The UK’s only weekly stamp, coin, postcard, militaria and ephemera collectors’ market continues. Where else could you buy genuine military formation patches, rare stamps from all corners of the globe, a silver coin from the reign of Charles I, historic postcards, ancient African artifacts and any number of other unusual and exotic items all under one roof? In fact, we doubt whether a more eclectic collectors market exists anywhere else in the world… It’s not for nothing that Charing Cross is traditionally regarded as the very centre of London from which all mileposts took their distances. So come along this Saturday from 7am to 2pm, browse to your heart’s content and see what our traders have for you this week!
The historical value of deltiology was in the limelight last month when a 130 year old mystery was definitively settled by a researcher at the Institut Van Gogh north of Paris. The precise location of Tree Roots, the great artist’s final work, on which he was working just hours before his (likely self-inflicted) death by gunshot, is now known – and it’s all thanks to a postcard.
A 94 year old French woman, who lives locally, had lent her collection of historical postcards to the Institute and it was only some time after one of their researchers had browsed through them the connection was made. What was just a hunch became a certainty when Wouter van der Veen went to the scene himself and confirmed it. The Auberge Ravoux Inn, where Van Gogh spent the final two months of his life in 1890 is just 500 feet away. A plaque commemorating the significance of the spot is now in place.
A very useful overlay version of the painting and card can be seen here.
For over 2,600 years coins have told the story of many cultures around the world, often reflecting the preoccupations and aspirations of their rulers but also telling their own stories as they passed through the hands of princes and paupers.
However, it seems that this is one more aspect of human activity which is being affected by the pandemic with recent news of a national shortage in the US. With coins being a particularly potent vector for disease, a number of high street businesses are insisting on payment by card only and this is something we’re seeing increasingly in the UK too.
So how long does the humble coin have left? It’s hard to say but probably not as long as we might think since the changes to our way of life brought by technology is just accelerating. There’s no doubt that it would make sense for governments since coins are increasingly costly to manufacture but the firms managing our data would also love to have a handle on every penny we own: where, when and what we spend it on. No doubt commemorative coin issues would continue for the collectors but jingling coins in one’s pocket might soon be something read about than experienced….
It’s hard to imagine the bulk of contemporary coins ever becoming especially valuable but phasing cash out would certainly add more interest to coin and note collecting generally. All the more reason to start now!