January 26th 2024.    

Next club meeting Monday 4th February 2024.

·       The Bourton-on-the-Water Hoard from the ‘Money Ground’ By Joshua Macrow-Wood (Coincraft)

Monday 5th March 2024

·        Club Auction - for members only

Monday 8th April 2024

·         TBC By  Tim Everson

 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 250 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

January’s meeting was ‘Short Talks by Members’, there were two talks. Apologies were received from Tony, Gavin and Neil (who was also due to give a talk).

Ian has supplied us with a copy of Spinks ‘Coins of the UK’ for 2024, it will be kept in the library.


The first talk was by Will who had been to Madeira and tried to get a collection of coins for Portugal. It occurred to him that an interesting question for collectors would be ‘What do we mean by a ‘complete’ set?’. Could it be complete for the country, the province? For example Portugal has lots of provinces/colonies and the British Empire or even Commonwealth would be a tall order. Perhaps we could use coin series, just a single denomination from within a series, just a date, by political events – some countries change ‘ownership’ from time to time – it seems the possibilities are endless. A look at the Numista website gives some idea of the scale of the problem.

In his collection for Portugal, Will tried to get a set for each political era. Firstly, was a set from the first Republic, 1910-1926 but including a single coin from the pre-Republic era. A very nice set including some silver coins. Moving on we had the National Dictatorship, illustrated with two coins from 1926-1933 and then coins from the Third republic, 1933-1974. It took him sometime to convince the owner of a shop that sold coins that he was serious before he was able to see pieces that fit his requirements. Amongst the coins the change from silver in the first Republic to base metal in the Second is quite striking. Will thought the Roman numerals for the values were a nice feature on the earlier coins and in fact it turns out that such numerals had been in use for centuries beforehand, though they were eventually phased out. Will also pointed out that ONLY two coins were ever issued during the National Dictatorship. He completed this set with the coins from the Third republic, 1975-2001 and a set of Portuguese Euro coins from 2001.



In addition to these ‘official’ coins Will had a selection of commemoratives from the Third Republic, which can be acquired quite cheaply. Having realised he had a serious collector, the shopkeeper was anxious to show Will some of the better earlier silver coins, though at hundreds of euros a go, Will passed on them. Also of interest was a two centavos coin from 1918, normally an easy to find coin except that this one was made in iron. A good example would set you back hundreds of euros for this rare type.

As Will explained, he tries to collect a set of all the different types for each country, which means that for a recently formed country such as Zimbabwe you can actually get a ‘complete’ set of all the coin types issued. Will had brought along just such a ‘complete’ set but then pointed out that before it was Zimbabwe, it was Rhodesia, Rhodesia and Nyasaland and Southern Rhodesia, so he had brought along their coins as well. From the point of view of completing his collection, he considers these as separate from the Zimbabwe coins, even though they cover the same territorial area. He had found it difficult to find the Zimbabwe coins because the rampant inflation in the country had made them worthless and no one wanted them anymore, including the ‘bond’ dollar coins which were linked to the US dollar.






Next Will turned to a subject of more personal interest, the coins from Czechoslovakia. There have been several political upheavals in the area and these are reflected in the coinage. The first set of coins illustrated was from the formation of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, after the first World War. During World War Two we had coins from Bohemia and Moravia, very briefly Czechoslovakia, then the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and finally Czechia (formerly Czech Republic). It was coins from the Socialist Republic period that came over with Will’s dad in a piggybank when he came to England in the late 60s. Following the separation of Czechoslovakia Will got a set of coins for Slovakia and also had some of the modern Euro coins now being used. Even with this range, it turns out there are more commemoratives, many very Soviet like, and some highly expensive rarities like the 1932 10 Ducats that sold for £14,000 recently, so Will doesn’t quite have the complete set yet, and concedes that he probably never will, but the hunt is the fun part.



Our second talk was from Peter, entitled Gold Coins of the Roman Empire between 50BC and 500AD. This period could be roughly split into two: Roman Republican/ Imperatorial and Roman Imperial until Constantine the Great (the Aureus), and Roman Imperial after Constantine’s reforms in 312AD (the Solidus).

