The coinage on trial

March 2014, Volume 51 No. 3
What would you like?

ONE of the most challenging aspects of putting together COIN NEWS each month is actually the writing of this “Comment”. I always try to make it topical but, in order to do that, I too often find myself regurgitating a piece from the news and that isn’t what this column is all about. I don’t like to talk too much about what we as a company are doing either—yes many of you, particularly those who have been with us for years, are genuinely interested in who we are and what we do (that goes both ways) but there is only so much I can say before it starts turning into a massive plug for our new products and this is an Editorial not a marketing report. I will happily discuss the state of the market too, but after a while there is only so much you can say about how well things are going (and they really are—despite the recession the coin market has continued to grow almost unabated, the recent prices fetched at auction, the attendances at fairs and the number of new dealers and collectors coming into the hobby is testament to that) and as such I sometimes find myself stuck for an idea—and then it hit me. Whilst we regularly attend shows up and down the country (you will see us in London, York, Dublin, Wakefield, Birmingham and others when time will allow) and get to chat to hundreds of collectors every year, we don’t actually meet all of you and therefore there are many of our readers who never get to tell us what they think about COIN NEWS, or the hobby, or indeed what they would like me to “comment” on.

We had toyed with the idea of creating an internet forum to try and find out what those views are, or maybe set up a Facebook page but overseeing such a venture is a full time job and, to be frank we just don’t have the staff to be able to do that. Now I’m sure that the technically minded amongst you will say that it is easy, and I’m sure it is—it isn’t the setting up of such a thing but the monitoring of it that takes the time. The Internet is notoriously anonymous and that, unfortunately, leads to some people being emboldened enough to say things they would never dream of voicing face to face, this in turn leads to bad feeling (not to mention potential lawsuits) and means that anything we put our name to has to be monitored; this is naturally time consuming and thus brings us back to the problem of who will do it. With two magazines (we publish MEDAL NEWS too) as well as our accessories business and a raft of book titles we are pretty much full on all the time so adding another task to an already busy schedule isn’t really possible. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t interested in what you have to say.

Sitting down here in beautiful Devon, attending the best coin shows in the country as and when we can and meeting, on the whole, the same collectors each time, gives us a certain view of what people want—but that might not necessarily be the right view. Therefore I’m using this month’s Editorial to throw open the floor to you—the readers we don’t usually meet or hear from, all of you who have been collectors, and readers of COIN NEWS, for years and yet have never thought to tell us what you would like to hear or see in the hobby or this magazine. As we go into our third decade as a company we have always prided ourselves on being a true part of the hobby—as much a “fixture” as the big auction houses or the dealers who have been around for years (you know who I mean) and as part of the hobby we have always tried to listen to what the collecting world wants — but we can only do that if the collecting world tells us. Yes, absolutely, we listen to the people we meet at the shows but there are thousands of you out there who have never been to a show, who have never met us, called us or emailed/written to us and, just as the Kitchener poster on the new £2 coin that has caused all the furore (see last month’s Comment) states “your magazine needs you” (OK I’m misquoting, I know). SO now is your chance — get on the ’phone, write to us, email us, come to a show (we should be at Harrogate in March…) and tell us what you would like to see in the magazine—and what you’d like me to comment on each month. This is your magazine as much as ours and we really do look forward to hearing from you—especially if we never have before.

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The coinage on trial
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In This Issue

Ancients33
Aelia Eudocia
Empress of Palestine
Spotlight37
QV Jubilee Head sovereigns
Some varieties examined
In Focus40
Suleiman the Magnificent
A visionary leader
Insight43
Coin metals through the ages
A surprising array
Collector’s notebook47
Trade coinage of William of Orange
Little-known issues
Medallic miscellany49
Error, exile and exonumia
The “Great Asparagus” in England
Personalities55
Dr John Lee
The founding of the Royal Numismatic Society
On the fringe59
Tourist trinkets
Souvenirs from places of interest
Paper money75
The devil in the detail
A notorious design explained
Banknote feature79
Sheepskin banknotes
A token currency for Cocos
Back to basics81
Auctions 102
Help with buying on eBay

Regulars

Editor’s Comment2
Coin News & Views14
View of the Bay20
Around the World22
New Issues Coin Update24
Royal Mint Bulletin26
Market Scene29
Prices for GUINEA FRACTIONALS64
Fair preview—HARROGATE ’1466
Coin of the Month68
Banknote News71
New Issues Banknote Update72
Letters83
Dealer Directory85
Diary Dates86
Semi-display Adverts90
The Web directory92
Classified Advertising95