A gold bullion dealer who has opened a chain of outlets in shopping centres across Britain is aiming to create a whole new generation of coin collectors among Britain’s youth.
And he argues that the slew of landmark
events that have taken place in the UK this year support his belief
that there is just as much potential for collecting today as there
has even been.
In fact Alan Demby, founder of the Scoin
Shop, says it has been the public reaction to the Diamond Jubilee
set he has been offering that has prompted him to launch an
historic coin division at his stores.
The Scoin Shop, which retails collectable
and bullion coins from mints all around the world, has had stores
in South Africa for the past decade and has launched in the
Westfield shopping centre in West London, Westfield Stratford and
Bluewater in Kent. Mr Demby believes that by opening stores in
mainstream shopping centres he has a far better chance of raising
the profile of collecting among the general public than other
He plans to roll Scoin Shops out around the
UK to malls and airports and wants to "democratise buying gold" as
a collectable item or investment item (in terms of bullion
Manchester-born Mr Demby is an international
coin dealer, bullion expert and gold coin entrepreneur who grew up
in South Africa where he opened the first Scoin Shop in 1999,
selling a range of collectable coins, medals and medallions, as
well as bullion, with prices ranging from £100 to £70,000. He now
has a further 30 outlets there as well as those he has just
launched in the UK.
He believes that modern collectables could
provide the means of access for a whole new generation of
collectors, with them graduating to more traditional collecting
areas as they progress. As an example, he points to coins he sold
recently to commemorate the wedding of Prince William and the
Duchess of Cambridge, which retailed for £1750 and, nearly a year
later, are making £3300 on the secondary market.
Mr Demby says business has also been boosted
by the Diamond Jubilee, the (football) World Cup, London Olympics
and Titanic centenary, all of which have seen special commemorative
gold coins minted.
"We've reached a new direction of consumer
interest not seen before, where it appears that sales of gold coins
commemorating some of the UK's most recent major events, such as
the Diamond Jubilee and the Royal Wedding, are turning the
attention of customers to historic, rare and valuable coins," he
"It's almost as if these modern-day events,
which people can closely identify with, are creating interest in
historic coins which are predominantly higher in value because of
Meanwhile Mr Demby says that, outside the
demand for South African items, the most sought-after coins at his
shops are those dating to c.1840-1910, led by the 'Una and the
Lion' - a gold £5 denomination Sovereign designed to commemorate
the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign, widely considered one of
the finest British coins ever struck.
As Richard Falkiner reported in ATGs No 2063
and 2066, examples of the Una and the Lion £5 sovereign sold at St
James in London on October 1 for £22,000 and Kuenker in Osnabruck
later in the month for €75,000 (£60,975).
Referring to his own sales, Mr Demby added:
"The interest in the Una and the Lion coin was as a direct result
of interest created from the Diamond Jubilee. It's a unique coin
which commemorates Queen Victoria's birth.
"The depiction of the young Queen as Lady
Una (a character from Edmund Spenser's poem The Faerie
Queene, from 1590) was seen at the time as a bold design
decision as it was the first occasion when a British monarch had
been depicted on a coin as a fictional character. The same Latin
inscription appears on the 2012 Royal Mint £5 Crown, minted to
commemorate Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee."
Antiques Trade Gazette is the weekly bible of the fine art and antiques industry. Read articles like this every week in the Antiques Trade Gazette or ATG app. Click here to subscribe today.