Coin News

Volume 36, Number 2, February 1999

The last great State secret?

Volume 36, Number 2, February 1999

WE have been delighted with the initial response to the questionnaire that was included with the October issue of COIN NEWS, with over 30 per cent being returned to date and surprisingly we are still receiving completed forms from places as far apart as Iceland and Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Newfoundland. We are currently assessing these results and our findings will be published shortly, but in the meantime we have noted the unexpectedly large number of our readers who have a serious interest in new issues-a fact which has highlighted the need for more up-to-date information. At present we do our utmost to provide as full and comprehensive details of new issues as we can, as early as possible; but ultimately we are dependent upon the information and pictures supplied to us by the various numismatic bureaux and minting authorities. A perusal of our New Issue pages will soon reveal which countries are forthcoming and which are not. There are those whose names appear regularly and there are others which have yet to appear in these pages. This is not without want of trying on our part. From time to time we write to foreign mints and banks soliciting information and sending them specimen copies of COIN NEWS. As a result, we occasionally get a positive response, although often it peters out after a short time. Would that all the organisations involved were as forthcoming and helpful as the Royal Canadian Mint, the Austrian Mint, the Pobjoy Mint and a number of the Eastern European Mints, whose supply of excellent illustrations and extremely detailed background text is a model of the sort of co-operation which makes our task infinitely easier. It is, of course, in their best interests to be as helpful as possible. After all, they are in the business of manufacturing coins. But coins do not sell themselves; they have to be publicised, marketed and distributed. At the other end of the spectrum, we regret to say that information is often difficult, if not impossible, to obtain from certain other mints often until some time after a coin has been issued. Unfortunately this problem has recently been highlighted by the issue of the new Diana commemorative coin featured on this month's front cover. We were in the peculiar situation of being unable to describe this coin, far less illustrate it, in the January edition, for the simple reason that these details were not made public until January 5-the actual day of release of the coin and the "press day" for this, the February edition of COIN NEWS. The message to mints and other coin-issuing authorities is simple-"our readers are your clients. If you don't tell us, we can't tell them and they will stop collecting if they can't get the information they need!"

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