Coin News

Volume 39, Number 7, July 2002

An Open Challenge

Volume 39, Number 7, July 2002

Last year in this comment I asked readers to share their stories, anecdotes and tales of collecting – a plea that had some interesting and pleasing results; we have included some of these stories in recent issues of the magazine and hope to bring you more in the coming months. That so many of our readers have written in is gratifying however it is also mystifying, it is now obvious to us that collectors do like sharing their experiences, like telling fellow numismatists about their acquisitions, their mistakes, their triumphs and their disasters – but this being the case why is it that our monthly post bag of readers’ letters is woefully inadequate, even for the small space we devout to the subject each month? An “outsider”, judging by the quantity and quality of articles sent in to us following the last editorial on the subject, would have believed that it would be simply a matter of routine to dip into a bulging mail sack every month and draw out all manner of correspondence relating to a host of numismatic matters from the pros and cons of the latest new issues to the relative merits of collecting Greek over Roman or vice versa. That same outsider might expect heated debate to rage through these pages as to whether or not the design of the Una and the Lion £5 was superior aesthetically to that of the Gothic crown; whether buying mail order was better than being able to see, touch and feel the object of your purchase and whether or not Maundy sets are undervalued (for the record our thoughts are that the Gothic Crown just pips Una, mail order is very convenient and if you have a good rapport with a dealer it is invaluable however there is something unique about that buzz you get when finally find the coin you want in a dealers tray at a show and yes Maundy sets are undervalued especially when you consider the relative scarcity of them!) Sadly our mail sack does not bulge with opinions, pleas or snippets of information and where we would hope for constructive debate on the issues that are so important to our hobby we sadly hear only a deafening silence. We cannot account for this, cannot understand why collectors would be so ready to write longer stories and yet so reluctant to write letters; it isn’t a “hobby thing” - COIN NEWS’ sister publication MEDAL NEWS is generally inundated with correspondence, letters that add information to recent articles or correct those articles if necessary, letters that ask for information or impart it, letters that praise the magazine and those that pan it (not too many of those of course) in short a varied and interesting postbag and one we hope, in coming months, to emulate for COIN NEWS. So the challenge laid before you, our readers, is to use this magazine and not simply to read it, to ask questions through it and, hopefully, answer them too, to begin debates, to air your views and to have your say. You the collectors are what makes this hobby so varied and interesting and we want to hear what you have to say, not just through your tales and stories (although keep them coming too) but through your opinions and your thoughts. Please bear in mind, of course that we will not allow the letters page to become an arena for personal grievances or forum for vendetta but if that is understood by those who write in then there is no reason at all why we shouldn’t all enjoy views and opinions of fellow collectors and no reason at all why the “Readers’ Letters” shouldn’t become the first pages you turn to each month “to catch up” – after you’ve all read my Comment of course. I look forward to hearing from you.

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