Astrology and the ancients

May 2013, Volume 50 No. 5
Happy Birthday to us!

I MAKE no excuses for writing this month’s Editorial as one long “congratulations” to Token Publishing Ltd (and myself if I’m honest), as this month (April 2013—it may be the May issue but we are always a little ahead of ourselves) marks no less than 30 years since Token Publishing Ltd came into being. We (Mary, my then wife, and I) started work on the May issue of Coin & Medal News from our tiny offices above a plumber’s shop in Station Road, Liphook, Hants (the shop is still there!). I had previously been editing the magazine for Epic Publishing, based in London (having previously been employed in the stamp world by the auctioneers H. R. Harmer Ltd), but when they decided to sell off their titles I jumped in with both feet and took over the title I was working on. At the time I had no idea what I was letting myself in for, and whilst there have been trials and tribulations along the way, I can honestly say it was the best decision I ever made.

A great deal has changed in those past 30 years, both personally and professionally—when I formed Token Publishing Ltd I had my wife working with me and both sons were at school . . . now I have a different wife, Carol, as my business partner, my elder son, Philip, is a Director of the company and my two grandsons are at school! That small office above the plumber’s shop, with just two of us working there, has grown to a large office complex and a warehouse, with 14 staff and a host of “freelancers”. We have gone from publishing just the one title every month to two magazine titles (COIN NEWS and MEDAL NEWS were split in 1989), three “yearbooks”, dozens of “one off” books and now we sell accessories too. But to be honest there isn’t much about any of it I would have changed. I started my professional career in print, as an apprentice printer’s reader back in 1958, and whilst I’m not quite ready to fully retire yet, when I do I will do so as the Managing Editor of a successful publishing company—you can’t ask for much more than that! Throw into the mix that I have been lucky enough to travel all over the world with this job and that I have met some amazing people, many of whom have become very good friends, then you will realise just why I feel very fortunate to have made that decision 30 years ago to bite the bullet, take out one of Maggie Thatcher’s “Enterprise initiative loans” and go for it.

Of course, it isn’t just down to me, or my wife, son or staff—the longevity of this company has stemmed from darned hard work, and from the fact that in the early days we worked our socks off to make it work, often staying at the office until three or four o’clock in the morning on press days—and in recent years Phil has given up just about every spare weekend to make sure he was promoting the business as much as possible at fairs up and down the country. Without all that, and the hard work our staff put in too, we wouldn’t have survived. Of that there is no doubt, but the real secret of our success is, and always has been, the loyalty of our readers and advertisers. No amount of hard work, late nights or weekends away would have meant anything unless the dealers were prepared to advertise and the readers were there to support us, and many of you have done so since the very beginning. So, whilst I am very proud to have reached this milestone, and will allow myself to be a little smug about it, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you, all of you, for the part you have played in getting Token Publishing Ltd to this point—it really is “Happy Birthday” to us all!

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In This Issue

Lets Celebrate!21
Our 30th anniversary
Through the decades in pictures
The Zodiac on Ancient coinage
An ancient science revered
In Focus41
Northumbria’s Sceattas and Stycas
Issues from a renowned kingdom
John Gloag Murdoch
A force among numismatists
Pedro the Cruel
Living up to a name
Collector’s Notebook50
Amundsen’s South Pole triumph marginalized
An overlooked hero?
Medallic Miscellany53
The Welsh Wizard
The curious story of Lloyd George on commemorative medals
The music and dancing rooms
A place to see and be seen
Back to Basics69
Of inscriptions, titles & mottoes: III
Checking out legendary abbreviations
Banknote feature73
The banks & banknotes of Manchester
An industrial giant


Editor’s Comment2
Coin News & Views14
View of the Bay20
Around the World22
New Issues Coin Update24
Royal Mint Bulletin26
Market Scene29
Price Guide to PENNIES64
Coin of the Month67
Banknote News71
Price Guide to ROI SERIES C76
New Issues Banknote Update78
Dealer Directory85
Diary Dates86
Semi-display Adverts90
The Web Page92
Classified Advertising95