Your Collections: Robert Durrant

This year, The Royal Mint is inviting coin collectors far and wide to share their collections with us and our Royal Mint blog readers. From old coins to new, commemorative to circulating, we would like to get to know more about you and your collections; from the whys to the whats, putting your collections in the spotlight in our new ‘Your Collections’ blog feature.

So far we have had a wonderful response to our request and have thoroughly enjoyed reading through your responses. So, without further ado, we would like to introduce our first installment of Your Collections in which we find out more about 42 year old coin collector, Robert Durrant, and his vast collection of coins from across the globe that began with a penny he found in his parent’s garden.

First of all, tell us a bit about yourself, name, age, etc.

My name is Robert Durrant. I am aged 42 and I was born and raised in Reading, Berkshire, UK.

1857 One Shilling
Robert with his favourite coin, a 1857 One Shilling

How long have you been a collector for? What (/who) got you in to collecting? Was it a particular coin/find?

It all began for me some 35 years ago when, like many others, I found an old penny in my parents’ garden. That made me curious about the past and proved to me that there is life beyond television.

One Shilling | Two Shilling
A 1948 One Shilling and 1966 Two Shilling coin from Robert’s collection

Growing up in the late 1970’s and early 80’s the old one shilling could still turn up in people’s change and could be used as a 5 pence piece. Looking back now I guess that never really left me as we kids just saw them as strange objects from before our time.

I lost touch with coin collecting during my school years and began again when I started work at 16. Fence erecting may not sound very exciting but I never knew what I would dig up in the next post hole – mostly rocks and dirt in my case!

As I grew older I started collecting coins from Europe. Now that many countries use the single currency, I see it as a way of preserving their history as well as our own.

French Francs
A collection of Francs from Robert’s expansive collection

Why coins? What are your motivations for collecting coins?

Well, that’s because they are fairly easy to find and don’t need a lot of storage space. Also, they do change over time and they are as varied as people, each has a unique story to tell  (If that makes sense?). The historical value, rather than monetary, has always been my motivation for collecting coins.

How do you collect? 

I started collecting UK coins which feature the portrait of our present monarch and worked my way backwards until I got to the Victorian era (my oldest coin being an 1857 One Shilling). As mentioned, from those simple beginnings my collection grew into collecting coins from Europe.

Do you have one big collection, or lots of smaller collections within a collection?

I collect worldwide coins, so I have an extensive collection. There are smaller collections within that, such as my collection of UK coins. I have a collection of UK 50 pence pieces and £2 coins as well as commemorative United Kingdom Crowns.

Do you have a favourite piece? Is it already in your collection?

My favourite coin has to be this 1893 Brass Farthing – it was the first coin anyone was kind enough to give me.

1893 brass Farthing
1893 Brass Farthing

My main passion is of course British coins – it must be, because I have more of them than any other country! Here are a few photos of a small selection of interesting coins for my fellow coin collectors to cast their eyes upon.

United Kingdom
British coins from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II
RD pic 1
Half Crown, One Penny, Half Penny, Farthing, Sixpence, Three Pence

Is there a ‘stand-out’ coin in your collection? 

Singapore coins bear possibly the nicest designs I have seen on coins.

Singapore
Singapore

What would you like to add to your collection? 

I suppose the ultimate coin I would wish to find is maybe a gold Sovereign or one from Roman times. There are areas I have no coins from, e.g. Russia. But that is the whole point of collecting – you never know what you will find next.

Thanks to the invention of social media and coins being a good point of discussion, I now have friends in many places such as Australia, New Zealand and even South Africa. This in itself leads to discovering the coins of other far-off countries.

With that in mind, do you think your collection with ever be complete?

In my opinion, no collection is ever truly complete. Some people collect certain sets of coins. I have done this myself but have now expanded my search to being worldwide. And I just love it!

Would you ever like to design a coin? What would you like to see represented on a coin that hasn’t already been?

As for a new design…We will just wait and see. That’s what makes coin collecting so exciting. Who knows what we will discover next on our quest for coins.

So there we have it, the first installment of our new ‘Your Collections’ blog series. We’d like to say a special thank you to Robert for sharing his collection with us and we hope you have enjoyed reading about his collection! If you would like to contribute to our Your Collections blog series and feature your collection on the Royal Mint blog, then simply fill in this form.

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