Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A week later -- Graduation, Poetry, and Coin Pictures

This is going to be a bit longer of a post, with many pictures. In part this is to make up for disappearing for a week. I'm still no good at this blogging thing. It's also because I got some pictures of my UK proof sets done and I'd like to share them. I also bring news of graduation and what the hell I've been doing for the past week anyway.

 I'll save the coins for last, since they'll be the longest section.

 On graduation: I graduate again this Friday with my third BA (Spanish). I won't get to walk again because I already did last semester, so I just have to content myself with the fact that I managed to do three BA degrees in five years. With graduation comes summer, which this year means moving.

 Last time I posted I had just returned from a visit to my graduate school and signed a lease for the fall. My fiancee was happy and my mother and I relieved, so everything was good. I will have the 11th through 20th of May off from work this month to do some major work on the moving front. We have a lot of packing, moving of stuff down to the farm, moving of large items to the trailer for transport this July, and other things to do. I also have to help my brother move into his new place, and you can bet I'll extract my pound of flesh from him for that.

 On Poetry: I basically spent the last week working on my final project for my Contemporary Spanish Literature class. I wrote two poems, modelling surrealism under the Franco regime and surrealism in the new millennium, then wrote a short analysis of how my poems draw their essence from those specific movements. Let me tell you that, because I have previous experience in this matter, writing poetry in a non-native language is really hard. But when you figure it out, it becomes amazing. And now that I've made the attempt at writing surrealist poetry in Spanish, I have a new appreciation for the style. I also have a new way of thinking about surrealism, and that is that the surreal is "metaphor made not only real but literal." Groundbreaking, I know. But I now have a way of thinking about surreal literature that makes sense to me.

Finally, coins. I got loads of pictures of my UK proof sets. Next post I'll share a couple of my individual coins including the 1900 silver sixpence that will be residing in my bride's shoe at the wedding.
The 1970 proof set was actually put together and struck after Decimal Day and the official change to decimal currency in the UK. It contains the last examples of the classic £sd currency.
The obverse side of the last predecimal coins.
The reverse side of the last predecimal coins.
February 15, 1971 marked Decimal Day, the switch to decimal currency for the UK. Rather than have the old 1 pound = 20 shillings = 240 pence (and the various other oddities, such as the crown being five shillings, a guinea twenty-one shillings, etc.), Britain embraced common sense and defined the pound in terms of 100 new pence.
The obverse side of the new decimal currency. The five and ten pence coins were identical in size and composition to the one and two shilling coins, respectively, and carried the same value during the transition.
The reverse of the new decimal coins. The "New" on the reverse remained on every coin until 1981. 1982 saw the creation of the 20 pence coin and the replacement of "New" with the denomination.
The 1973 set includes text commemorating the formation (and British membership) in the European Economic Community, the precursor to the European Union. The 50p coin has a special reverse for the occasion.
The obverse side of the set. Note the coloration of the 2p coin.
The reverse side of the set. I like the reverse on the 50p coin.
A close up shot of the 2p coin. This sort of toning happens to brass coins sometimes if exposed to water damage. The set probably got some water spilled on it in the past and over the years the coin has discolored. I kind of like it, since it looks like a bimetallic coin.
The 1977 set commemorates the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The Royal Mint reintroduced a commemorative One Crown coin (25p) for the occasion. Due to the coin's excessive size for its face value, Crown coins after 1990 have a valuation of £5 rather than 25p.
The obverse of the set. The Crown has a special obverse of the Queen on horseback in honor of her Silver Jubilee.
The reverse of the 1977 set.
This is the 1988 set case. It's the first UK proof set I purchased.
I love the frosty look of the portrait side in this set. The quality of the strikes is really there.
The reverse of the 1988 set doesn't dissappoint either.

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