Catalogue Image

Right (top): Titus, as Caesar, Gold Aureus. Rome, 78-79AD. T CAESAR VESPASIANVS / CERES AVGVST, Ceres standing, holding corn ears and sceptre. 7.28grams

(bottom): Zeno Gold Solidus, Constantinople, 476-491AD DN ZENO PERP AVG/ VICTORIA AVGGGB, Victory standing holding long jewelled cross, CONOB in exergue, 4.40 grams 476-491AD



Although the aureus was not integrated into the currency until about 10BC, probably the most famous (or infamous) coin was the EID MAR reverse of Brutus. Three copies are known, dating from 42BC: one was sold in New York recently for just over £3million. Sadly, there has been a question raised over the provenance of the coin and it has been returned to its find location in Greece. The coin was almost certainly made as a propaganda piece. It has ‘EID MAR’ which commemorates the assassination of Gaius Julius Caesar, the two knives showing he was stabbed, and the ‘freedom cap’ being a symbol of freedom - putting out the message that Brutus (and Cassius) were freeing Rome from a potential dictatorship.


The weight (more than 7 grams), and tariff at 25 silver denarii was held for almost 200 years, but the adulteration of the silver led to reduced and variable weight until at the beginning of the 4th Century, Constatine (the Great) introduced silver and gold reforms. The new coin, the solidus, maintained its weight and purity well into Byzantine times (post 500AD) and the weight standard persisted in Islamic Dinars almost a millennium later. Solidi are relatively common. Enormous sums in currency were paid to otherwise hostile tribes in the 5th Century and after.


Subdivisions of the aureus, the gold ‘quinarius’ are rare, but subdivisions of the Solidi are common, especially the tremissis. This 1/3 solidus (1.5 grams) had a long life in the western empire and appears in hoards. Interestingly, this may reflect the relative wealth of the western empire, but more interestingly, the portraiture is invariably side facing, the full frontal never really caught on in the west. Rarer is the semissis (1/2 solidus, at 2.25 grams).


A tremissis of Theodosius II AD402-450





Note Victory holds the globus cruciger, also known as sphaira or "the orb and cross". It has been a Christian symbol of authority since the Roman times, used on coins, in iconography, and with a sceptre as royal regalia.


Since we only had two entries this year it was decided that the Marc Myhill Memorial shield would be jointly awarded to both Will and Peter.

Future Events.

  • London Coin Fair, Holiday Inn – 3rd February
  • Midland Coin Fair - National Motorcycle museum – 11th February

Past Events

·         10 years ago – Short Talks by members.

Club Secretary.



Answers to Gavin’s Christmas Quiz





Young head farthings were issued in 1895 – true or false?



Before 1707 what was 1/- Scots equivalent to in English money?

1 penny


Who was the first king to issue a gold half-crown?

Henry VIII


“Not worth a damn” is derived from which coin?

Dam – small Indian copper


Which West Indian country other than French colonies has issued Francs?

Dominican Republic (1891)

Danish West Indies (1904).


Eagle” is the nickname of what coin?

US gold 10 dollars.


How could an Elizabethan petty criminal change ¾ d into 1 d?

By erasing the rose behind Queen’s bust


Who was the first English king to be portrayed wearing a laurel wreath?

James I (gold unite/laurel).


When was the name of a denomination first shown on an English regal coin?       

Farthing (1799).


“Owls” and “Turtles” are nicknames for coins of what series?

Ancient Greek.


What does the mint mark O represent on US coins?

New Orleans mint


What was the first dated English coin?                                                                           

Edward VI shilling of 1548.


Who designed the reverse of the British 1935 crown?

Percy Metcalfe


Which large Commonwealth country has issued crowns but no halfcrowns?



What coinage was nicknamed Breeches Money?

Coins of the English Commonwealth featuring two shields.


In 1942-3 Canada issued 5 cent pieces made of tombac.  What is tombac?

Alloy of copper (88%) and zinc (12%)


In which British territory were French coins current until 1830?

Channel Islands


Who struck the tokens for 5 and 2 sols issued in France by the Monneron brothers in 1791-2?

Matthew Boulton at the Soho Mint


What is the significance of the two pillars on Spanish Pieces of Eight?

Entrance to the Mediterranean – the Pillars of Hercules.


When did New Zealand start to issue its own pennies and halfpence?