Jun 27th 2023.
Next club meeting Monday 4th July 2023.
Subject – The Twentieth Century Pound By Alastair Mackay
· Summer Social – Trip to the Royal Mint
Monday September 4th
· Iron Age Coins from Britain go Digital By Dr Courtney Nimura
Meetings are held at the Abbey Baptist Church, Abbey Square, commencing at 7.00 p.m.
The Summer Social for members and partners this year will be a trip to the Royal Mint. A (small) coach will be available to take us. Tickets for the RM are between £10 and £15 for the conducted tour and the cost of the coach will depend on how many people sign up. Places will be limited and if anyone is interested they should let us know at the next meeting or by letting me know by phone/e-mail. If we are oversubscribed then we will randomly pick out the lucky people who get to go.
Minutes of the AGM
Gavin opened the meeting. Seventeen members attended. Apologies were received from Tony, Michael, Stuart, Ian, Martin and David.
The next item on the agenda was the combined committee report, circulated with the last newsletter. No comments had been received. John outlined as much of the speaker program as is currently known, starting with Alastair Mackay in July talking on ‘The 20th Century Pound’, followed in August by the Summer Social, which we hope is a trip to the Royal Mint. In September we will have Courtney Nimura from the Ashmolean with a talk entitled ‘Iron Age Coins from Britain go Digital’, October has Maurice Bull talking about his life in numismatics and November is still TBA, December will be the Xmas party, with one of Henry’s feasts and one of Gavin’s fiendish quizzes. In the New Year, January will be Short Talks, February will be a talk on Ancients by Joshua Macrow-Wood from Coincraft, March will be the auction, April and May are still TBA but we may have Mick or Neil for one of them, which brings us back to the AGM. As already mentioned in the last newsletter, both Peter and John will be standing down from the committee and it is essential that replacements are found before then to carry the club into the future. Gavin then asked Peter to comment on the finances. He began by saying that we’d made a loss of £177 but that this is easily accommodated by our reserves and so the committee sees no reason to increase the subs and they will stay at £20 for this year. One of the main reasons for the loss is that we have to pay insurance in order to hold meetings now. The good news is that we are insured up to 250 members at a meeting! We are dependent on the auction to bolster our income until we break even at about 45 members. On a question from the floor John replied that most new members (a handful each year) come from the Internet. Peter said we were saving £5 a year because BANS have stopped charging, what this says about the future of the organisation and indeed coin collecting in future is open to interpretation. Thanks were given to Neil for auditing the accounts. Neil informed us that Albert Byde’s collection of 17thC Tokens will be auctioned in early October. Zheng also informed us of the groups at Reading University who would be interested in our club, if only they knew about it. The committee will try to get in touch with them.
There then followed the elections.
The committee was re-elected, proposed by Neil and seconded by Graham. There were no nominations from the floor.
Neil was retained as auditor, proposed by Alastair and seconded by Graham.
Gavin continues as President.
Next the accounts were approved, proposed by Graham and seconded by James.
William Gilbertson had recently had the cup reconditioned and while admiring it, John noticed that fifty years ago (!) the cup had been won by Graham, not only that but he could remember what the talk was about (Methodist Medals). We then had a discussion about possible events for our Sixtieth anniversary next year, including minting a medal.
Graham proposed a formal vote of thanks to the committee and then Gavin closed the AGM.
Annual Display Competition
There were five entries, once again a very good showing.
First up was Graham who had made a quiz out of his contribution ‘For Amusement’. A tray of 20 Roman Republic reverses was on display, with a list of 16 things to find, including an aqueduct, a grasshopper, snakes and many others. One was entitled ‘Its in the title’ and the answer from above, was ‘muse’, which went with coin 15. He went through each entry on the list, showing which coin it appeared on, and included the first Roman Republican coin he ever bought.
As an adjunct he had also bought along a tray of counterfeits, which he didn’t bring last time.
Secondly, we had Gavin with a 1797penny, countermarked on both sides, with the legend ‘William Graham Stirling C‡S’. William Graham Stirling is the name of a slave owner from Perth who owned Airth Castle and lots of property in Mayfair but is not actually the correct William Graham Stirling. The correct one is William Graham who was an ironmonger, a cutler and a Bank agent in Stirling. His family was quite influential in the area in the late 19th Century. The piece probably dates from about 1865.
