Tuesday, 12 January 2010

One And A Half Puffins



In 1925, Martin Coles Harman bought the island of Lundy.

In 1929, he designed and created a set of coins to be used on the island. The coins came in two denominations, One Puffin and Half Puffin, in honour of the adorable birds after which the island is named.

In 1930, the British courts convicted him of offences under the 1870 Coinage Act for illegally minting coins... he was given a nominal fine, and ordered to cease and desist.

Lundy coin

In 2010, I received one Puffin and one Half Puffin for my birthday - one of the most unique and surprising presents I've ever had, and very apt, considering how much I love puffins.

Lundy coin

With thanks to Wikipedia and other internet sources for providing me with some backstory to my present!


32 comments:

Steve & Sarah Travel the Long Way Round said...

Excellent! I went searching for puffins in Iceland for a couple of days but the breeding grounds were closed at that time of year. It's supposed to be quite a sight though.

The Good Cook said...

Oh, puffins are beautiful. When we were in Iceland a few years back I was able to see them up close and personal. So pretty! Hard to believe people actually eat them though...

What a unique gift - I doubt there are many around.

Tabor said...

Years ago we were on a trip in Canada and one of the island supposedly had puffins, but we were not up to the windy boat ride. I regret that now, of course, because one of my favorites children's books was about a puffin. Wonderful tokens you have.

Diane said...

Now THAT is a cool gift! My daughter loves puffins, too :)

Chef E said...

I am also fascinated with Puffins, have you actually seen one? Make sure you take me a photo, and I hope to see one soon!

The coins are cool!

Vesper said...

What an amazing find! Awesome gift! Thanks for adding the history behind it :) I did't remember this one. Good to know!

jenny2write said...

Recommend a visit to Lundy if you haven't already made one ... tho not in a tent as some people did when I last went (in a strong gale).

BTW commented on your mum's story, it's brilliant! I see she's a one minute writer winner too.

Don't know if you know but I have written a book (on my other blog) www.jabberwock.co.uk/blog - it's got into USA Today so I am pleased about that!

liliannattel said...

What a great gift. I've never heard of these.

Confessions From A Working Mom said...

When I first saw your story headline, I thought, "Hmmm, that's unusual; Rachel is talking about Hugh Heffner?" ("Puffin" is what his old girlfriend Holly called him on the E!TV Series "The Girls Next Door"-- sad TV viewing habits, I have!).

Anyway, I'm glad to see this was a history lesson instead, since I majored in history-- I love learning new things!

~Elizabeth
Confessions From A Working Mom

J said...

I'm trying to imagine going to a shop and being told: that'll be ten and a half puffins, please. :) I hope no puffins were harmed in the making of the half puffins though.

lifelilnotebook said...

One a-puffin, two a-puffin...that'll make a good nursery rhyme...if one can find rhyming words. :D I've always been curious about puffins eversince I saw the symbol on Puffin Books. Unfortunately none of the countries I lived in (Malaysia and now Australia) have that bird, not even in zoos! :(

Richard @ The Bewildered Brit said...

Gorgeous! I've always wanted to visit Lundy. What with its prehistoric remains, association with the Knights Templar and now this! Fantastic!

carma said...

Now that is a neat story!

Lauren said...

Those look pretty cool. My best friend and cousin, Peaches, collects coins. She loves that stuff. :) And maybe I'm just weird, but I love the word Puffin. It has such a nice sound. Haha.

Kimberly said...

Those are beautiful coins. I have never seen anything like them. Thanks for sharing.

Dawn said...

Puffins and Narwahls... I would love to see both of these... but the coins would be almost just as good!
Really cool present.

Louiz said...

Wow! That's just lovely:)

phd in yogurtry said...

And thanks for sharing a little Puffin Island history with us! I love that he designed and minted his own coins. How dull would life be without broken conventions?

Sara said...

Puffins are ridiculously cute. I even enjoy saying their name.

Someone is a good gift-giver!

Toni said...

Damn, I didn't want to learn anything else today Rachel lol. Lovely to read some history; it must have beennice for you as well seeing as you like puffins too :)

JDaniel4's Mom said...

Stopping by from SITS! What a great gift!

forgottengenius said...

That is such an awesome present. :)

Jeanne said...

Those are too cool -- owning them doesn't make you a counterfeiter, does it?

BTW -- I didn't mention this on my blog, because it's too humiliating, but my broken computer contains the only reasonably current (as in, prior to NaNoWriMo) copy of my novel....

Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish said...

What a cool gift!!! And such a neat story! I am all about history.

Kimberly said...

I have an award for you, come on by and get it.

allycupe said...

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog on my SITS day! I really appreciate the commenting!

allycupe said...

oops sent send too fast. That was my first trip to Paris, but hopefully not my last!

Kevin Musgrove said...

First time I've seen the coins, thanks Rachel.

Lundy's commemorative stamps are priced in Puffins.

lakeviewer said...

Thanks for visiting me at When I was your age. How did you find me?

Jeannie, Jane, Angel, Mommy, etc.. said...

Just a little late in catching up with my comments on my blog. Thanks for stopping by!

Marie said...

What an original pressie!!! I love puffins too... Did you know they were called 'lunde' (or lundefugl) in Norwegian? So he might have called the island Lundy because there were lots of puffins there (but then again, if he was British, how would he have known that? I'm not sure) You need to investigate ;-)
http://www.elusivemoose.eu

Iain said...

Hi there - interesting post about the puffin coins - If you wish to know more about this cute bird I have a small website with some good puffin pictures and facts - feel free to visit - www.coolpuffins.co.uk

best wishes - Iain Gordon - Scotland

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