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However, it is worth noting prices asked in dealers’ lists. After all, these prices reflect what an experienced professional thinks an object is worth and this might more realistically indicate a truer market.

To this end – and to get away from the abstruseness of Greek proto-coins – it is worth taking a look at some gold coins of the 100 Years War (c.1300-1460). Before the Second World War these coins were rarer than they are today. Why? During the massive destruction of French property in Normandy a large number of these coins came to light from the thatch of once prosperous farmsteads. These coins can now be found mostly in Paris, naturally, and most are in collectable condition. It is worth noting that superb examples are still very rare indeed and command prices some two or three times the general run.

A list from the old established firm of Maison Platt in Paris has reached my desk. On purpose am I referring to comparitively common coins because that is what one usually finds.

The gold ecu of Charles VI of France (1380-1422) is often found. Platt’s have one as good as they usually come but not superb. Fr4500 (£430) is being asked. In the same vein, an English gold noble of Edward III struck in London seeks a buyer at Fr9500 (£900), which is about what you would expect to pay in London. Edward III also struck nobles at Calais and these are marginally rarer.

Crossing the Rhine, the list of Fritz Rudolf Künker (Osnabrück) arrived in the same post. Something for everyone here. There are exactly 1000 coins for sale at fixed prices. It is an arbitary choice, so I should pick something of perhaps universal appeal. The 1641 silver thaler of Augsburg with a view of the city and with the pineapple which silver dealers will recognise as the hallmark of that place, should appeal to the topographically minded and is surely not expensive at DM495 (£155). A similar thaler of Munich (1627) proudly bearing the Wittlesbach arms and a pretty version of the Virgin and Child, should find a happy buyer at DM1250 (£390). No, I can’t account for the difference in price. It is just that some cities are either in more demand or that their coins are more common. It takes a German to know this.