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Bristol , United Kingdom
My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, will be published early in 2022 by Indigo Dreams. I am co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy. https://theleapingword.com

Saturday, 19 January 2019

A Lesson in Numismatics

The most diverting gifts aren't always presented in wrapping paper. I arrived in work on the first Monday after the holiday to find an old cigarette tin on my desk ... 


... and the instruction that the contents could be kept if of interest, or given to anyone else who wants them, or otherwise taken to a charity shop.


My colleague knows me well. The contents are very interesting indeed. 


At home I dug out my magnifying glass and spent the evening squinting and googling. It was a couple of days before I had the chance to examine them in daylight.  
There were a handful of coins that are still in circulation - US nickels, dimes and quarters and some Scandinavian coins - but most are now fairly low grade collector's items or interesting bits of history. 


Or just beautiful things to behold, like these coins from Eire ... 


... and Greece. 


Oh, and this lovely 5 centimes piece from 1916.


I think this is a French coin too, but it's way too worn - and I am way too ignorant - to be certain. 


I remember Schillinge from when my cousins went on holiday to Austria in 1970. How much more appealing these later coins are than their 1940s counterparts. 


Likewise these Belgian coins.


This subcollection takes us on a journey through 19th and 20th century German history, from pre-unification to the similarly cheap and ugly coinage of Third Reich.

The swastikas made me shiver a bit.


There are some older, more interesting American coins also. Flying Eagle pennies and a worn silver three cent piece from 1852.
As for our own coins, I was nine on 15th February 1971, aka Decimal Day, and can't feel that nostalgic about obsolete decimal halfpennies and five pence pieces.


But show me some £sd and I'm right back there. 


The older the better.
Though not this far back ... look, a Charles II halfpenny from (I think) 1675.

In this year construction commenced on both the current St Paul's Cathedral and the Royal Observatory. John Ogilby published his Britannia Atlas. Four
 ships left Bristol to trade in slaves. 

And then what? Where has it been for the last 344 years, to end up in an old Wills cigarette tin on a desk in a school in Bristol? 

















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