British Medals From the Collection of David Corrick

British Medals From the Collection of David Corrick

David Corrick

This collection has been put together over the past 42 years; the result of a passionate interest in history and a desire to own something that connects to an event and brings it to life. Like one's own life, it has evolved into different directions, hence the rather wide subject matter!

Its origins date from the late 1960s when, at Minehead, I frequented the sea front amusement arcades, and often managed to win what, in those days, were quite impressive quantities of old pennies from those machines piled with coins that were waiting to be pushed over the edge! At home tins of pennies in the bedroom were eagerly scanned for rare dates and mint marks, and soon an interest in the monarchs depicted from the bun head of Victoria through to Elizabeth II developed.

An article in Coin Monthly in late 1967, together with a chance purchase of an old copy of The Illustrated London News for the 1937 Coronation from a sea front book fair (for 6d!), where all the official coronation and jubilee medals were illustrated, started the quest to find one of these.

A trip to Taunton on 1 April 1968, to visit Jeremiahs, a shop selling antiques, stamps and coins with a school friend Philip Floyde, resulted in me bringing home on the train an 1897 bronze Jubilee medal purchased for the sum of ten shillings - a week's paper round money! Compared to the veiled head portrait depicted on pennies, or indeed crowns, this one was massive and far more impressive; I was hooked!

I started work at Barclays Bank in August 1971, by which time I had taken subscriptions out with Spink's for their Numismatic Circular and Seaby's for their Bulletin, where many fabulous and varied medals appeared. That was the time also when Medallic Illustrations was reprinted; a copy was duly obtained via the library and read from cover to cover.

A visit to London in late 1970, with my brother Jeffrey, was my first foray to Spinks; past the rather forbidding uniformed doorman, who probably viewed this 17-year old Somerset boy with an element of suspicion! Wants lists were left and I was told to come back later, to be shown a selection, most of which I could only dream of buying, but it did result in a couple of additions to the coronation series.

At about the same time, whilst staying with relatives who then lived in East Molesey, a walk along the Thames towpath to Kingston-upon-Thames resulted in a chance visit to Brian Brady's Kingston Coin & Stamp Centre, starting a pattern of visits for the next 18 years which produced some fantastic finds; a 1588 Armada medal, a 1697 State of Britain and a 1670 British Colonisation to mention just three. There was a tray of oddments for 50p each, from which some of the smaller medalets made their appearance, including a 1702 Anne and a 1586 Assistance to United Provinces jeton.

By the end of the 1970s with this pattern of buying established, the collection had grown to just over 100 pieces. During the early 1980s I had moved to Taunton. With fellow train enthusiast Chris Baker, trips to Paddington would include a visit to the Saturday morning market under the Charing Cross railway arches. In this Dickensian throwback the art of haggling was soon learnt and some unusual pieces found their way south-west on the overnight paper and mail train! Auctions also started to feature at this time and the original aim, which was to complete the official coronation series, was achieved with the purchase of a James I medal in 1986. The publication of the first two volumes of Laurence Brown's British Historical Medals greatly assisted identification of previously unresearched medals.

It was at this time, too, that I branched out into collecting German World War I medals which, with their hysterical satirical themes, was something completely new to me. I also had a brief fling with the Russian series of 18th century medals of Peter the Great but decided, even for me, the scope was now getting a bit too wide! Pete Warne, a friend from Barclays Plymouth days, who used to call to have a pint with me at The Odd Wheel, my local in Wembury, wondered if not only the pub, but the post office too, was kept open because of me, given the number of registered packets collected from it!

Over the last 20 years I have continued to acquire medals, along with major changes in lifestyle; marriage to Karen, two children, Emma and Fiona, further moves of house and a change in employer to Lloyds TSB. Highlights of this period? Difficult to keep brief, but certainly an 1815 Wellington box medal, the Atlantic Charter medal of 1941 and the biggest coronation medal of them all, the 1911 Spink issue at 104mm.

The collection as it stands comprises over 2,000 medals. It could go on growing but I have decided to take stock. I must admit that once a collector, always a collector, but now I must now show more self discipline!

If you have read this far, you must be getting bored; now please look through the catalogue and hopefully you will derive the same degree of enjoyment that I have had over the past four decades in forming this collection.