Coins of England and The United Kingdom was first published in 1929 by B.A. Seaby Ltd. and was issued as a paper cover booklet with a cover price of 6d and was entitled Catalogue of Coins of Great Britain and Ireland. It later became the Standard Catalogue of the Coins of Great Britain and Ireland in 1945 which was written by H.A. Seaby between air raids, whilst in Air Raid Precautions Control Room in North London. So popular was this edition that it ran to three impressions, reprinted in 1947 and 1949.
These early editions were basically price lists of coins held in stock at the time of going to press, but also with prices offered for sought after items. One example being in the 1936 edition which offered no less than £200 at the time for a specimen of the gold penny of Edward the Confessor, an amount approximately equivalent in today's monetary terms to £11,000; a huge sum of money at the time for a coin, considering what that amount of money would have bought in 1936.
Editions were surprisingly regular from 1929 up to the outbreak of war in 1939, there being a new edition approximately every two years, resuming on a bi-annual basis with the publication of the 1945 edition.
It was in 1962, under the editorial control of Peter Seaby, that the Scottish, Irish, Anglo-Gallic and coins of the Islands were taken out of the catalogue and published separately. This 1962 edition was the first of a new series which was then published annually through to 1976 and saw the introduction of photographic illustrations in place of the beautiful line-drawings which had previously been used. There was no edition in 1977 whilst work on a greatly revised, new format, 16th edition was in progress and this set the standard for the next 20 years until Spink acquired the entire publications arm of B.A. Seaby Ltd. during 1996.
The first edition published by Spink was the 33rd edition in 1997, then, ten years on from there and the 42nd edition again saw a revolution with the transition to colour printing. This process was achieved without missing an edition and involved the massive undertaking of sourcing and re-photographing every coin in the catalogue.
Published annually, it now weighs in at nearly 600 pages, in full colour and packed with information.
The catalogue now covers all coins which have circulated in the British Isles from the earliest times when coins from northern Gaul were imported around 150 B.C. right up to the latest new issues from the Royal Mint.
Primarily intended for the collector, it also serves as a single volume handbook for the archaeologist, museum curator, detectorist and any person who has a coin to identify and who wishes to know its current market value. With helpful sections on grading and the housing and care of coins; information about numismatic clubs and trade associations; a bibliography for further reading; explanations of numismatic terms and translations of foreign and Latin legends found on British coins, it truly is the handbook for British coins.
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