Queen's Maundy gifts sold on eBay Pensioners sell coins from Wakefield service

Joanne Ginley PENSIONERS who received Maundy money from the Queen for their loyal services to the community were criticised yesterday for cashing in – by selling the coins on eBay.

Elderly residents, nominated as "pillars of the community", received the Maundy money when the Queen visited Wakefield Cathedral in March.

But sets of coins are now being sold on the on-line auction site. One seller received 129.50 for a set of the specially-minted coins and bids are set to close on a further set, which now stands at 55.50.

The Dean of Wakefield, George Nairn-Briggs, who wrote to every vicar in the area to ask them to nominate people to receive the coins, said yesterday: "This has saddened me.

"If people have accepted a gift from the Queen it is sad they are prepared to sell it."

He added: "A very limited number of people, 79 men and 79 women, were given the opportunity to receive the Maundy money.

"All of them have to be people who have done service for the community or the church and therefore were people

who came highly recommended."

The annual service is held at a different abbey or cathedral in the UK every year. The amount of coins given reflects the Queen's age at her next birthday.

The Dean said he doubted the service would again be held in Wakefield during the Queen's lifetime – making the recipients very fortunate.

But last night one pensioner, who is selling his coins, said each person received 79 pence – made up of seven complete sets of coins and nine extra pence.

"Most of these people will want to keep one or two sets for themselves and give

some to children or grandchildren.

"If they have any left why should they not sell them to get a few extra comforts in life," he said.

But eBay user Denise Green, 51, of Outwood, Wakefield, added: "I think it stinks. It is disgusting that they are up for sale within a month of people receiving them."

In March, 79 men and 79 women were given purses by the Queen at Wakefield Cathedral. Each purse contained 79p in Maundy coins. In a break from tradition they also got a purse, containing a 5 coin commemorating the Trafalgar Victory and a 50p piece celebrating Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language.Afterwards the 158 pensioners were invited to a special luncheon at the Cedar Court Hotel.

Yesterday a pair of Maundy purses and two Maundy service books, given out at Wakefield Cathedral in March were offered for sale on eBay. The purses had attracted bids of 31.55 and the service books had bids of 1.20 and 3.20 each.

The Maundy Service, which is held annually at a cathedral or abbey, dates back to before the Middle Ages. Recipients are nominated and approved by the local diocese, in recognition of service to community and church.