 1755.


The third iteration of the lighthouse was designed and built by John Smeaton, starting on August 1756 and first lit on 16th October 1759. The design was significantly improved on the earlier structures – it was built of stone rather than wood, and the walls were flared rather than straight, modelled on the shape of an oak tree! Given the ongoing war with France at the time, workers were issued with a uniface pass in cast silver – this was to ensure that they did not get press-ganged by the Royal Navy!


We were then taken through some plates from Smeaton’s book which show both the Eddystone lighthouse, and the Spurn Point lighthouse from the original coin, and the design details of the capstan and blocks. Smeaton’s lighthouses also appear on some private tokens issued by William Upcott struck in 1801.


Once the 1870’s arrived, the House rock (that which the lighthouse was built upon) had become undermined by the sea, and the lighthouse developed a significant shake when struck by larger waves. As such by 1878, the footings for a new lighthouse on a purpose-built base were being prepared and this lighthouse (designed by James Douglass) was lit on 18th May 1882 and is still in use today having been automated in 1982!


Smeaton’s lighthouse was decommissioned, dismantled and shipped to Plymouth Hoe where is was re-built and still stands today as an icon of Plymouth – and appears on almost every tourist advert for the city, as well as two medals for the 1891 Royal Naval Exhibition and the 1904 Plymouth Exhibition.



This concluded the short talks for the evening, and after a vote by the members in attendance, James was declared the winner of the Marc Myhill memorial shield for this year!


Future Events.

Past Events

·         20 years ago – Quiz organized by Alistair Mckay

·         50 years ago – “Shopping in the 1660s” – George Berry


Club Secretary.