Come to the fair

May 1999, Volume 36 No. 5
COIN FAIRS vary considerably in range and quality. We still have vivid memories of one such event we attended in a draughty church hall in a rather remote part of the country. Half a dozen dealers valiantly turned out but we doubt whether the attendance reached three figures, and we were left wondering what possessed the organisers to stage the event in such an prepossessing venue. It was a depressing experience for all concerned, mitigated to some extent by the bargains we snapped up!
At the other end of the scale are the great national events, well supported by the trade and thronging with eager customers. Very much at the top of the league is the London Coin Fair, and one of the most civilised aspects of our hobby is the chance to meet dealers and other collectors in the comfort of the Cumberland Hotel at Marble Arch, where the next fair takes place on Saturday, June 5.
As its name suggests, it is mainly a coin show, but the range of goods on offer includes paper money, commemorative medals, tokens, books, accessories and anything else to do with numismatics. The show coincides with the many antique fairs and events held in early June, including related events at the Cumberland itself where collectors can browse through an astonishing range of antiques, antiquities, bronzes, jewellery and objects of virtue. It is a reminder that in Renaissance times coins and classical antiquities went hand in glove.

Of course, much of what is collectable today can hardly be regarded as antique. A high preponderance of what is on offer at the London Coin Fair consists of modern coinage, with the emphasis on proofs and presentation sets. It is also, in our experience, the best place to find the latest material on the fringes of numismatics, from newly obsolete banknotes to tokens and medals.

In view of the upsurge of interest in Chinese material in the past two years it is worth noting that the London Coin Fair is also the venue for the annual meeting of the Oriental Numismatic Society. There will be a number of talks and slide shows throughout the day on the coins of India, China, Japan and the Arabic world from classical times to the present day. Non-members will be more than welcome to attend.

The fair opens to the public at 9.30am and continues till 5pm. Adult admission costs £3, but there is a half price concession for senior citizens, students and accompanied schoolchildren. Why not make it a day out for all the family? What better way can there be to get the kids interested in coins?

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In This Issue

Imperial Symbolism
From Halley's Comet to the Christian symbols: many different events have been recorded on Roman coinage using symbolism.
On the Fringe31
Eccentric issues
Private follies can often lead to coins and banknotes being issued. These in turn can land their issuers in hot water.
From Halley's Comet to the Christian symbols: many different events have been recorded on Roman coinage using symbolism.33
Coins of 'Bloody' Mary
'Bloody' Mary, Catholic daughter of Henry VIII was determined to restore Catholicism in her reign - and the purity of coinage.
Collectors notebook36
To Doe For?
Die numbers were used on most gold and silver issues during Victoria's reign. This article outlines some basic facts and rarities.
Riga celebrates 800 Years
The Latvian capital, Riga, celebrates its 800th year. We take a look at the Royal Mint set of 8 coins issued to celebrate the event.
Out and about43
The Australian coin series for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games is well underway. This month, we get to meet designer ( and goldsmith to HM Elizabeth II ), Stuart Devlin.
Banknote feature48
Untold wealth: filed away
Two Straits Settlements banknotes which had been filed away among papers were sold in Melborne for over £80,000.
Banknote feature51
The papermoney of Chile ( pt.3)
The final part in our series on the papermoney of Chile covers the issues from 1960 to the present day.
Bridges on Tokens
Architectural themes were frequently used on British Tokens. This article surveys the Bridge as a design subject.
Beginners Page57
Britannia in peace & war
Our national symbol, Britannia, has been used for political propaganda during war and also during peacetime.
Win Celtic Gold!
You could win a Celtic Gold stater valued at £300, minted during the Gallic Wars against Ceasar.


Coin News & Views14
Market Scene21
New issues Update24
Banknote News & Views47
Price Guide58
What's on63
Letters to the Editor70
The back pages72