IBNS Life Member 79 International Bank Note Society
ANA Life Member 6051 American Numismatic Association
SPMC Life Member 424 Society of Paper Money Collectors
I was elected to the IBNS Hall of Fame, a great honour as I stand alongside other collectors who have given much to the IBNS and made it the great Society that it is. I feel humbled, but proud. (April 2011)
The profile by John Andrews, below, pretty much tells you about me and I am not one to brag about my achievements. However, I am proud to have published three editions of English Paper Money. The 6th edition winning IBNS book of the year, the 7th and 8th an honourable mention. In September 2009 I published Paper Money of Ireland, which has become the definitive work on the subject and also won IBNS book of the year as did Isle of Man Paper money that we wrote in 2014.
I am still involved with the IBNS after almost forty years and am at present Chairperson of the London Branch. I have held various International and National posts In the society. In 2002 the Society had its fortieth anniversary where I was awarded the silver medal for services to the Society and in 2012 I received a certificate of achievement at the fiftieth anniversary dinner in London. I am also currently a regional director with the IBNS.
As a dealer and collector I enjoy going to shows and meeting clients – it is not a job, but, a lifestyle.
I do put Blogs on the website for which I could fill pages daily, have a British Notes Facebook Page and put a Newsletter out with a sales list (irregularly), but, the work keeps me busy all day. Sometimes it is hard to leave the office as there is always another job to do.
Pam at the East Midlands branch of the IBNS
This profile appeared in Coin News June 2006
John Andrew meets Pam West
The Passionate Banknote Dealer
Very soon after you get into conversation with Pam, you realise that she is passionate about banknotes. She certainly has had an affair with them for over 30 years – her website opens with ‘A Bank Note Affair with Pam West’.
However, they were not her first collecting love. ‘When I was nine I found a coin. You could just make out the last two digits of the date – 97.’ Yes, she had stumbled across a Cartwheel penny. ‘I didn’t start collecting seriously’, she quickly added, ‘until I was 12. I used to go to Islington to buy from “Eddie”. I mainly bought 1940s silver.’ However, she gave up for various reasons. ‘The album was getting heavy. The pieces I liked were getting too expensive and I was one of six (at home), three had already left and feared my siblings would plunder my collection.’
Numismatics may have left her life, but a new love came along soon afterwards. This was Peter, her husband of 32 years. He was a philatelist and Pam remembers standing in 1975 in a stamp shop, bored out of her mind when she saw a mauve 10-shilling note. She asked how much it was. ‘I can remember thinking, “Thirty bob – I’ll have that”. I never did pay Peter back’, she confesses. From then on it was Saturday morning down the Arches at Charing Cross and Saturday nights raving it up at Woking YMCA coin fair.
Pam was a rare breed. Not only was she a female buying banknotes, but also she was only 18. “I was a five foot girl with ponytails who had just got off her own motorbike”, Pam reflects. ‘”What do you want love?” I’d be asked. I’d say I was looking for mauve ten-shillings notes and would be handed a low grade one. I would then quote a Duggley reference number, specify a prefix and a minimum condition. Suddenly I was ‘Madam’ as I was handed an album.’
The couple got married in 1977 and for various reasons, they cut their honeymoon short by a week. “Peter took me to Stanley Gibbons”, Pam recalls. “I bought a couple of error £1 notes for £6, and then we went to Vera Trinders round the corner to get an album. Then we went to Spink and I bought another error £1 for the same sum.”
In the October of 1977 she joined the International Bank Note Society (IBNS). “But it was after the BIG event – the annual Congress”, Pam added with deep regret. However, she has made up for this initial disappointment since. The following year she joined the committee and has assisted with organising the annual Congress (now re-named the World Paper Money Fair) for nearly 32 years. She became the London Chapter Chairperson in 1981, Congress Chairperson in 1983 and 1986 and on the committee since. She is currently the London Chapter’s Chairperson.
So how did she become a dealer? “My first commercial venture was to have rigid wallets made for banknotes. I had these made in the UK. I sold them to the trade and collectors. Then I had archival quality wallets manufactured, again in the UK and began to supply various companies, including the Bank of England and the Guernsey Treasury”, Pam replied. “I never thought I’d become a dealer, but I started by running a paper money fair and selling notes for someone else who was ill and it just started from there. I became a Mum in 1992 and started full time dealing in 1995. Within six months I was registered for VAT.”
Pam also ventured into supplying accessories for dealers and collectors alike, importing and manufacturing products to suit.
Peter joined Pam to help run the business some seven years ago. She specialises in notes of the British Isle, those of Scotland, Ireland, Eire, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man She also publishes English Paper Money by Vincent Duggleby. Pam’s final word, “I love my job” – that is quite apparent.
The IBNS London branch meets last Thursday of the month at Spink, 69 Southampton Row, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 4ET www.ibnslondon.org.uk
Peter, Glen and Pam in Valkenburg, Holland
Silver Medal awarded to Pam for long term services to the IBNS
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