Just wanted to share a story that may be typical of us coin collectors...as it shows how you learn along the way.
A few weeks ago at auction I decided to bid on a bulk lot of coins - 3 stacker boxes full of mainly UK coins, because a quick rummage revealed several Britannias I needed for my date run, silver Piedforts from the 1970s, plenty old £1 coins and some beautifully kept old English and Jersey banknotes. Those were amongst kilos of old pennies and other predecimal mintage from Victoria through to QEII and lots of modern era uncirculated 50ps from 1969-1983, modern U.K. commemoratives etc. I figured that after I had kept the Britannias, I would sell the old pennies and coppers for scrap and maybe auction off all the rest.
But I had not realised how interesting it was to sort through these old coins - as essentially I was going through a family's history as I was doing so - with notes about family holidays in Jersey, Gibraltar and Spain, and it was obvious that multiples of various commemoratives had been bought with kids names on various packages.
First eye-opener was the prices realised on eBay for old banknotes - which I had no clue about. Selling an old fiver (albeit in crisp mint condition) for £17 amazed me.
Piedfort silver is something I had never even looked at - but some 50p pieces like the special EEC 1992/93 50p fetched over £50, and others like the D- day commem reached over £30. For some reason this stacker/family had assembled a pile of the 1973 EEC special 50ps (the clasped hands design), and these have been selling well - maybe pre-Brexit nostalgia for some buyers?! I found other 50ps from Gibraltar and Isle of Man that have also attracted buyers that have made it worth the effort to put them up on eBay. As my main goal was to shift stuff without asking crazy prices I usually started auctions at 99p and you quickly find out whether there is a market for any given coin. Some stuff I never thought would sell were bought - like 1951 Festival of Britain cupronickel crowns and plain UK coin sets from the 1960s.
Picking through kilos of old pennies was only of interest to find the 20 or so Queen Vic pennies, but it was certainly nostalgic to think of where these coins may have been over the past century. None are in spectacular condition - but I am keeping a few examples from Vic, Edward, George V and George VI. The vast bulk of them went for scrap though. From the piles of farthings I kept a few of the Victoria ones, including an 1875 "H" Heaton mintmark example ( I had no idea that coins were minted in Birmingham !), some from 1900-1930 and a half farthing from 1844. Also didn’t appreciate that the actual Britannia design on those farthings changed between the 1870s and 1880s.
Then looking for the pre-47 UK silver I sorted out quite a few good coins - Threepences (nice ones from 1922 and 1938), sixpences - the oak reverse (from 1934-1936 among these) and the later George VI ones from 1939-1945, four single shillings (1934, 1937, 1939, 1946), two shillings/florins (six - from 1939 to 1946). Although they are "silver free" I must say I found some of bigger Elizabeth predecimal era coins really cool - particularly the half crowns ( I got six - including a nice condition 1961) and a full crown from 1960. Got stacks of Decimal coin sets, post-47 shillings, farthings and sixpences as well - not sure if they are worth flogging or not. Also quite a nice bunch of brass Threepences - including plenty of the early thrift variety from George VI.
The previous owner was a bigtime hoarder of all British commemorative crowns as well - so I have 6 Churchill crowns, 10 1972 silver wedding crowns, 12 1977 Jubilee crowns, Queen Mother birthday crowns etc. Those I do need to get shifted - but lucky to get 50p each I reckon😉
Turning to foreign coins - there were many I had never seen before - including NZ and Australian pennies ( a nice toned 1939 example, but not the famous 1930 penny!), an NZ half crown, a holed but wonderful 1868 50 centimes, a Weimar Republic 50 Pfennigs, some old US wheat cents and lots of postwar "world in a box"-type coins from all over Europe. While there may be some rarities in that lot it's just too much effort to work out right now - so I may sell them on as a "bulk lot" myself - or hold onto them until I have time to find a dealer that may be interested.
So you may be wondering - have I made any profit on all of this?! The answer is yes, but only about 30% over what I paid. But I did get the stuff that sparked my original interest, learned a whole lot about coins (and notes) I had never seen before, and got some satisfaction in knowing that through selling lots of stuff, coins that would otherwise have stayed hidden away in a loft have been redistributed to collectors that wanted them. That may seem strange - but I actually rather enjoy that aspect, and especially for coins that held no interest for me personally.
Finally if anyone is interested in any of the coins mentioned above (or wants QEII farthings or sixpences/shillings etc) just PM me; happy to discuss and continue my redistributions! I guess my interest in these older coins started earlier this year when I picked up a 1930 Florin and an 1887 double florin earlier this year. None of the coins I show here are worth troubling the graders with in my view, so I guess for the aficionados of old silver like SilverTanner or Shortstack66 there is not much to get excited about - but it certainly will make me pay more attention to the long sections in the in-person auctions when the old silver coins come up, and I get it now why you guys can get excited about the beauty of the rarer Victorian sixpences and florins!