Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

What do you do with pre Euro coins ? part 2

One of the austerity measures announced by the coalition government is the proposal to produce cheaper coins in nickel plated steel. Obviously such a move is designed to save money for government, it has also been pointed out that such a move is going to be very expensive for the machine vending industry and will drastically affect the efficient process of small change with coins of the same denomination having different weights and conductivity in circulation.
However, moving away from the pros and cons of such a move it is worth noting that the motive for such a move is more or less down to the price of nickel than anything else. From the end of the Second World War nickel has been used in British and other European countries for the production of higher denomination coins in the form of a copper and nickel alloy (75% copper 25% nickel) generally known as cupro nickel. Since 1947 we have had decimalization and the major European economies have gone over to the Euro. In both cases there was a change over period enabling an exchange for old for new. However, like little magpies people squirreled away many coins which missed the change over dates, resulting in billions of coins throughout Britain and Europe being tucked away in drawers, tins or whatever.
These coins no longer have a legal tender value, so what do you do with pre Euro and pre Decimal British coins? Well the answer is pretty simple if they cannot be exchanged for new Euro currency like Irish and German coins or they are not in pristine collector condition the only option is to sell them as scrap. In recent times the commodity value of all metals have broken all time records and this has led to many coins especially non legal tender being worth far more for the metal content value than original their face value.
Traditionally both British and mainland European copper alloyed coins have always been the lower tender coins alloyed with either zinc, aluminum, tin and small amounts of nickel. Since the end of the Second World War billions have been minted and very few have a collector value. I see the only option is to accumulate as many as possible together and take them to the local scrap yard which in Thanet pays around £2.50 a kilo.
The Cupro nickel and nickel coins are a different kettle of fish and considering nickel on the London metal exchange is roughly trading at $25,000 a tonne this is something to look into. Obviously nobody can expect to be paid that for scrapped coins but it does is act as an indicator for a secondary market. Anyone who is familiar with alibaba.com will know what the demand is worldwide for recycled nickel.
So what are the options for those of us who are on the make? Well my little tip is to seek out pre Euro European coins that are made of 100% Nickel, especially French 2 Franc, 1 Franc, ½ Franc coins and Netherlands Guilders, 25 & 10 cent coins and hoard them. They are made of the pure stuff and as a commodity it is something in demand for the nickel alloy production industry. Obviously anybody reading this is not into the big time and we are talking Kilo’s. However with information technology as it is there will an opening somewhere someday to sell our kilos of nickel making it all worthwhile, it is only a matter of finding a market.

This website can give you a rough estimate of the value the nickel in your pre Euro coins .http://scrapmetalpricesandauctions.com/nickel/

Sunday, 19 December 2010

A human bone ?

I know this is not the best of photographs, but I do believe I have a piece of human bone in my hand. If I have judged correctly I have found a 1st Metatarsal from a human left foot.
The piece of bone was found last Sunday at St Mildreds Bay (12/12/10), Westgate on Sea close to the site of bronze age finds at St Mildreds Bay which were discovered in 1988. I know the piece of bone is no way connected with the site as I am sure the piece of bone came in on the North Easterly backed tide. The only clue I have of the origins from where it may have come from is by smelling the bone as it has that distinct smell associated with items that have originated from the off shore mud / clay beds.
For anyone interested in the Bronze age site at St Mildreds Bay , Westgate on Sea I can give you a reference, which is page 243 Volume 105 of Archaeoligia Cantiana 1988 in a article by Dave Perkins. Margate library has a copy in the local studies section.
With the on set of Winter I have started collecting any bones and teeth amongst the other finds from the Thanet beaches. I will list the finds later in the spring.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

The Valkyr

Pictured is all what remains of the Swedish schooner Valkyr that was wrecked on the Margate Sands on 29th April 1919. The vessel had been abandoned after all the crew had been saved by the Margate lifeboat only to eventually run aground in Minnis Bay , Birchington . Some of the cargo of tinned sardines was liberated by some of the locals who lived on the marshes and after the official salvage operation the wreck was left to the elements.
In the years that followed pieces were salvaged from the Valkyr and they were used in locally cottage industries like the rivets and bolts pictured. One such use was to make tips for local produced walking sticks which were sold to visitors. As these cottages industries faded so did the knowledge of the Valkyr and the wreck became another of the wrecks in Minnis Bay. The wreck is easy to find and is almost level with the western end of the flat promenade and where the sea defences begin and is about 140 metres out to sea laying between the rocks and the sand.
The Valkyr was formerly known as the Valkyrien, it was registered at Figeholm , Sweden . It was built in 1901 at Figeholm by K. J Rockstrom and had a gross tonnage of 336 tons, the length in feet was 131.1, breadth 29.7 and the depth was 12.2. The master was J P L Hansson and the owner was Gustave Johansson. Further details can be found in Llloyds casualty return for 1919 on page 10.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Driftwood Art.


