[ Jamie Marritt - One of Ian Lambert's official 'Rabbit Integrators' ]
Jamie Marritt was one of the forty individuals chosen by The Great British Coin Hunt to help with the distribution of their ‘circulated’ 2019 Peter Rabbit fifty pence pieces. Based in Nottingham, forty-eight year old Jamie has a busy job as a team leader in a call centre. Although was still very eager to help when it came to getting these ‘purchase only’ coins into general circulation.
I recently got in touch to ask a few questions. I was eager to learn how it had felt to play such an active role in Ian Lambert’s unusual and unorthodox publicity stunt.
On a whole, was being a part of this ‘fun’, ‘okay’ or just ‘downright awful’?
‘I actually enjoyed it very much and I would describe it as a really good experience. There were only a couple of awkward moments…. which I will try to cover as we go on.’
Was it difficult to record a video for each coin drop? Were there any particular difficulties that you ran into?
‘Yes, and this is where the awkward instances came about. To begin with, there did seem to be quite a lot of broken machines which simply spat the coins back out – not ideal when you are trying to capture the process on film. And being discrete with my recording was also rather challenging, like scanning at a self-service checkout. I also had more than my fair share of strange looks when people noticed me talking to my phone! It was….. tricky at times.’
Where did you choose to integrate your Peter Rabbit 50p’s?
‘I distributed them mainly around Nottingham city centre and a few on the outskirts; roughly five to ten miles out.’
What did it feel like to be part of such an unusual publicity stunt?
‘It felt really good to be chosen and it gave me a real sense of accomplishment. It also meant a lot being able to give my support to Ian Lambert and The Great British Coin Hunt.’
Would you identify yourself as a coin collector?
‘Yes I am a collector. I already have quite a large collection of commemorative British issues. I also buy silver proofs and packaged coins. All in all, I have probably spent well over a thousand pounds - and I’ve only been collecting for about six months!’
And what plans do you have for the 2019 Rabbit you received for your services…?
‘It's going into my collection and I have no reason to sell.’
What made you volunteer for this in the first place?
‘Firstly, as I am a collector I struggle to find fair prices for brilliant uncirculated packaged coins. Basically you are paying an average of seven pounds just for a bit of cardboard. So if helping with this stunt will mean fairer pricing then this has to be a good cause.
‘A second reason is I think it’s disgusting that Ian, as a legitimate businessman has to go abroad to buy his stock. Why can’t The Royal Mint just do business with him? Yet, meanwhile, Change Checker and Westminster are able to distribute Royal Mint coins all the time…. I think it's wrong and completely unfair on Ian's company. All the guy is asking for is a fair playing field. Royal Mint think they are so high and mighty and that they don't have to answer to anyone. Personally I hope he sues the arse off them as he has lost a lot of business and money over the years because of them. As far as I see, this is just wrong. Hence I am doing him a small favour.’
Do you think that the whole #WatchOut4TheWabbit thing will have any effect on The Royal Mint and how they go about things? (I.e. that more new coins will go into general circulation rather than being ‘purchase only’)
‘Yes, I am hoping all of this will have an impact, especially as Royal Mint are planning on bringing out a second Gruffalo coin. Hopefully, Ian Lambert’s next stunt will definitely not please them at all. I mean, they must have watched some of his videos….’
‘From what I have heard he is planning on putting all thirty-five uncirculated coins out there. I don’t see why they can’t stop being so childish and just meet up with Ian to sort out any issues. The more bad press Royal Mint receive, the more damage it will do to their reputation.’
‘I sincerely hope these extra coins being added to the system will have an impact on their earnings. I also hope it teaches them that they can't get away with treating small companies in this way - just because of how big the Royal Mint are. So we will see.’
Would you be interested in taking part in anything like this again?
‘Yes I have already offered my services for the distribution of the Gruffalo coins. In fact, I have already bought one of these from Ian along with a letter of Provenance to show my support.’
© Article and images (except where stated) copyright Mik Smith 2019