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Object Detail

A small copper coin pushed into a piece of lava. " Vesuvius " is written in white pen on underside of base.
Credit Line
An odd reminder of a blast from the past, this chunk of lava comes from the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. Embedded in the centre of the lava is an Italian 10 centesimi coin, thought to be of the type issued between 1919-1937. Mt Vesuvius is one of the world’s most famous active volcanoes and embedding coins in its slowly cooling lava is apparently a long standing practice. Gillian Darley, in her book Vesuvius writes: “Whenever the volcano had been active, visitors could have a coin of their choice pressed into baking-hot dun coloured lava…failing that, there were stalls stacked high with pottery embellished with scenes of Vesuvius at full throttle-or little ornamented snuffboxes, pickle dishes or painted fans, all puns on heat and fire.” Food for thought for the entrepreneur perhaps, should Mount Taranaki blow its top again?
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