A Good Start
Volume 37, Number 12, December 2000
SO IT ENDS, the first year of the old Millennium/first year of the new (please no more letters-there is no answer to this conundrum as the letters page this month is testament to) is almost over and what an interesting year it has been. As well as the expected and inevitable rush of new issues marking this temporal milestone (a rush destined to continue well into the fourth Millennium if the present rate is anything to go by) there have been a number of significant changes within our hobby. The advent of the internet has been partly responsible for at least some of these changes with new companies, and old companies in new guises, springing up all over the place, giving collectors choices hitherto only dreamt of with both buying and selling. However, it hasn't only been through the medium of the web that coins have come to the fore, with the year starting on something of a high note with an uncharacteristic bout of generosity from the Government with the abolition of VAT on investment gold. Now whilst this move may not have a dramatic or long term affect on our hobby as a whole, anything to encourage people to buy coins, for whatever reason, has to be a good thing. Of course the year 2000 has not been lacking in inducements to buy coins, with new minting methods bringing us coloured coins, new shapes and holograms; the aforementioned plethora of Millennial New Issues catering for thematic collectors of all kinds (some of the themes it must be said have had the most tenuous of links to the millennium and some haven't bothered to make a connection at all); the Sydney Olympics bringing forth numismatic gems from countries all over the world (many of whom never fielded a team at the event) and other events closer to home, notably the Queen Mother's 100th Birthday and some good "hoard" discoveries, all serving to bring coins and coinage firmly to the public's notice. The fact that the public has noticed is admirably demonstrated with the continuing queries regarding the annoyingly persistent "£2 coin with the necklace". Inevitably there will be those that will argue vehemently against encouraging new collectors through new issues, etc., whilst others will clamour for more (the debate regarding the US States Quarters programme earlier this year amply illustrates the point), but whatever the view taken it cannot be denied that 2000, whilst not a seeing so dramatic an upheaval in the coin world as was witnessed upon Decimalisation (or will be witnessed should we ever join the single currency), was a year that will be remembered as one that went some way toward re-popularising our often beleaguered hobby; and whilst we cannot yet say that coin collecting has become "trendy" once again, we can at least see signs that new people are taking an interest-let us hope that their interest, if not the constant flow of Millennium commemoratives, continues unabated for many years to come. John Mussell .
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