Coin collecting book review - Coins of England and the United Kingdom

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08 December 2014
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imports_CCGB_screen-shot-2014-12-08-at-10-50-27_99065.png Coins of England book
Often described as the ‘bible’ of English coins, the renowned Coins of England & The United Kingdom catalogue has been published for years, and the 50th edition is another comprehensive guide to the country's coinage ...

Coins of England and the United Kingdom
Spink, 2015; £30 for set, £25 for Pre-decimal volume


Often described as the ‘bible’ of English coins, the renowned Coins of England & The United Kingdom catalogue has been published for years.

The first edition, in 1929, was the work of coin dealer BA Seaby; essentially a stock list, the publication soon became a useful reference work for collectors and traders, and by 1945 was officially known as a catalogue, covering all British coins. By 1962 the catalogue had been split in two with one book covering English coinage and another book for Scotland, Ireland, and the Islands (of which a new edition was published in January), and this fiftieth edition sees another new format, with the pre-decimal issues presented in the usual 500-page hardback volume and an additional paperback edition covering the growing number of decimal issues.

With a long list of contributors adding information and images to the catalogue (including Stamp & Coin Mart regular Richard Kelleher) and with every major coin type listed, few collectors look further than this guide, only choosing whether to update their edition each time it is published.

The latest volume is certainly worth adding to your library, with movement on the value of many coins since the previous edition.

As editor Philip Skingley comments in his introduction, hammered coins have increased by up to seven percent, and milled coinage has offered even higher returns. Meanwhile the decline in the value of gold has seen gold coins go down in price and further decreases are expected. ‘If you feel that prices are too high in a particular area right now,’ Skingley writes, ‘try collecting something else for a while, this is the beauty of such a varied and historic coinage.’ An obvious statement but reassuringly honest in a publication devoted to value.

A beginner’s guide to coin collecting, a glossary of terms and a visual guide to mintmarks and symbols, makes the book accessible to all levels of numismatist, and metal detectorists and historians, while comprehensive explanations of each period in England’s history, including Roman Britain, early Anglo-Saxon, and Viking coinage provide sufficient background for any collector to confidently begin a new collection of English coins.


Coins of England and the United Kingdom - Decimal issues
Spink, 2015; included in set or separately for £5.99


This comprehensive catalogue of decimal coins, which previously formed part of the larger volume of all English coins but is now offered as a separate book, lists every value from the humble half new penny of 1971 to the £5 coins recently issued by the Royal Mint to mark the World War One centenary.

Collaboration with a handful of experts at the Royal Mint mean all commemorative coins issued in more recent years are included, such as the series of 29 50p pieces issued to mark the London Olympics, but with less demand for the majority of these more modern coins, valuations have remained consistent.

Now listing coins by denomination rather than portrait, the 150-page paperback book, which is sold with the larger 'pre-decimal' volume will be a welcome addition for any collector of modern coins.

As well as being available as a set, both books are available separately with the Pre-decimal volume priced at £25 and Decimal at £5.99.

Find out more about the book at: www.spinkbooks.com

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