Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Friday, 30 July 2010

Pre Euro Banknotes what can you do with them.

Following yesterday's posting on pre Euro coins hoarded away this side of the channel, I thought I will give pre Euro banknotes a mention.
Following the switch over by some European Union member states to the Euro the banknotes issued by the central banks of those countries ceased to become legal tender overnight. However, each member state have set a time limit in which banknotes issued by their respective central banks can still be exchanged for euros. Something I am sure many people in the UK are unaware of. Throughout the UK there must be millions of pounds of old pre European banknotes tucked away in drawers doing nothing that can be exchanged for cash which would be a boost for our economy.
It is so easy to exchange the banknotes, first go onto the European central bank website and they will give the details of each central bank. From there it is just a matter of downloading a form from the relevant central bank and posting it off with the banknotes. Some countries do make it easy but some countries do make it hard, and it may be easier to sell the banknotes from some countries through dealers who deal in pre euro banknotes exchange, the only problem is the commission they take.
I have found that the Deutsche Bundesbank, the Netherlands bank and the Irish Central Bank the easiest and most efficient to deal with directly. Just remember that all pre euro banknotes that were legal tender at the time of the switch to the Euro can still be exchanged for euros.

Most countries the time limit is unlimited, below I have listed those whose time limit will end in the next five years.

France 17th February 2012

Italy 29th February 2012

Finland 29th February 2012

Greece 1st March 2012

If you cannot be bothered to cash them with the central banks or dealers the Red Cross will accept them or there is ebay.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

What do you do with pre Euro coins ?


Almost every Brit who has travelled abroad has brought back foreign coins as small change because they cannot be exchanged or there is simply not enough to by a drink at the bar before going home. The same applied to the Sally Ferry days with most people saving small change (French and Belgium francs) that cannot be exchanged, so they were saved maybe to spend on the next trip. With the demise of Sally Ferries and the French Franc being converted to Euros this has left a lot of French Francs this side of the Channel in drawers, boxes and tins etc.,
I see this all the time at auction whenever there are bulk lots of coins up for auction, French, Dutch,Belgium, Spanish and German pre Euro coins all up for sale, that have been accumulated by travellers and have nowhere to go. In many cases the face value of the coins before they become obsolete when calculated is staggering had they been exchanged or spent at the time. Unfortunately today pre euro coins cannot be spent in their home countries. However, there are some European pre euro coins that can still be exchanged for Euros if sent to the relevant central bank of countires who will exchange them for Euros, depositing a payment in Euros to your account. I know German, Irish,Italian,Spanish and Austrian coins can still be cashed for Euros and it would be ideal to search on the relevant countries Central Bank site for details. It can be done because I have done it and I must add the service from the German Bundesbank is first class.

It is unfortunate that the majority of European Union countries no longer exchange pre Euro coins for Euros. Bearing in mind that many of the modern pre Euro issues have no collector value the next stage is to sell them as scrap. When the European Union went over the the Euro the central banks ended up with hundreds of thousands of tonnes of coins in their vaults. As Euro coins were made of alloys that excluded Nickel, this meant that most of the returned coins could not be recycled into Euros. Countries like France and the Netherlands for example minted coins in pure nickel, others minted coins in cupro nickel and all produced coins in various alloys of Bronze which also could not be used

The first decade of this millennium saw a dramatic rise in commodities due to demand from Chinese industry. This led to a demand in the secondary metals market leaving the obsolete pre euro coins as a valuable asset. China bought thousands of tonnes of French 1/2, 1, 2, and 5 franc coins for its stainless steel production which at one point pushed the value of nickel up to $35,000 a tonne a few years back . So there is every chance that the stainless steel cutlery for sale in Wilkinsons could contain recycled French francs or Dutch Guilders.

At the time of writing the price of nickel is $20,312 a tonne or $20 a kilo which gives some indication how much value there is in scrap coins. Based on that figure I reckon if every foreign coin surplus to requirements in Thanet was to be accumulated it would certainly represent a tidy sum. Food for thought ?

