28th Oct, 2016

Two sides to Warwick coin dealer's retirement

Sophie Heaviside 24th Apr, 2016 Updated: 11 hours ago

A NUMISMATIST is aiming to keep coining it in for charity.

Peter Viola was a familiar face at Warwick Antiques Centre in Swan Street for over 30 years before his retirement at the end of last month.

But the expert in coins – who are also known as numismatists – will be keeping his eyes peeled in the hope of adding to the £30,000 he has made for charity down the years through selling coins.

The 72 year-old told the Observer: “I really like coins because there’s always history there. When I was about 14 years old my parents gave me a Gothic coin – I can remember that one in particular but I have handled and seen millions of in my time.

“And the centre used to take old coin collections for charities like the Myton Hospices, the British Heart Foundation, Dogs for the Disabled and the Royal British Legion.

“I must have raised £30,000 selling coins for charity.”

Peter found himself drawn to antiques from the tender age of ten, following in the footsteps of his parents who were both collectors.

Coins of all kinds have been Peter’s chief passion, followed closely by teddy bears, white and blue china and English military medals.

While his personal collection is made up of just 20 coins – ones which he will not part with – his selling stock amounts to more than 2,000 coins.

One woman, who brought a variety of pieces for Peter to see, was pleasantly surprised to be offered £200 for a gold sovereign coin from 1910.

He added: “It sounds boring, but I don’t have a ‘dream coin’ I want to find. It’s about what you can find when you’re not expecting anything special to appear.”

But it was not a coin that gave Peter his greatest thrill during his career. The most satisfying moment was the restoration of a piano he found which had been left to rot outside the Tipperary Inn in Honiley – the pub where the famous song It’s a Long Way to Tipperary was written.