A little ray of sunshine
Volume 38, Number 6, June 2001
THE SUMMER is always traditionally a quiet time in the numismatic trade with the usual frenetic fair circuit calming down and whilst the London Coin Fair (this year held on June 23) and the York Coin Show at the end of July are always hugely popular and successful there is always that slight feeling of hiatus in the summer months as the hobby gears up to the start of the season in the autumn. This year however may very well prove to be the exception. These last few months have, without doubt, been some of the gloomiest on record with a general malaise settling across the country - fuelled mainly by the dreadful weather and the scourge of the foot and mouth disease epidemic - and it is a malaise that has affected almost every sector of society. It is no coincidence that talk of recession and economic slowdown comes at such a time. The coin trade has, by and large, been less affected than most during these grey few months; after all, the actual hobby of coin collecting is not weather-sensitive and has no links with agriculture, but there is no denying that related hobbies, in particular metal detecting, have been desperately hit and that has inevitably had knock-on consequences for our own pastime. Metal detectorists have by and large been a rare breed over these past few months, those hardened few prepared to brave the abysmal weather have been thwarted in their attempts to seek their fortunes by the imposed foot and mouth restrictions; public footpaths and rights of way have been closed and few farmers have been prepared to let anyone on their land for fear of what they might bring with them. Beaches, whilst not out of bounds, have been impossible to detect as everyone, from ramblers to dog walkers, have been forced on to them through lack of anywhere else to go. This has inevitably led to the "new stock" of coins that is usually so readily available from detectorists drying up and in turn this has meant that those collectors eagerly awaiting those one or two last pieces have been unable to progress. The weather too hasn't helped matters, with collectors less readily prepared to brave the elements to go to their favourite fair or even local shop; of course it is an ill wind . . . as they say, and the foul weather will have led to an increase in mail order and internet trade as collectors stay by their 'phones and PCs. However, with the advent of summer and the horror of foot and mouth, if not completely behind us at least abating, that is all about to change as we emerge, blinking, into the sunlight and once again set forth to the fairs, antique shops, dealers, markets, et al, in search of that bargain. The metal detectorists too will be out in force again as the rain clouds clear and restrictions are lifted, as they do so, hopefully new coins will find their way on to the market and the dealers and collectors alike will once more be able to find those elusive pieces. The fields and the fairs will again be buzzing as the enforced lull of the past few months is put behind us and so, far from a hiatus this summer with nothing much to do before the new season, these next few months promise to be very busy indeed.
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