Wiltshire Numismatic Society History


This year saw the Golden Jubilee of the Wiltshire Numismatic Society. On July 15, members past and present gathered together to mark this momentous


Here the Society’s Secretary and Treasurer, RICHARD J. JEFFERY, reports on the celebrations and looks back over the last 50 years . . .


ON the evening of July 15, members of the Wiltshire Numismatic Society got together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Society. A most pleasant evening of good food, good company and many a nostalgic look back over the 50 years of the Society was had by all.

We were delighted that a number of previous

members were able to attend, including our first Chairman (and only surviving founder member) William (Bill) Underwood.


Our current Chairman, Verity Jeffery, gave a short talk about the history of the Society and provided a display including a number of early photographs of Society social events.


So how did it all begin? On 8t December 1965 the Devizes Coin Society was formed, following a preliminary meeting at the Dolphin Hotel in Devizes. Those present at the inaugural meeting were Miss A Dicker, L Coombes, R Evans, T Nicholls, J Cormes, Michael Bowden , R Holmes, N West, W Underwood, C Hazell, T Fell, P Nicholls. Our first Chairman was Bill Underwood and our first secretary was Noel West.

 Meetings were initially held at the Dolphin Hotel with the society’s subscription of £1 1s per annum (one guinea per year). Dr R Siggers ( a well respected GP in the town ) was elected President of the society at its’ second meeting.


In February 1966 the society moved its’ meetings to a larger room at the Bell Devizes when membership rose to some 17 paid up members with many occasional visitors due to the increasing interest in coins.


On 12th June 1968 it was proposed the society should change its’ name to Wiltshire Numismatic Society, and this took effect on 1st September 1968

During the late 60s and early 70s membership continued to grow due to the incredible rise in interest in the hobby.


We were fortunate in being able to attract many important speakers to our meetings including many senior partners from the major London dealers Spink & Son, B A Seaby A H Baldwins etc.

These were some of the most memorable events in the history of our society.

Margaret Bussell of Seaby spoke to us in 1968 on copper coinage which was of course her expert subject. In 1969 Peter Seaby spoke to us on English Gold coins. Also in 1969 we has Dr C M Kraay from the Ashmolean Museum to speak on Greek coinage and in 1971 Howard Linecar of Spink spoke to us on English crowns. An old friend of the society and regular speaker was Robert Sharman, then an important member of Seaby staff and locally the late Barry Greenaway was a knowledgeable speaker on tokens in all forms.

More recently we have been fortunate to have some excellent speakers including our first chairman Bill Underwood who spoke of the tokens of Devizes; Dave Crisp who spoke of his discovery of the Frome hoard with his metal detector in 2010 and Graham Dyer Senior Research Curator at the Royal Mint coming to talk to us about the museum.

In 1971 an enamel badge was suggested for members to purchase at a reasonable cost and this was duly produced . Te design included the 18th century Devizes halfpenny token, a stag.

Toward the end of the 1970s and into the 1980s the society continued to enjoy much support from its’ members and we included in our programme many interesting visits during the summer months. These included some fantastic and memorable visits to the Royal Mint, Birmingham Mint and the British Museum as well as some less formal but most enjoyable

Visits to Broadlands in Hampshire RNAS Yeovilton and St Fagan;s Museum of Welsh Life etc.

We moved to our current meeting venue, the Raven at Poulshot near Devizes in September 1981 (with one or two exceptions on the way) and can now celebrate our first 50 years as a numismatic society with some pride.

The society has a badge (pictured at the top) available from the secretary.


We currently meet at the Raven on the third Wednesday  of the month from March to December at 8pm. The society continues to thrive and we look forward to the next 50 years!