Houston Money show

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Where It All Began

November 1st, 2007

Because of the age of the “house” in which we lived on Seacliff Road many modern touches were either non-existent or of a much later adaptation.  The row of flats was actually constructed near the end of the reign of King George II.  During those days, the mid-18th century, the “T,” as they called it, was outside.  Fortunately during the Victorian era plumbing moved inside and a space under the bottom floor stairs and in one of the third floor landing corners became “WC’s,” if you catch my drift here.

One of the more difficult modernizations was the gas for use in the kitchen.  The stove was actually wood or coal burning and many of our neighbors ignored the gas and stayed with the older products.

Anyway, the gas line came in through the front wall, ran along the outside wall in the approximate direction of the kitchen which was situated in the very back of the house.  In order to use the gas one had to place a few coins in the meter, enough pence to keep the flow of gas on long enough for dinner preparation.  I remember a couple of occasions when we had to acquire coins from guests in order to dinner to be prepared.  It was an antiquated system but it worked, many such “modern” adaptations in those old houses didn’t.

It was on one of those gas seeking expeditions that I held in my hand a coin I’d received in change earlier in the day.  It was a well used almost slick, six pence from 1836.  This piece, which I still have somewhere, drew my attention to the small change of my day.  The old pence were at that moment in history being replaced by the “new P(ence)”  Older coins, which had circulated freely for decades, even for centuries before, were disappearing quickly.  I did snag a few others such as an 1897 shilling and an 1894 pence.  I still have a relatively large box full of old large pence I picked out of change.

Even though I have long since moved on to other areas of collecting, I am still entertained by the memories and enjoy an occasional viewing of the old U.K. pieces I acquired way back then.  I even have a few I purchased after our return home that are still in their original holder.  A handful are from the John’s bid board (Chris used to say “bid, bid, bid!” – I miss those days.)  We didn’t need Ebay back then. Do we really need it now?  There was something great back then about standing in a crowd waiting for the chance to put one last bid on a desired coin.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; “Fellow collectors, despite what some say about the market today, we do need each other.”
We have some great opportunities for community involvement in the very near future.  See elsewhere in this publication words about the upcoming shows include the TNA Winter Show in Waco, the Pasadena Show and the Greater Houston Show.
                        See you all soon.  I’ll leave the gas on for you.
                        Regards and God Bless . . . Richard