If the weather is to be as predicted with the return of the bitter cold weather and northerly winds, the conditions for a bit of beachcombing on the Thanet beaches between Christmas and the New Year will be ideal. I always take a interest in everything I find by researching, displaying, collecting and utilising. This includes driftwood, as I like the worn smooth twisted shape of worm infested wood. I collect many pieces because I like them and that is as far as it goes as I am not really a artistic person. However, I am fascinated by other peoples work and recently I attended a coastal wardens meeting at the Royal Albion Hotel in Broadstairs. On display in one of the rooms were some very interesting pieces of driftwood owned by the Hotel that is well worth a look.
Driftwood art is something that has been going on for years, works of art and even the smallest pieces can be purchased on the Internet. Here in Thanet we are surrounded by the stuff and believe or not there is a bit of a market for the weird and wonderful pieces of driftwood like the pieces on display in the Albion Hotel. I not sure how many driftwood artists there are in Thanet if there is any at all, but a few days ago I came across this image in a file which I thought was rather clever. I do not know who the creator is or who owns the image, but it is clever.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Dably Square , Margate

A few years back I started reproducing back articles from the Margate Historical Society magazine for downloading which have attracted a lot of interest from people who have googled Margate or Cliftonville looking for a specific subject. In the recent Margate Civic Society newsletter I came across this article by Suzannah Foad on Dably Square , Cliftonville . I approached Suzannah and asked her if I could reproduce her article as a fact sheet for anyone researching Cliftonville , Dalby Square or the Reeve family and she has agreed. Suzannah is a researcher specialising in Margate family history and can be found by Googling, Margate Local & Family History.
For anyone interested in the Margate Civic Society they can be contacted on the web address I have on my sidebar or can be found on google. They produce a very factual newsletter on Margate's history and the editor is James Brazier.
Today, I received some good news from Thames Talback makers of the series Great British Railway Journeys series 2 which begins on BBC2 from Monday 3rd January at 6.30pm for five weeks. Margate will be featured on the 26th January programme featuring Margate's seaside heritage and the Bathing Machine. I am pleased to say that the Margate Historical Society team have made a contribution by providing information for the programme which is another notch on the Margate Historical Society bed post. As I keep saying Margate's History is undergoing a renaissance and the making of the programme is further proof.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

The balloon race


The pre Christmas period is perhaps the best time of time of year for beachcombing, especially when the wind has a touch of Northerly in it. Perhaps it may be the potential of interesting finds on the Thanet Coastline at this time of year or it is just nice to spend a few hours away from the pre Christmas rush , whatever the motives it was perfect conditions at one of my favourite spots St Mildred's Bay, Westgate on Sea.
This area has a lovely history behind it, ranging from the discovery of a iron age site on the beach many years ago, the battle of Marsh Bay which was a smuggling incident, shipwrecks, the First World War seaplane station and events that took place during the Second World War.
However, today's finds were from the strand line and had came in on the previous tide so there was nothing historical . The finds were very much as predicted, such as the usual sea coal, copal resin, bone, various sea shells and a golf ball bringing my Thanet Coast tally tally to 35 golf balls for 2010. The only exception being a tag from a balloon race. On rare occasions I have found tags of various descriptions from pigeon rings, fishery tags, balloon races etc., mostly around the Foreness Point and North Foreland areas.
I do like balloon tags as they have a personal touch around them and because of that I always send them off ASAP. This tag came from a balloon race that took place on 29th November 2010 from St James- the- Less, Hadleigh Church, Hadeigh, Esssex and they will be getting it back this week.
Finally, I should also mention there was no crab death to report amongst the Velvet swimmer crab population, the only casualties in a 100 metres of strandline was about half a dozen edible crabs which is normal for anytime of the year.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Friday, 3 December 2010

" I promise to pay...............,"


Sorting through things as you do, I came across two ten shilling notes from the 1960's, a 1960's issue pound note and a late 1940's issue pound note. They were not really in a collectors condition and had more or less been around the block a bit and served their time.
Each note had the line "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of ..........,"
The notes had been out of circulation for years, so out of interest I thought I will test the system to see if I would be able to get the three pounds back which was the total value of the notes as promised by the Bank.
Looking on the Bank of England website I found a form to redeem withdrawn banknotes. So I filled it in and sent off the banknotes to the Bank in Threadneedle Street, London and waited.
Twenty four hours later a payment from the Bank of England ended up in my account. Not exactly a major financial transaction but the system certainly does work and a promise is a promise.