Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Cool coin

My house was built, as far as we can establish, in 1896. We take this date from the house at the end of the road, very similar in style and materials, and which has the useful additional feature of having the date (yup, ‘1896’) inscribed in plaster on its front.

However, we don’t know our house’s birthday for sure because in 1969 there was an earthquake in a neighbouring town, Tulbagh, which entirely decimated that village, knocked down houses in an approximately 50-kilometre radius of the epicentre, and caused a week-long fire to rage up and down the valley, burning settlements willy-nilly and, along with them, all the planning records for this entire area. So the house’s provenance remains a mystery.

When I bought the house, it had three gigantic bedrooms (seriously, big enough to swing a Bengal tiger in), one Fungus-the-Bogeyman bathroom, a bizarre, huge, cold (in spirit and temperature) room that served as the living room for the previous occupants, a galley kitchen (without benefit of a hotwater geyser) and a very strange small ‘reception room’ that lacked any windows. It also had a garage big enough to house a tank. Or, perhaps, a collection of coffins. All told, it is possible the previous occupants were the Undead; they even left a ghost for us to contend with.

We made the nasty big room into an open verandah, upgraded the bathroom, and turned the tank-park into another bedroom, another bathroom and a study/library/junk pile for moi.

We didn’t do anything to the garden except put a pool in it. (Boy, was that exciting – they brought it on a lorry.) And when the dogs arrived – first Sara, then Balu, then Maxi – I was happy I hadn’t spent hordes of money creating some sort of landscaped outdoor paradise, because they had their own ideas. Mainly, they dug lots of holes that I could fall into.

But look what they dug up this morning! It’s a coin dated 1893 (117 years old!), in really good condition.

On the ‘heads’ side there’s a profile of Queen Victor. Around the edges is inscribed VICTORIA D:G: BRITT:REG:F:D: (DG = De Gratia, ‘by the Grace of God’; Reg = Regina, ‘Queen’; FD = Fidelis Defendas, ‘Defender of the Faith’.)

On the ‘tails’ side it says ONE PENNY 1893 and there’s a picture of the seated figure of Britannia, a lighthouse and a ship under sail.

Having got madly excited and hopeful that my financial woes were finally at an end, I did a bit of Internet research and discovered that, depending on the condition of the coin, I could get anything from ₤14 to ₤200 from it. So: a pretty penny, but alas not enough to save me from penury.

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abhas@numismatology said...

madam very old and nice coin i haven't seen this coin before the word victoria is written and south africa was a british colony once so it may be the coin of queen victoria period.The rate of this coin is 100 us$ u can approach e-bay to sell it.Anyway nice blog

ali g said...

useless dogs...tell them to get back outside and dig up some gold nuggets as well !

Muriel said...

The dogs weren't at all interested in anything but digging more holes, but the teenagers got very excited and immediately set out to find buried treasure. They dug for several hours without finding anything of value (surprise!), but they did add a good number of ankle-snapping holes to the already pockmarked garden.