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Minting Information to Making Money

There is so much that makes Britain what it is, or what it used to be. What does it mean now to be called “British” - the “Land of Hope and Glory”? Has the shine over recent times faded?

by Victor Cherubim

(March 27, 2018, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Academics at Cambridge Analytica used the data they gathered to do things such as looking at the correlation between Facebook users’ personality and their political leaning, their buying habits, their associations.

What they found out among other things was that the younger generation, perhaps the “millennials” were more conservative in taste than their elders, at variance with popular belief. Data did not make Democrats vote Republican (Trump) but it was used to suppress Democrats (Afro=Americans) going to the ballot box by targeting them with “memes” reminding them of the bad Clinton vibes.

What was new in this “study” was that it gave unprecedented access (4.5 million) for further information on which to base new research studies.

Facebook’s problem is nothing new, data minting in politics boosted its popularity in demographic data, but more specifically to tailor messages to segments of the population, to target women, young people, ethnic minorities and other vulnerable without their consent, without their knowledge.

Equifax “unaccounted” disclosure of Credit files last year is with the end game of taking out credit checks to monitor your credit, suggesting you to freeze your credit by stopping anyone taking advantage of your credit history, costing you an additional $30 to unfreeze it, with an added provisional disclaimer of right to sue.

Spotify’s algorithm which makes educated guesses bases it data on users’ information of listening to songs what it knows you already like, but it cannot make you like music you “hate”.

Collecting anything as a hobby

To engage the public of all ages with a hobby instead, the Royal Mint which has been making coins for over 1100 years has started a Coin Hunt with the circulation of the new 10 Penny pieces, in an innovative, thought provoking way.

Various themes in Stamps, in Coins, in pictorial Cigarette Cards, Animal Cards, for that matter anything novel, have engaged the attention of hobbyists over many, many decades.

With the public more recently engrossed in upgrading, buying, exchanging the latest models of Apple’s i-phone and adding other innovative phone applications in the market, collecting non expensive, affordable items, was on the wane.

The British Way

The British are often in the vanguard of innovation, of many sorts. Whether it is fashion or fabrics, they are fascinated in novel ways of keeping people, ordinary folk engaged, engrossed and entrapped in exchange not only of ideas, but of ordinary day to day objects, sometimes even “objects of vertu”.

When it came to Coins, various themes reflecting the British way of life were sought after not necessarily in Britain, but of interest abroad. Like during the Colonial days, “Made in England” was considered a mark of class. Themes such as Royalty, Cities or Countries of the UK, Sport, Flowers, fauna, and flora were featured in memorabilia, stamps, or Coins.

There is so much that makes Britain what it is, or what it used to be. What does it mean now to be called “British” - the “Land of Hope and Glory”? Has the shine over recent times faded? Like everything in life, times change, people change, countries are re-born.

A New Britain after Brexit

After June 2016 a new motivation surrounds Britain. After the EU consent of the Withdrawal Agreement on 23 March 2018, Britain is aghast and marching again. “Onward soldiers marching, marching on to war,” is the beat of today. It is a new beginning of sorts.

My reflection

Years ago when I was a young lad, growing up in Sri Lanka, my Dad, a British Shipping Agent, went to Cargills of Colombo the well known Merchandiser, and bought me a Hornby Train set imported from England. It was a novelty, much cherished, much time spent, giving me hours of pleasure. Today many years on, I too have moved on. I hope to strike a different theme to keep me occupied.

A Novel Coin Collection idea is born. The offer this time was a hobby to collect the 26 Letters of the English Alphabet A to Zee each as a motif on the 10 Penny Coin in circulation in UK. Each Letter of the Alphabet is “etched”on the reverse, with the latest Queen’s Head in obverse. The fascination was that each letter represented something “quintessentially” and extraordinarily British.
  • The early strike Letters A to Z “10 Penny Coins” were put in circulation by Royal Mint in the 1st week of March 2018 with the first mint of 500,000 strike of each letter. The circulating coins were to be distributed through the Post Office network at a price of £4, many, many times it value. It is hoped to be a Collector’s item at some time.
  • The Collection is called a Coin Hunt as some letters are not available, perhaps, not put in circulation.
  • To date we are informed that over 2.6 million ten pence pieces have been minted across the 26 designs and more are in the pipeline.
  • For those who want to study the Coin Hunt, the Letters A to Z stand as follows:

AAngel of the North                                           N - NHS

B- Bond – James Bond                                        O- Oak Tree

C- Cricket                                                           P- Post Box

D-Double Decker Bus                                           Q- Queuing

E- English Breakfast                                             R- Robin

F- Fish & Chips                                                    S-Stonehenge

G- Greenwich Mean Time                                      T- Tea

H- Houses of Parliament                                       U- Union Jack Flag

I – Ice Cream                                                        V - Villages

J- Jubilee                                                            W- World Wide Web

K- King Arthur                                                      X- X marks the Spot                                                   

L- Loch Ness                                                       Y- Yeoman Warder

M-Mackintosh                                                      Z- Zebra Crossing

All the above Coin Letters celebrate all things British. The Hunt is now on to collect all the 26 Letters in your change given to you.

For some this hobby is more than a craze

Like all things we crave, this hobby collecting Alphabet Coins is a craze. For some, it is an investment. But like all fads, it is a sign of the times, a sign of national pride expected after Brexit.

Featured Illustration: Uday Deb ~ Courtesy: Times of India

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