NO one in the Craven Herald office had the slightest idea what last week’s ‘Curiosity’ was - but not so two of our readers!

Both Geoff Towler and Richard Handscombe were spot -on. Geoff writes: “It’s a guinea scale. It was used for weighing both guineas and half guineas. The hinged weight at the left hand of the top bar could be flipped over to switch between the two. The scale shown in the photo is incomplete; it should have a hanging and folding ‘tray’ at the right hand end of the top bar, but this is missing.”

And Richard says: “It’s a portable coin balance for detecting whether a coin has been clipped or not.”

Anne Read, of the Museum of North Craven Life at The Folly in Settle, elaborates: “These portable scales are of a convenient ‘pop-up’ design, folding flat to fit neatly into a pocket-sized mahogany box. They were made probably in the very early 19th century, and were designed for weighing golden guineas and half guineas to check that they had not been devalued by coin clippers. A small rectangular sliding weight on the load arm of the beam registers on the graduations, which show discrepancies in the value of under- or over-weight coins. Instructions for how to use the scales are printed on a paper label stuck on the base of the box. This set belonged to John Mattinson, whose descendants lived in Austwick. John was obviously a regular traveller because we also have his passport, dated 16 May 1863 and signed by him.”

This week’s ‘Curiosity’ is pictured above. Please send suggestions to: by 8am on Monday.