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The Gentle Author’s Coin Collection

March 19, 2024
by the gentle author


Join me on Easter Monday, April 1st, for THE GENTLE AUTHOR’S TOUR OF THE CITY OF LONDON. Meet me on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral at 2pm. We will walk eastward together through the Square Mile to explore the wonders and the wickedness of the City. Photo courtesy of Bishopsgate Institute




In 1999, I bought a coin from a street trader at the time of the excavation of the Roman cemetery in Spitalfields. In 1576, John Stow wrote about the Roman coins that were dug up here in Spitalfields and I suspect mine came from the same source. A visit to the British Museum confirmed that the coin had been minted in London and the piercing was done in the Roman era when it was the custom to wear coins as amulets. Somebody wore this coin in London all those centuries ago and although I will never know who they were, now I wear it for them on a string around my neck, to give me a sense of perspective.

As you can see, my collection has grown as I have discovered that coin collectors are eager to dispose of pierced coins at low prices and I have taken on the responsibility of wearing them on behalf of their previous owners.

It was only when the string broke in Princelet St one dark night in the rain at Christmas and I found myself scrabbling in the gutter to retrieve them all that I realised how much they mean to me.


Coin of the Emperor Arcadius minted in London

Figure of Minerva upon the reverse

Silver sixpence minted at the Tower of London, 1569

Head of Queen Elizabeth and Tudor rose

Silver sixpence minted at the Tower of London, 1602

Head of Elizabeth

Silver sixpence, 1676

Head of Charles II

Farthing, 1749

Head of George II

Silver sixpence, 1758

Head of George II

Young Queen Victoria

Half Farthing, 1844

Head of Queen Victoria

Silver sixpence, 1896

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Bishopsgate Tavern Tokens

4 Responses leave one →
  1. Winnie permalink
    March 19, 2024

    Ooo. Love these.

  2. Eva Radford permalink
    March 19, 2024

    I can see why you are a collector of these. They are wonderful.

  3. Cherub permalink
    March 20, 2024

    These are beautiful things to own.

  4. gkbowood permalink
    April 4, 2024

    Hopefully they have been put somewhere safe? Or are you still wearing them but with a leather thong or chain? They are very interesting, maybe sometime in the future you will share the reverse?

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