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

A close shave

If you listen carefully to this song there is this sort of creaking sound in the background. It reminds me of a time many moons ago when fishing off North Foreland in poor visibility. We could hear this same creaking sound coming at us from out of the fog but could not see a thing, a bit like the film “the Fog”. It turned out to be a large Dutch sailing barge heading towards us. The barge in full sail missed us by about 50 metres, but it sure was close and this record reminds me of that day ever since.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Foreign coins


A few days ago somewhere in my travels I must have accepted a Polish coin in my change without checking. Obviously a sign of the times judging by the amount of Polish people there are working in this country at this moment in time. To find foreign coins is nothing new, especially living on the Thanet coast with the ports of Ramsgate and Dover nearby and our links with mainland Europe. Plus there is the centuries of trade between Thanet and mainland Europe that account for the more older coins that are occasionally found almost anywhere in Thanet.
I truly believe that being a coastal area and through our coastal links, the proportion of foreign coins to be found in Thanet is far greater than other parts of the country like Watford as an example.
Many of these coins even though foreign can represent a chapter in our local history. For example the abundance of nickel French francs from the late eighties and early nineties from the Sally Ferry days that can be picked up almost anywhere. Then there is the less noticeable amount of American coins I come across from the second world war period through to the early 1950's that could have originated from the American airmen based at Manston during that period.
Going even further back the amount of Napoleon III centimes that are in Thanet known as "French pennies" dated from the 1850's to early 1860's that turn up, which were probably linked to 19th century ferry services. The provenance is endless.

Other sources maybe from foreign seamen that have passed through our ports, even coins brought home by service men and women that have been passed from generation to generation have a story to tell.

Like most things these days one thing which I have not mentioned is value, and what is it worth ? The answer is pretty simple as every foreign coin is worth something whether it is scrap, face or collector value. In the majority of cases we could be looking at pence or less that £1. However, in some cases we can be looking at pounds. For example this Italian 5 lira coin which I come across recently is dated 1873 and is silver so it has a silver value of about £5.00 by weight. Near the date is a mint mark "M" which puts the value of the coin in that condition at around £13.00, if it was a "R" then I would be looking at around £150.00. This is just one example.

I suppose in these "austere" times perhaps it may be worth looking at the foreign coins kicking around the house, if you decide to have a rummage, check me out and I will give you an honest opinion.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Is it a Swift or Swallow


About 5:45am this morning this little bird after colliding with something crashed landed outside the front of our house. Fortunately for the bird my wife Rosemarie was in the front garden at the time and managed to save it from the encircling cats who were taken by surprise.
As soon as the bird regained its momentum I took it to the junction of Duncan Road and Crescent Road. Where flying high above other birds of the same species were ziz zagging high above. Using a up and down motion with my hand the bird started to flap his wings and then he was off to join those high above where I lost site of him. Hows that for a happy ending.

Monday, 12 July 2010

A day on the beach


I recently had an interesting day on the beach as part of a feature on the Thanet Coast for the Kent Life magazine. Following a telephone interview about beachcombing and my views on the Thanet Coast their photographer turned up on Friday for a photo shoot. I had a choice of any part of the coast for the photo shoot, so taking into consideration that choosing Margate or Cliftonville would be far to easy I chose my newly adopted patch at the Western Under cliff Ramsgate which I survey for TDC's Thanet Coast project. It was more or less to proove to myself to see what I have actually learnt about the area since I became a coastal warden earlier this year. Even though I haven't completed a annual cycle on the site everything went well and I was able to pick out many interesting finds. I think the photographer may have thought at first that I had gone down the night before and deliberately put things down to find, but that was not the case. This is probably because the Western Under cliff is a very underrated place as there is always something to find if you know exactly where to look. I know I am not up to the standard of Alisdair Bruce , but I did manage to pick out a few fossils even though I do not know their names or age.
On the strandline I explained the features of the strandline , I found a piece of Copal resin which I gave to the photographer. I as found some European Cowries, unidentified all the different types of sea coal and found some other interesting shells.
Lower down I had a pick amongst the shingle and came across this tooth photographed with the 20 pence piece for scale. Something I would describe as awesome if I happened to be an American.