May 2024

Antiques And CollectablesFeatures

Recently, a lady brought into the shop a large quantity of pre-decimal silver coins – half-crowns, florins, shillings and sixpences. There was over £500 worth! Because the coins were all dated before 1947, they have a 50% silver content and although the coins were not in good enough condition for the collector’s market, they have a good bullion value. When handing the old half-crowns, it brought back happy memories of my youth.

When I was about 13 years old, I worked for a local farmer and got paid a half-crown an hour for working the harvest fields. We were well paid but worked very hard. Those were great days working in the fields from dawn til dusk. We looked forward to dinner time which was called ‘drinkins’. The farmer’s wife used to bring out to the field a big basket full of sandwiches, we used to call them doorsteps because the slices of bread were about an inch thick and full of ham or cheese or sometimes both. The tea came in a big tin lidded jug and tin mugs, food never tasted so good and this was not long after the war when some things were still rationed. 

The old coins got me thinking about the prices we used to pay, when I left school my first job was as an apprentice and my first week’s wages were £2-18’-3d. I gave my mum £2-10’ which left me 8’-3d to pay for my tram fares to work and back, and spending money but everything was so much cheaper then. There were two picture houses in Crossgates, the Ritz and the Regal, I think it was about 6d to get into the Saturday matinee, that’s about 3 new pence. When I got to about 17yrs old the blokes from work took me for my first pint of beer which cost 1 shilling a pint – equivalent to 5 new pence. I am afraid to say I could not manage the full pint and was sick all the way home! My mum who was an absolute angel put me to bed and never mentioned it again. 

To give some ideas of prices, bread was about 6d a loaf, that’s 6 old pennies, fish and chips about 1 shilling, that’s 5 new pence, a new Mini car in the 1960s cost about £470 and when I got married in 1964 our first main house was a 3-bedroom semi detached in Crossgates and cost £2800. The mortgage was £14 per month and I thought how am I going to afford that – I earned £7 per week but we managed and lived in that house for over 50 years, bringing up four children. I do feel sorry for today’s youngsters trying to get onto the property ladder but everything is relative and we found that after struggling for the first few years things got better. After about 8 years we managed to have a week’s holiday in Scotland by which time we had all four children. Life for our family was perfect, money certainly is not everything.

On the antiques front, our little shop is thriving thanks to our loyal customers. We are always short of new stock so dig around your cupboards and drawers for anything old or interesting. You can bring items to the shop or I will call out with no obligation.

Please see advert below for contact details and opening times. 

You May Also Like

Public Reminded To #Bemooraware Ahead Of Wildfire Season
Ambulance Service Pledges Enhanced Support For People With Hidden Disabilities


Must Read

No results found.