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BANS Annual Congress 2012

Was held at The Wessex Hotel, West Cliff Road, Bournemouth, BH2 5EU

13th to 15th April, 2012

Host Society : Wessex Numismatic Society

Congress Report


The Wessex Hotel, Bournemouth, was the venue for the 2012 National Numismatic Congress of BANS, the British Association of Numismatic Societies, staged over the weekend of 13-15 April. This was the fourth occasion that Congress had been held in Bournemouth, previously the host town in 1953, 1973 and 1992.

A total of 83 delegates from all over the UK and Ireland enjoyed a warm welcome from the organisers, Peter and Dawn Preston-Morley, assisted by William Petts and Derek and Susan Stewart from the hosting Wessex Numismatic Society. Set in the comfortable surroundings of the hotel, the Congress was blessed with fine weather and those who attended will long remember the occasion as a convivial and exceptionally well-run event with a consistently high quality of lectures on a wide range of topics, for which those responsible should take full credit.

As in past BANS congresses at Bournemouth, proceedings began with a reception sponsored by the host society and presided over by the Mayor and Mayoress, Cllr and Mrs Christopher Rochester, where guests had the opportunity of examining displays of local Bournemouth paranumismatica formed by Keith Rawlings, a former Mayor, some Anglo-Saxon and Norman coins struck in Dorset, 17th century Dorset tokens and a range of British Museum electrotypes of important Greek coins. Friday night dinner was preceded by the Royal Mint Museum Lecture, given this year by Pontefract archaeologist Simon Tomson, who examined the life and career of William, Lord Hastings, the Yorkist who, as Master of the Mint, oversaw the introduction of Edward IV's light coinage in 1464.

The weekend's other titled lectures were all on the subject of British coins. For the Howard Linecar Memorial Lecture Dr Christopher Challis and Dr Joe Bispham combined to cover the reformation of the coinage under Edward VI, with the former also taking the opportunity to remind the audience of who the late Howard Linecar was and the latter hinting at the seeds of what will be important new classification work for Edward's fine coinage silver. This year's UK Numismatic Trust Lecture, given by Chris Rudd, comprehensively exploded the myth, begun in the late 1950s by Derek Allen and Sheppard Frere, that ancient British coins be known as Celtic coins when in reality they had nothing to do with Celts at all. In a fascinating and masterly overview of the subject the speaker exposed the writings of a 15th-century Italian as the source for much of what came to be interpreted as ‘Celtic' by Stukeley and later archaeologists, while thanks to the likes of Camden, Sir John Evans and Mack the coins retained their correct ancient British identity. Since the 1990s the myth of Celtic Britain has been seriously challenged and thoroughly discredited and it was suggested that it was about time the term ‘Celtic' be dropped from British numismatic terminology. In the Dix Noonan Webb Lecture, Dr Sue Tungate, treasurer of the Friends of Birmingham Archives and Heritage, spoke appropriately of the important contribution made by Matthew Boulton in providing copper coinage to his customers at home and abroad.

Apart from these contributions, David Dykes took a close look at the state of the economy in the west country at the close of the 18th century in his study of the Sherborne banker and token-issuer Simon Pretor, Edward Colgan examined the numismatic history of Australia from the time of the first fleet until the country's first regular coins in 1910, host society president William Petts described just a few of the many hoards of different types of coins found in Wessex, and Stephen Minnitt recounted the fascinating background story to the Frome hoard of 2010, at over 52,000 coins the largest ever to have been found in the British Isles in a single container and now on display at the revamped museum in Taunton. Not content with just organising the Congress, Peter Preston-Morley contributed a retrospective on the life of Sir Stanley Robinson, the famous Greek numismatist who lived in Dorset in retirement and the centenary of whose appointment to the staff of the British Museum is this year.

On Saturday afternoon almost 60 delegates took a vintage bus to Corfe Castle, where Simon Tomson led the trip round this famous National Trust-administered monument. Dinner in the evening was followed by a raffle with prizes donated from a variety of sources, some of the proceeds going to benefit the National Deaf Children's Society, and an 80-lot auction.


Congress Programme 

15:00 18:00 Arrival and Registration
18:00 19:00    Civic Reception
19:15 20:00 The Royal Mint Museum Lecture: Simon Tomson, William, Lord Hastings, Master of the Mint.
20:00 21:30 Dinner
07:45 08:45 Breakfast
09:00 09:15 Official Welcome by the Prersident of BANS, Kevin Clancy
09:15 10:00 Edward Colgan, The Early Numismatic History of Australia.
10:00   10:45 The Howard Linecar Memorial Lecture: Christopher Challis and Joe Bispham, Edward VI: Reformation of the Coinage.
10:45 11:15 Refreshment Break
11:15 12:00 Peter Preston-Morley, Edward Stanley Robinson: a Centenary Retrospective.
12:00 12:45 David Dykes, A Dorset Banker and His Tokens.
13:00 14:00 Lunch
14:00 18:00 Visit to Corfe Castle (optional) or at leisure in Bournemouth
19:00 19:30 Reception
19:30 21:00 Congress Dinner
21:30 22:30 Auction
07:45 08:45 Breakfast
09:00 09:45 William Petts, Hoards of Wessex Hoards.
09:45 10:30 The Dix Noonan Webb Lecture: Sue Tungate, The Soho Mint: from Copper to Customer.
10:30 11:00 Refreshment Break
11:00 11:45 The UK Numismatic Trust Lecture: Chris Rudd, The Myth of British 'Celtic' Coins.
11:45 12:30 Stephen Minnitt, The Frome Hoard.
12:30 12:45 Closing remarks and dispersal.
13:00 14:00 Lunch (for those who have prepaid)