The unusual thing about this coin is the ‘C‡S’ scheduled cutlers mark of the Lockwood Brothers in Sheffield, who made cutlery for several people in Sheffield, including William Graham. One reason for its existence is that they might have been just testing the punch, prior to using it on other pieces.
Next Zheng had a display of Japanese occupational money from Malaya in the Second World War. He began by talking about counterfeit Japanese notes infiltrated by the SOE, intended to destabilise the economy. Detailed pictures in the display showed how the counterfeit notes could be distinguished from the real thing. Nowadays examples are quite rare, he only has one. At the time the Japanese were printing large amounts of banknotes anyway, leading to hyperinflation. Zheng said that he didn’t have any coins from the period. Although planned for introduction, they were never produced in quantity and there are only two specimen pattern ones in Malaya. After the war no one would accept the Japanese notes, so his grandfather told him they were used for rolling cigarettes or even in the loo. Next we moved on to a lottery ticket, issued by the Japanese military administration to boost the economy. The particular example Zheng had was interesting because it was illustrated with a map of the Malay peninsula, as it was at the time, missing four of the modern day Malay states, because the Japanese had given them to Thailand as a reward for collaborating during the Japanese invasion.
The display was enhanced by some related medals (including the Burma Star) and a folder with other items, including later banknotes and a copy of ‘The Japanese Occupation of Malaya (Singapore) and its Currency’ by Wong Hun Sum.
Will had a display of modern coins, including alphabet 10ps, 50ps, round pounds and two pound coins. He said that he was always trying to find better ways to display his coins and being a fan of modern technology he was able to use a laser cutter to produce the cardboard ‘trays’ with bespoke ‘holes’ for each coin and also use laser engraving for each individual legend/date. The talk was focussed on the coin holders rather than the coins themselves.
One thing that gave him pause for thought was the computer description of the 50p shape (an equilateral curved heptagon), somewhat more difficult than a normal circular shape.
Will showed the display to one of his friends whose grandfather worked at the races and it turned out his father had bags and bags of 50ps, included in which were three Kew Gardens. He has since made other frames for different people. One nice feature of the system is that once you’ve stored the details of a particular frame, if you want another, you can just press the button again!
Future advances will have the frame sandwiched between two sheets of Perspex so that both sides of the coin can be seen at once.
The final talk was from Neil, based around an old map of Plymouth and illustrated with medals, medallions and other items. He began by saying that he doesn’t collect coins, though he used to, concentrating these days on tokens. Plymouth is his home town and is an important sea port and was even more important in the 19th century. It had been just a town but in 1690 William III decided to build a major port there, called ‘Plymouth Dock’ later changed to ‘Devonport’ in 1824 and Neil had examples of medals for both, one bronze and one gilt. They have the Plymouth coat of arms on them, four castles set in a saltire and the St. Andrew’s cross in the middle. He pointed out that almost everything numismatic from Plymouth has the Coat of Arms on it. In fact there were never four castles, just one with four towers. In between Plymouth and Devonport was East Stonehouse, which was where the original road from London ended and you could catch a ferry across the Tamar to West Stonehouse.
Next we had some medallic portrait pieces, with the Duke of Wellington, who was governor of Plymouth in 1819, on the obverse and - in very small writing – the story of his life on the reverse. Another interesting piece was a gold coloured medal issued to the Mayor in 1803 after the City had successfully regained its charter, which had been lost in about 1500. This restored various privileges and rights to the town. The charter had been removed because of Plymouth’s reputation as being difficult when dealing with the ‘Powers that Be’ in London.
Neil also had some medallions from the Plymouth Education Authority which were issued by National Schools from the 1890s onwards to various pupils for their attainments. They were issued in differing metals and sizes with the grandest being 51mm in solid silver for any pupil who managed perfect attendance for five years. The medallions have the Coat of Arms with a Latin motto ‘Turris fortissimo est nomen Jehovah’ or ‘The name of the Lord is the strongest tower’ (Proverbs 18:10).
Congratulations go to Zheng who won the on his first attempt! A well deserved and popular win.
· Midland Coin Fair – National Motorcycle Museum 9th July