The Story of David Bellis MBE. Part 4. The Mint Advisor
Previously we have spoken about David Bellis’ education and early career, prior to the conception of what eventually became Coin Controls.
In 1969, a new 50p coin was released to the nation with no form of external consultation. It seemed that the design on the face of the coin was the most important aspect to the Royal Mint and the public, and as an engineer of coin validators, that thought was very alien to David. Due to this, David’s concern grew and he decided to form a committee for meetings with the Royal Mint.
As a key stakeholder in the coin industry, David’s ever expanding knowledge of coins earned him the accolade of chairman of the Association’s Committee on coinage, reporting to BACTA and consulting closely with the Royal Mint. Although David’s contributions to the new coinage were plentiful, he noted that he is most fond of his contribution to the change in the alloy of the 20p, so that the 5 pence piece could not be pressed into 20p shapes. David’s recommendation ensured that the change in alloy eradicated the use of fraudulent 5 pence pieces being passed as four times their worth, a great achievement for the man from Oldham.
Due to the formation of the Association’s Committee and the successful alloy change, it was agreed by the Royal Mint that they would provide David and the other Committee members with at least two years notice before any new coins were to be put into circulation, allowing for an ease of use and aid in the prevention of fraud, not only great for the economy, but great for David’s coin validators too.
As David’s personal career was going from strength to strength, the same could not be said for Coin Controls’, as one of their main industries experienced a major downturn. As the share price plummeted from £1 to 37p overnight, David began regretting his decision to float the company on the London Stock Exchange, as most of the shareholders at Coin Controls were locals and friends of David’s. Determined, he continued to focus on the development of his products while the city sent a new chairman, Bill Houston. David noted that Bill did a remarkable job helping turn around Coin Controls’ fortune, something that warranted David’s greatest respect.
Not long after this turn of fortune, Coin Controls was subject to a number of takeover bids and in 1991, in his early 50s, David decided to retire.
Or did he?