Happy 90th Birthday

Posted on Tues, 22 March 2016 by Alyson Thomas
Posted in: Coin News
Happy 90th Birthday Making new friends

OVER the years of writing this “Comment” some subjects have cropped up time and again and, I confess, that there are times when I am concerned that regular readers will get as much of a sense of déjà vu reading this column as I sometimes get writing it. Over the past 30 something years (yes, it really is that long) I have covered diverse topics (or as diverse as our hobby allows) but there are some “old chestnuts” that appear regularly and this month is one of those regular occurrences—but just because I have covered it before doesn’t mean it doesn’t remain hugely important, so whilst I do apologise if the sentiments seem familiar I make no apology for bringing the subject up again as I feel it is tremendously important.

As ever the Token Team (well Phil anyway) were in Dublin in February for the Irish International Coin Fair and, as ever, many of our regular readers, now old friends, were there to welcome us to the Emerald Isle. There were of course a few notable absences as people get older, health fails and travelling becomes more difficult. Nevertheless, there was a good number of familiar faces on hand and, as always, it was good to catch up. Later this month we will be at the Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF) in the Donald E Stephen’s Centre in Rosemont, Illinois and, once again, will thoroughly enjoy catching up with old friends. So what is my point? Quite simply that whilst these shows, and all the ones we attend in the UK, are fun and are great places to meet up with people that we have known for years, we have noticed that it really is the same people that we say “hello” to, fair in fair out, and whilst attendance at the events is holding up, that is down solely to the fact that the regulars ensure they attend. Where, I wonder, are the new people? Yes, there are always a few new faces, of course there are, but let’s be honest about this—there are never that many and I think that’s a great shame. It’s not that the hobby comprises the same people as it did five, ten, fifteen years ago, far from it—so why do the shows seems to suggest that’s the case? Well, the answer to that one is simple—collecting habits have changed and where once you needed to go to a fair to get the choicest coins, now you can collect from the comfort of your armchair using your tablet computer. You don’t need to meet other collectors, don’t need to see coins outside your theme, don’t need to interact with anyone at all—you can do it all from your own home. But how very dull is that? Far better, surely, to get out there and experience coins, and the joy of meeting other collectors, by going to a fair—or even your local society/club—actually immersing yourself in the coin world proper?

The problem is that many collectors don’t feel that the shows have enough for them. They can’t see the point in getting up early, travelling to a venue and then paying to attend an event that doesn’t have what they want—and if the collectors don’t attend so the dealers will stop going: as fewer dealers take tables so fewer collectors will attend and so on. It is a vicious cycle, but one I am keen to see stopped. Without shows this hobby would be a far poorer place and whilst I love seeing my old friends at the events I’m also keen to make new ones. So please come along to a show once in a while—if you’ve never been to one make a point of doing so and if you’re a regular at the London Coin Fair or Birmingham why not go a little further afield? How about Salisbury in May when we will be stalling out at the new fair in Salisbury City Hall on Friday and Saturday May 13 and14? The coin hobby needs shows, the shows need you and we look forward to seeing you at one in the very near future!

If you can’t get to a fair (and there’s really no excuse—they are held up and down the country most weekends— have a look at the diary section on page 90 for your nearest) you can still “get involved” and maybe win a Year of the Monkey coin into the bargain—vote for your choice in the very first “Loony” competition on page 48.

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