Those of you who know me well or who have read some of my blogs, will know that there I nothing I like better than a bit of scrumping or scavenging! I know it isn’t logical, but there is something very satisfying about finding something that can be put to some use.
The best ever such find was nearly forty years ago. I was doing a bit of digging around our broccoli patch in the garden, when I came across a coin. Jae, aged four, was playing nearby, so I popped it in her pocket, thinking she could use it next time she was playing at “shops”, a game all little children love.
Later that evening when Jae was in bed, our friend Clare came for a meal. Somehow the conversation came round to the garden and I remembered the coin I had found. Once I had mentioned it, Clare was keen to see it, so I retrieved it from the washing basket, where it had ended up.
She seemed to know immediately that it was gold and of some value – not something for a little girl to play shops with. She said I needed to take it to a coin specialist. So Jae and I set out with it the next day to take it to a coin shop which existed at that time in Canterbury.
The shop identified it as a George II guinea and offered me £168 for it on the spot, which at that time was more than our monthly income. Flabbergasted wasn’t in it: without Clare’s intervention it would probably have been lost as easily as it had been found! However, the shop said that first the coin had to go to the police, as all gold treasure trove belongs to the Crown.
The police kept it for a while, but subsequently returned it to us. They told us that under a magnifying glass it was possible to see indentations on each side, suggesting that it had been mounted in a piece of jewellery, and was not therefore likely to be part of a horde of coins. A friend ran a metal detector over the garden, but nothing else of significance was found. I did take it to London to Spinks the coin specialist, but they were not willing to offer as much as the Canterbury dealer.
So we hot-footed it back to the local shop and the deal was done: we sold it – but not before Stew had taken a photo of it. The shop was willing to offer such a good price because they had a customer who collected George II guineas, but that particular year was missing from his collection.
It was later that summer that Stewart’s father retired. His parents had never had a phone in their house: we had to phone a neighbour along the road if we needed to talk to them. We were really pleased to be in a position to pay for a phone to be put into their house and to undertake to pay future bills from the money we got from the sale of that gold coin.
In later years, people have asked us whether we were sorry not to still have it. The answer was always “No”! What comes around, goes around. We made good use of the money.
And the same will be true of every penny made from the 3G Kili Climb. Every penny raised will be put to good use either helping the Canterbury homeless get their lives back on track or on Exodus’ charities in Africa and elsewhere. Whatever size a donation is, whether large or small, it will make a difference to someone else’s life. And that is pure gold!
Note from Jae: Bizarrely I remember the moment Ma found this coin quite well. She was gardening and I had a yellow plastic sieve that had come in a beach bucket set in my hand. She handed me the coin to go and wash, so I put it in my sieve. I ran it under the kitchen tap, and when I brought it back I said, “It’s not real money”, and that’s when she popped it into my pocket
If you’d like to donate this is the link: VirginMoneyGiving.com/3GKiliClimb
And don’t forget – all our donations are now being matched, so your money is doubled! If you are unable to, or don’t want to donate at the moment, we’d still be really grateful for “likes” on our Facebook page or retweets from our Twitter feed