Sunday, October 25, 2020

Rare British Flowers - The Spring Gentian


What Is A Spring Gentian?

You might never have heard of a Spring Gentian, and you are probably not alone. This wild flower, native to the UK, is one of the least prolific flowers that you will see on a forest walk. It's Latin name is Gentiana Verna Gentians, and it is generally found at higher altitudes.


Where In The UK Can I Find It?


Although variations of the Gentian can be found in various locations throughout Europe, in the UK the flower can generally only be found in one of two locations: Teesdale, and Western Ireland.


Teesdale in the UK



The Gentian generally prefers Chalky soils, which further reduces it's ability to become a prolific species. As noted, it's rare appearance in the United Kingdom is a feature that also characterises the flower throughout Europe, so much so that the flower has been designated as an 'Endangered Species'.


History And Folklore


 The flower was first discovered in the UK by John Harriman, and now serves as the county flower of Durham, in England's north.

Holly Somerville's drawing of the flower has since become the logo for the botany department in Trinity College Dublin, and has also appeared on a British stamp issued in 1964.


As with most things that are rare, the reputation of the flower has led to various superstitions being formed regarding it. For instance, bringing the flower into a house would risk the offending individual running the risk of being struck by lightning! Also, death, the ultimate penalty was said to follow anyone who picked the flower. However, the threat of the death penalty for picking the flower has not increased it's abundance, although it could arguably be said that it may have stopped it's extinction!

The Takeaway

It is unlikely that you will ever see a Gentian in the UK, unless you visit Teeside or Western Ireland. Even then, it would require a foreknowledge of what you are looking for in order to identify it.

Should you be planning a trip, familiarize yourself with this rare flower, you could be one of the relatively few British folk who have set eyes upon it.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Rare Collectors Items - The Morgan Dollar


The Morgan(Silver) Dollar

I have been in love with the Morgan Dollar for many years. Frankly, for me, it is one of the more collectible coins that I have treasured. It is, a brand of Silver coin that ranks along with the 'Canadian Maple' in terms of it's esteemed value.

A Brief History Of The Morgan Dollar

The Morgan Dollar was minted from 1878 to 1904. However, it was again commissioned in 1921, which year now forms the most common Morgan Dollars that you will likely find in a collection.

After 1921, the mantle of popular Silver Dollar arguably went to the Peace Dollar. However, whilst also iconic, the Peace Dollar in my estimation, is not as valuable a brand as it's older cousin. Frankly, the 2 coins, whilst both consisting, to a large degree, of Silver, represent two completely different periods of United States history. And, as such, will evoke different feelings of worth in the minds of different collectors, depending on their familiarity, and affection for stages of American history.

What Does This Have To Do With The United Kingdom?

Yes, I am fully aware that the 'Morgan Dollar' is a brand that is completely associated with the United States. However, in today's interconnected world, sites such as Ebay mean that British collectors can also add U.S. coins to their collections. The 'Morgan Dollar' is one such coin that should be added.

You may be wondering: Why is the 'Morgan Silver Dollar' on a site dedicated to rare finds in the UK? Well, I believe that the brand that was the 'Morgan Dollar' is now so long out of minting, and it's intrinsic value was so high, that it should be added to your collection.

I have always sourced my Morgan Dollars from eBay. However, I have noticed, in recent times, that many fakes are now being sold. By law, these 'fakes' should be identified as such. However, I have noticed many now being sold that are not being legally identified. These fakes are often hard to spot with the naked eye. In times past, identifying a fake 'Morgan Dollar' was as simple as holding a magnet next to it. The real Dollar would not be attracted to the magnet, since Silver is not magnetic. 

In recent times, fakers have become more clever, most modern fake Morgans are not attracted by a magnet, making it much harder to identify. The reality of this situation was highlighted to me when I bought a 'roll' of 'Silver' dollars on eBay very cheaply. Everything seemed ok, however, after on-selling them, one of the few that I still had began to peel, losing it's silver coating and showing a brass base. Sadly, after contacting the purchasers of my dollars, most refused to return them, insisting that they were real. Oh well, I tried to do the right thing! However, it does show the number of people that must be fooled by cheaper fakes.

So..In Conclusion

I thoroughly recommend adding Morgan Dollars to your collection. As owner of a London business directory, I deal with buying and selling on a daily basis. Despite seeing literally thousands of products and services each day, I truly value quality merchandise...the Morgan Silver Dollar is one of these.

As with any transaction, do your due diligence. When done, you will have added not only a dollar whose face value is much lower than it's intrinsic value, but you will have added an heirloom that can be passed on to the next generation!

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