Like stamps, cheques lend themselves well to be collected in various 'themes' - such as a family tree - constituents of one of today's major banks; geographical - all the cheques for various banks in different towns, counties or your favourite region; banks which suspended payment, London banks, duty stamps or engraving.
The list is as long as you may care to make it and prices range from just a few pence to several hundred pounds for the earliest varieties. There is something for everyone.
Well why not? They are just as much part of our history as are banknotes and stamps. At present, a neglected corner of history - just right for avid explorers. Most people are unaware that the cheque goes back at least 300 years - before even the Bank of England was founded! We can find cheques and financial instruments from the Goldsmith days, the small private bankers, leading to today's joint stock banks - and a lot more in between.
The British Cheque Collectors Society was founded in 1980 by a group of enthusiasts with a common aim - the collection of cheques and the history of banks and banking. Since that time the Society has grown in number, and in recent years the membership has been at an all time high.
Originally, a journal, or newsletter, which was duplicated and A4 in size was sent to members at irregular intervals and commencing with the first journal in June 1987, this then became a smaller, A5 publication which continued until 1988. The Society then went through a period of inactivity, with only four journals being published between 1990 and 1993. Thereafter, 'Counterfoil' has appeared at regular quarterly intervals, and this is now the means of conveying news and information to members.
In recent years, some of the members have visited the archives or museums of several UK banks - National Westminster; C Hoare & Co, the Bank of England, Barclays (twice), Drummonds; Child & Co; Twinings Ltd Museum; Lloyds Law Courts Branch; Harrods Ltd archives and Harrods Bank Ltd and HSBC Holdings archives. We have always been most warmly welcomed by the archivists or curators on these occasions, and members have usually found some detail which was previously not known to them.
It was custom a few years ago, to hold a small auction, following the Annual General Meeting in October each year. More recently these have been superseded by Postal Auctions, which are always well supported by members - achieving 100% sales in some cases. However, there is always the need for 'stock' for these auctions.
We have been pleased to welcome some of the clearing and merchant banks as corporate members of the Society, and have a good relationship with all the archivists an curators.
Copyright 2010 BBHS