The British Association of Numismatic Societies is the national organisation, founded
in 1953, which represents numismatic societies throughout the United Kingdom. It
exists to promote the study of numismatics by bringing these societies and their
members together to share and increase their interest and expertise in coins, tokens,
medals of all types and paper currency.
Each year BANS hosts a congress, in a different part of the country, which attracts
delegates from many and varied backgrounds. OWLNS is delighted to have acted as the
host society for the 2011 Congress held in Southport.
BANS 2011 Congress Report
The 2011 Congress of the British Association of Numismatic Societies was held at
the sumptuous Ramada Plaza in Southport from 25th-27th March, with 62 attendees.
After registration and refreshments, proceedings began on Friday evening with the
first lecture, ‘Argenteus Binio: the Rise and Fall of the Antoninianus’ given by
Chris Leather, who set out the case for the rehabilitation of this ‘poor relation’
of the denarius, citing metallurgical ratios as evidence to doubt the widely-held
view of a catastrophic financial crisis in the mid 3rd century.
The presentation was followed by dinner in the Congress’s private dining room, rounded
off by the usual convivial evening conversations over drinks in the bar and lounge.
After a formal welcome by the President of BANS, Dr Kevin Clancy, Saturday’s first
speaker was Peter Thompson, on the topic of his recent book: ‘The East India Company
and its Coins.’ The paper reminded delegates of the amazing voyages undertaken to
open up trade to and from the East, and the difficulties faced in establishing permanent
The second lecture of the day was David Holt’s ‘The Life and Times of Thomas Bushell,’
which outlined the colourful and financially outrageous lifestyle of this Stuart
‘jack the lad,’ who produced several of the coinages of the Civil War.
After the usual break for coffee and biscuits, the morning’s papers continued with
an entertaining and instructive talk on ‘The Diverse Uses of Tokens’ by Bob Lyall,
which set the pieces firmly in their historical and social context, and included
a wealth of contemporary illustrations.
The final lecture of the morning, the UK Numismatic Trust Lecture, was delivered
by Prof. David Shotter, on the subject of ‘The Roman Conquest of Britain: the Numismatic
Evidence.’ Drawing on a wealth of experience over many years of research, the speaker
gave a magisterial overview of the history of the invasion and settlement of Britain,
pulling together the different strands of literary, archaeological and coin evidence.
After lunch in the brasserie, delegates were free to explore Southport. However,
before doing so, many chose to attend the ad hoc illustrated talk by Dr Joe Bispham
(prepared to entertain them in case the weather was awful – it wasn’t) in which he
outlined the work he had done in reinstating a medieval timber-framed Essex manor
house to its former glory. This turned out to be one of the highlights of the weekend.
The Congress Dinner was held in the evening, with the usual formalities and raucous
Sunday’s lecture programme began with Graham Dyer, on the subject of one of his predecessors
at the Royal Mint, ‘William John Hocking (1864-1953) Curator and Numismatist.’ Hocking,
an intensely private and religious man, of great integrity and assiduousness, had
not previously received the attention he deserved, and the speaker produced compelling
evidence to support his inclusion amongst the great names of Mint personnel.
The second paper, ‘Interpreting Iron Age Coin Distribution’ was given by Ian Leins
from the British Museum. He explained how our understanding of the coins, their issuers,
and the areas in which they were used, had increased dramatically with the hugely-expanded
(and ever-increasing) database of finds now available to researchers, rewriting much
of the orthodoxy.
After the coffee break, the penultimate lecture was by Bob Thomas on ‘The Brussels
Hoard of Voided Cross Pennies,’ a cache of almost mythical status, as much for the
circumstances of its purchase as its size. The speaker is one of the joint authors
of a soon-to-be-published catalogue of this enormous hoard of some 145,000 English,
Scottish, Irish and Continental pennies, hidden c.1265, and the audience was treated
to images of a number of the more spectacular pieces.
The final paper of the Congress was the Royal Numismatic Society’s Howard Linecar
Memorial Lecture, given by Keith Sugden from Manchester Museum, on the topic of ‘Myths
and Monsters on Ancient Coins.’ The speaker moved light-heartedly through a range
of mythical monsters and the exploits of the heroes who slew them, copiously illustrated
with some splendid specimens of Greek and Roman coins, and bringing back childhood
memories to delegates d’un certain age!
Before a final lunch in the hotel’s brasserie, and the journey home, the BANS President
brought the formal proceedings to a close with a well-deserved vote of thanks to
the host society, the Ormskirk and West Lancashire Numismatic Society, and its two
principal organisers, Alan Dawson and Chris Leather, for a stimulating and pleasurable
weekend, enjoyed in unusually luxurious surroundings.
● The 2019 Congress is to be held at the Sefton Hotel, Promenade, Douglas, Isle of
Man, from 5th to 7th April 2019
More details, together with a booking form can be found on the BANS website; click
HERE to go there.
For further information, contact Hannah Merry at hannh.merry[@]royalmint.com remembering,
of course, to remove the brackets from the address first!
Our Visitors’ Book
Some comments about the Congress by those who were there!
To read our Visitors’ Book, click HERE to open the page!
The Congress Venue
The Ramada Plaza Hotel in Southport made an excellent venue for the Congress
To see more of the venue, click HERE to head for Reception!
Southport - Host Town
Described as the Classsic Resort, Southport is also a modern up-to-date destination.
To learn more, click HERE to head for the town centre!