Penny Floor

British Pre-Decimalisation Coins Appeal

As you're probably aware by now, we're going to be building a new visitor centre at Cors Dyfi in 2019 to replace the 25-year-old porta-cabins that we have been using for the last 10 years.

As part of the project we are launching an appeal for old coins. We are interested in any denomination of British pre-decimalisation coins. Basically, any British coin between 1840 - 1967.

 

But Why Coins?

A key narrative running throughout the new Dyfi Wildlife Centre will be the Dyfi River. The way our ancestors have lived on the Dyfi over the centuries and millennia has directly effected the landscapes, wildlife and species we see today - including the ospreys. Next time you're in the 360 Observatory, have a look around - all the way around - 360°.

From the 360 Observatory you might spot things that look the same as they did 1000 years ago - other features will have changed over time. The ditching works of the river banks were made in the 17th century to dry them out for agriculture.  The forestry, the roads, the mining, the railway that splits Cors Dyfi in two and of course the trade & industry of the river going back millennia have all had an effect in one way or another and given us what we have today - for better or for worse.

Coins provide us with many links to the past and can be used in a number of ways to bring history to the heart of the Dyfi Wildlife Centre. Here are a few key ways coins link to the new centre:

 
Mining

The hills surrounding the Dyfi River have a rich history of mining - especially silver and copper. These metals were then transported down to where Cors Dyfi is today and the surrounding quays, loaded onto boats and ships before being transported around the UK, and later the world. As a reference to the past history of the reserve, we'd like to reference these metals in a thematic way in how we build some of the interiors.

Pre-decimal coins are mostly copper with a little silver, so they are perfect. We're also not taking (or making) any new materials out of the ground, which is important.

A coin table
Recycling and Re-purposing

Metal is the king of recyclable materials. Molecules of the same gold stolen from Egyptian tombs three millennia ago or copper from the huge Colossus of Rhodes sculpture constructed in 292BC could well be in your wedding ring right now or in the components of the laptop, phone or computer you are reading this on. Those particles will have been recycled and repurposed into something, somewhere, sometime.

 

Trade and Industry of the Dyfi River

The currency of trade is money of course, this is an easy one!

However, a little know fact is that Charles I moved the royal mint to Aberystwyth Castle in 1643, just down the road. A few years later he moved it closer still to a village we today call Furnace, just a few hundred metres away from us.

British coins minted (hammered) in 1649 - just down the road!
Wildlife

Many old coins have wildlife based engravings on them, some of these species breed and grow on Cors Dyfi reserve.

Farthings (1⁄4d) with the wren on the reverse side
Educational

We've been staggered by how much interest there has been in the coin projects already, and we haven't properly started yet. Kids are fascinated by old coins, their parents may have heard about them and their grandparents remember spending them!

The wholesale decimalisation of the British monetary system was a huge thing in the late 1960s, it even had its own name for the changeover on 15th February 1971: Decimal Day.

There were 240 old pennies in a pound sterling - your 12x table had to be spot on. Counting and dividing by 10 is much easier and something we take for granted today - for previous centuries it wasn't the case.

Decimal Day in 1971

How to donate your coins

So, remember, we are only after British pre-decimal coins, minted with the dates 1840 onwards to 1967. If you have any and would like to donate them, there are two main ways you can do so.

1. Bring them with you next time you or someone you know visit DOP.

2. Send them in the mail to:

Old Coin Appeal
Dyfi Osprey Project
Cors Dyfi Reserve
Derwenlas
Machynlleth
Powys
SY20 8SR