Two Emperors of Britain

Posted on Thurs, 25 August 2016 by Phil Mussell
Posted in: Coin News
Two Emperors of Britain Seek and ye shall find

HERE’S a quick question for you all: why do you collect? Not why do you collect ancients, hammered, milled or whatever, nor why do you collect coins, but why do you collect? My bet is that as well as coins you also probably collect something else too—postcards maybe? Pottery? Stamps (surely not!)? Football programmes? Even if you don’t really think of it as a “collection” and don’t spend as much time or money on it as your coins, I’ll bet there’s something else taking up space in your home, something else your better half moans at you about because they just don’t understand. . . . Why am I so confident about this? Because I had a revelation about collecting recently, one firmly backed up by our post bag in the past few weeks.

My revelation came at the York Coin Show when I chanced upon a beautiful Charles II shilling, a stunning example of a coin that I had been hoping to find for some time. As I reached for it and tried to disguise my excitement from the dealer (after all I wanted to get the best price and I was hoping to be able to haggle, some dealers will, some won’t, I was hoping this particular gentleman would be in the latter group—but he wouldn’t be if he saw how much I wanted that coin . . . !), I was reminded of my own comments in this Editorial a while back about the “thrill of the chase” and how it was such a great feeling when you finally hunted down that elusive addition to your collection. What I hadn’t really considered at the time of writing that was perhaps the “thrill of the chase” wasn’t just an integral part of the fun of the hobby but maybe it’s the main reason for the hobby in the first place. Now, of course, there are many of you who collect new issues, you will buy anything that catches your eye or fits your “theme” that the mints of the world might offer and so perhaps for you the hobby has a different allure. After all, the mints are chasing you as customers not the other way round. But I know for myself and for thousands of others, that feeling of seeking and discovering is what keeps us going. We collect because we love to seek and search, love to rummage and discover, love that “buzz” and that is why I’m fairly certain that most, if not all, of us will have something else that we like to search for when we can’t get coins! After all, there is nothing more disheartening as a collector to find we can’t collect, so when we find ourselves unable to add to our main coin collection we turn elsewhere—of course that secondary collection may be other coins “off theme”, but it will be there somewhere. It’s how we started, searching through our change for the rarities, it’s why we still check our change today for the Kew Gardens or “Drowning Swimmer” 50p, the “dateless” 20p or the “New Pence” ’83 2p. It’s why the US Mint’s “States Quarters” programme and the Royal Mint’s Olympic 50p programme were so successful and why we all choose “themes” that are relatively easy to add to, but not TOO easy —after all, where would be the fun in that?

Why am I so confident in my assertions? Simple—a few months ago we ran a competition for readers to choose their favourite “Year of the Monkey” coin. It was a simple choice that had to be made—there wasn’t anything difficult to do, the prize was a very nice one and we got a decent number of entries but nothing to trouble the postman overmuch if I’m honest. Then, two months later we bring back our “word-search”, a mainstay of this magazine for three decades and what happens? In less than a week we get as many entries as we did for the whole of the Year of the Monkey competition period—and they are still coming in. There have been dozens of them, no, hundreds of them, and it’s the same every time we do a word-search—you love those funny little puzzles and I can only assume it’s because you really do enjoy looking for things—and that includes words. Of course, as I say this I realise that we have gone back to a draw this month, in this case for tickets to COINEX (see page 53 for details) but that’s only because of the time frame involved—we’ll go back to the word-search next time, I promise. For now though you can still think of this draw as an opportunity to search—in this case for coins at COINEX ahead of the crowds! And remember if we get fewer entries for draws than word-searches then that gives those who do enter a better chance to win, now that really is something to consider! So send in your entry today and we’ll see you at COINEX at the Millennium Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London on September 30/October 1!

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