Michael Gouby, started his business career in 1961 - firstly in accountancy, which lasted for only one year, when he realised that it was not his calling.
In 1962 he started his apprenticeship as a trainee buyer in the men's fashion department at Harrods and thereby developed his skills in retailing.
Whilst at Harrods he began collecting coins in a small way back in 1964, when the market was much quieter. As a young collector he found it difficult to sell his duplicates to dealers at a fair price and therefore turned to selling via the small ads magazine "Exchange and Mart"; which in the early 1960's became a growing trend for 'part time dealers'.
In 1965, Michael extended his coin sales by having a stall, on a Sunday morning, in Cutlers Street; a then well known location for buying and selling small antiques, coin and medals. It was located near the other famous Sunday market - Petticoat Lane.
1966 was a turning point; as a senior manager of Harrods approached him, asking his advice, as the store wished to set up its own coin department. They knew of his developing knowledge of coins and that he was dealing - part-time. They eventually rejected his plans for how the coin department should be developed and run and decided instead on the 'safe' option of having an outside coin company wholly supply and price the coins, with a member of Harrods staff simply to sell them. Having decided on this course, Harrods then asked Michael to sell his coin collection, at cost price to them, as well as sign a paper forbidding him to deal in coins in the future, other than for Harrods. In exchange he would be moved to the new coin department as a salesman. Michael resigned.
The Harrods coin department lasted approximately ONE year and made a great deal of money for the 'outside' company but very little for Harrods !
Following his resignation, with a Mayfield school friend, Howard Neville, they formed the partnership of Michael Howard Coins and their first full time retail outlet was a stand in the Antique Hypermarket, on Kensington High Street. They were also to be seen at the Coin Fairs being staged in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester which was a new concept, at that time.
In 1968 Howard joined the company full time and by the end of the year they acquired a second outlet, the shop at 6 Hillgate Street, as well as retaining the stand at the Antique Hypermarket.
However, in 1969 Howard decided that his interest really lay in antiques rather than in coins and the partnership was mutually dissolved. Howard remained for a few more years at the Hypermarket whilst Michael retained the shop at 6 Hillgate Street; where he has been ever since.
In 1970 Michael was joined by Alistair Mackay. He rented part of the shop and sold Greek and Roman coins as well as early artifacts, which complemented and completed the range of stock from ancient to modern. Alistair stayed until 1974 and then moved to Rothwell, in Northamptonshire in 1975 where he still deal with all types of coins, etc. but his main field is ancient Greek & Roman coins. He now also does watch and clock repairs. All the ancient coins (Greek & Roman) in Michael's shop has been identified and priced by Alistair. They still a very close working relationship. See Alistair's website at www.coinmac.co.uk.
In 1986 Michael wrote and published a reference book and catalogue on "The British Bronze Penny from 1860 to 1970" which is now a standard reference book on the subject. It remains as one of the reference book on British bronze pennies from 1860 to 1970. See the web page for more details.
In 1994 he was elected Chairman of the Reading Coin Club which he served for the maximum period of 5 years. He was then asked to preside as President which he did for 3 years. The increased pressures of business, in London, meant that in 2002 he stepped down from any official office within the club. However he still fully supports the club and is an active member and attends the club meeting, most months.
The Reading Coin Club meets regularly on the first Monday of each month at the Abbey Baptist Church, Abbey Square - in the centre of Reading (next door to the library) and is only a 10 minute walk from the main line station.
The meeting commences at 7:00 pm with the talk or planned activity starting at 8:00 pm. From 7:00 - 8:00 pm is time for trading, friendly discussions and beverages, etc. Regularly between 20 to 30 members attend. The club has an extensive numismatic library and a monthly news letter is sent to each member advising as to what happened last month and what is planned for the following meeting, etc.
A cordial welcome is extended to all interested visitors who must be introduced by a member. For anyone wishing to come along to a club night Michael is probably available to be their host as he attend most meetings - just ask him!
For more details about the club, or read some of the newsletters, or check on what is happening next month, etc. why not visit their web site - either now or later at www.readingcoinclub.co.uk
Michael's next book, in 2000, after several years research, was on "The British Bronze Coinage 1860 to 1869" and examines the production of the British bronze coinage; Pence , Halfpence & Farthings, from 1860 to 1869 - the first 10 years of the great British bronze re-coinage. Part of the research material has been obtained from previously unrecorded documents. He also carefully looks at the production of the coinage during the first three years, from 1860 to 1863, when the the Royal Mint subcontracted out a very large part of the work to two other mints: the James Watt and the Ralph Heaton mints, as it was rather busy with the more important business of issuing the gold and silver coinage require for the country. The later part of the research shows which Mints would have produced what coins and possibly with which dies during those early years of 1860 to 1863. See the web page for more details.
In December 2009 Michael published an updated version of his first book on the British bronze coinage but this time it only concentrates on the extremely popular Victorian series. Michael has found many other major varieties for that period, date variations as well as many minor errors and anomalies. This book is called "The British Bronze Penny (Victoria 1860 to 1901) Specialised edition". See the web page for more detail.
In 2014 Michael decided that it was time to retire from running a shop after 48 years and on 8 May 2014 the shop was closed and later that month sold to neighbours so that it could be converted back into a house.
There is no more coin shop at that address !
Michael is helping with the orders received by Michael Coin Ltd. However, he is doing this now in a more relaxed way as he is semi-retired he and his wife are taking more 'time out' !
Michael Coins Ltd can only deal with order - via "mail order". There are NO premises to visit.