I have just taken delivery of my copy of the new book (well, 2 volumes) by Spink – Coins of England and the United Kingdom 2017. I have been anticipating this eagerly over the last month or 2 as it seems to have been released later than the last few years’ versions. I will add my review of this to my numismatic book reviews page in due course.
I’ve ordered my set of 2017 coins from the Royal Mint, I will definitely be trying to collect from circulation too as I think that the history behind circulating coins is valuable too. It is to me at least and that really has to be the focus of the amateur numismatist as I see it as an informative and fascinating hobby – most certainly not as an investment.
That said, its nice to have an uncirculated set too as the beauty of some coins can be quickly eroded particularly now that the lower denominations are struck in steel and plated in nickel. This seems to rub off very quickly and leaves a rather unattractive coin in my opinion. If you are buying a set, make sure you order the one you want carefully as there are so many options to choose from each year now! The complete set costs £55 or about a pound a week over 2017 which is worth it to me!
The Isaac Newton 50p coin looks to me as if it will show wear on its delicate design very quickly. My first impression of the King Canute crown-sized £5 coin is that it will be quite striking (excuse the holiday pun) and of course is not going to be found in circulation. It’s the turn of the airforce to be commemorated in the £2 coin this year having had the army and navy in preceding years. Of course, the biggest revolution in our coin design since at least 1998 when the bimetallic £2 coin was released, is the introduction of the new 12 sided £1 coin which has been introduced to outfox the counterfeiters of the current pound coins who have become increasingly sophisticated over the last decade or so. Don’t forget though that the £2 coin itself is changing its standard reverse design too – the familiar design I posted about recently is no more and has been replaced with the new Britannia design which I must say I prefer and I agree it is about time that Britannia was re-installed on our coins after the Matthew Dent design pushed it off the 50p reverse the best part of a decade ago now.
I have seen some astronomical figures for the kew gardens 50p coins recently on ebay. As I’m sure you know, this coin has captured the imagination of the public at large and by the prices being asked for (and in some cases received) many other circulating coins of dubious scarcity. I am in two minds about this as I do think it reflects the impression I have gained in day to day life that many hitherto numismatic novices have developed an increased awareness of the hobby but on the other hand I am concerned that some younger enthusiastic newcomers to the hobby will have their fingers figuratively burned by ‘investing’ in some of these supposedly rare and hugely over priced coins. I hope these beginners will perhaps focus on a cheaper and less glamorous collection to start their hobby career such as something simple like a date range of pennies or perhaps even just the dates of cupronickel and plated 5p and 10p coins currently circulating before the royal mint withdraws all the cupronickel 1990s types. My philosophy on coin collecting is that it should be for pleasure, fun, pride and interest. I don’t think it is an investment for most amateurs!
Here’s an idea for the budding numismatist! Every coin collector must start somewhere and I firmly believe that plucking coins from everyday circulation is the cheapest way to get started. What could be less expensive than picking out the current year’s coins from your wallet and your change? If you decide coin collecting is boring after all (more fool you!) then you can just start using them as you would have anyway.
The obvious choice for the UK coin collecting novice these days are the 2011 olympic 50p coins but how about picking these attractive shiny new coins that have probably only seen 1 or 2 hands in their near virgin life? They are definitely more attractive than your run of the mill ’92 issues and if properly stored should keep their shine for years. A 2013 collection of all circulating denominations will cost you the grand total of £3.88 – how about that for a cheap hobby? I bet you will be hooked and branching out to other ranges before you know it!
After my moans earlier in the week, I have managed to find a few more 2013 coins in change today. All bar one of them so far have been 10p coins though. This is probably because the 5 and 10p coins are being replaced with nickel plated steel from this year (like the ‘coppers’ were a few years ago). I would venture to suggest that some almost uncirculated 2012 coins in 5pand 10p denominations might be worth the amateur coin collector slipping away for posterity – they aren’t going to be worth a fortune but they are the last of their kind and it’s always nice to keep good examples of such coins.
I have to say that I am starting to wonder where all the 2013 coins have got to! I am frustrated and embarrassed in equal measures that I have only found ONE 10p coin from the new years issue!
I must admit that in recent weeks, I have been very busy outside of my numismatic world and my change checking habits have been left wanting but I don’t understand why there are so few around this year. Does anyone know? I have not seen any of the attractive London Underground £2 coins or the stylish pound coins released in January up here yet. Has anyone found more luck down south or, has the number of coins released just been woeful this year?
Everything out there tell the new coin collector what to collect, how to store it, where to find information on coins and how to look at them.
What everyone forgets to say is: ENJOY YOUR HOBBY!
Today I spent the day looking at fantastic coins like the last ever Queen Ann guinea produced in Edinburgh and a spectacular example of the George II Lima bust guinea at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Taking in the beauty of these coins thoroughly re-invigorated me to look out for my own little pieces of numismatic history. Obviously, I will never own such incredible and historic coins as these but to own your own little lower grade lower value coin of a similar era can provide a great thrill – you can reach out and touch it anytime you want! I’m not sure the curators in Edinburgh would be too pleased if you tried to touch these coins….!
Well, my opinion on the Euro currency coins hasn’t changed – what a dull bunch!
On the plus side, I did find my first 2013 coin on my return from holiday: a shiny new 10p coin. It really has taken a while this year to see them circulating but hopefully it will be the first in a flurry of new year coins in my change.
I also tried electrolysis on some of my very low grade Victoria and George V pennies. I would never advise anyone does this on coins which are worth anything nor that anyone who does not fully understand the reaction taking place and dangers involved attempts it but it does seem to work! I realise there will be collectors out there pulling their hair out at the roots at my very mention of the ‘E’ word but I like the effect it had on the low value coins I subjected to it.
[Edit Dec 2016: I would never do this now and I implore you not to either – it will ruin the coins!]
This week I will be immersed in the Euro coins rather than Her Majesty’s pound sterling. They are probably the most boring set of coins in the numismatic world in my opinion but at least they are different. Its been a barren few weeks of finding new acquisitions both in circulating change and by purchase – I have found no suitable purchases in my budget recently and only a few olympic 50p coins to add to my set. I will let you all know how I get on scanning my Euro change over the coming 10 days!
The Scottish independence debate has escalated a bit recently. As a Scot, I am undecided on the best response to the referendum question but as a numismatist, I am intregued by the issue of Scotland’s coinage should we become independent (I doubt we will but for the sake of arguement lets continue). It appears that today the chancellor of the exchequer has implied that Scotland would not be able to continue using the pound sterling as we know it – this raises many questions for the numismatist up here. Mainly, what will the new currency be if not the pound? Lets look at the other choices as I see them.
- The Euro – as a coin collector, I hope this is not the case and in the current economic climate, my gut feeling is we would not go down this route. We already have plentiful access to euro coins through holidays and from our Irish friends who bring them over – so much so that this would be nothing interesting to us. The Euro coins are spectacularly boring to collect too!
- The Pound Scots – this is a serious option. It is beyond me to examine the complex issues involving the resurrection of a 300+ year old currency and setting an exchange rate, deciding on debt apportionment etc but it does intregue me. For example, will we have the romantic old names like Bawbee, Hardheads and Pistoles? Will Her Majesty grace the obverse of the coins? What new designs should we have? Would it even be decimal?
- Dollars – would we even develop a brand new currency and coinage such as a Scottish Dollar and cent structure? In many ways this is the most exciting (and probably least likely!) option. Imagine the scope and potential in this concept!
And on that note, I shall leave you for tonight!