The new revolution
Volume 37, Number 4, April 2000
OVER the last few years this hobby of ours has been going through something of a change with the buying and selling of coins frequently done in a way not available a decade ago - via the World Wide Web. Love it or loathe it there is no getting away from the fact that the Internet is now part of everyday life - practically every area has been touched by this new medium and some have been changed forever. No longer are computers the preserve of the "nerds" and no longer are they seen as glorified games machines, with even the most traditional of hobbies embracing the new technology. Now you can buy or sell coins through on-line auctions, often seeing pictures of the coins rather than just descriptions of them, buy from dealers' lists, order catalogues and accessories, even order a copy of COIN NEWS or the COIN YEARBOOK (www.coin-news.com) all without leaving the comfort of your home or office. Most importantly you can order these things from across the globe, so, suddenly every country is a potential marketplace and, conversely everybody is a potential customer, regardless of where they are. Add to this the "chat rooms" that exist on the web where collectors world wide can join in discussions or impart advice and you have a truly unique forum to take our hobby, and much more, into the new millennium. Of course with new technology comes new apprehensions, with horror stories of lost credit card numbers and undelivered orders circulating on a regular basis, but far more often than not these stories are simply that and have no basis whatsoever in fact; this is partly the fault of the hype and over-hype surrounding "the net", which often gives the view that it is the stuff of science fiction and thus uncontrollable, and partly the fault of those who do not, or cannot understand what this new medium can offer. There are those who will argue that it will change everything, others that it will change nothing. But we believe the truth lies somewhere in between, with the technology enhancing rather than replacing the elements of the everyday that we know so well. For example it is certain that on-line auctions are extremely popular, with thousands logging on and bidding every day and yet the traditional auction houses are as strong as ever with many clients still preferring the buzz of a live bidding session to the impersonal alternatives - proof if proof were needed that there is ample room for all players in the field. The same can be seen when it comes to buying direct from a dealer, many people are happy to buy mail order whether via the Internet or from more traditional lists (after all a list on-line is often just an electronic version of a paper list - those worried about using the web would do well to remember that), yet the attendance at coin fairs is not diminishing and those dealers with shops still report brisk trade. Inevitably some will turn away from this new technology whilst others will embrace it to such an extent that they will be lost in cyberspace forever and never seen again, but those who tread the middle path will, in the fullness of time, reap the benefits of this truly unique and exciting new revolution. John Mussell .
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