A helping hand
Volume 41, Number 9, September 2003
Once again September rolls around, and with it comes the publication of the eagerly awaited MEDALYEARBOOK – as in previous years to be launched at the OMRS convention held at the New Connaught Rooms, Queen Street, London, this year on Saturday September 20. As I write this comment the MEDALYEARBOOK 2004 is safely at the printers, the culmination of months of sweat and tears (!) but as ever a publication we will be proud to call a Token Title. The Token Team have, as always, worked exceptionally hard on the book, they do on all our books, and magazines, but it isn’t just they who have helped make the YEARBOOK what it is today – the most eagerly sought after publication in the hobby- for others too have contributed, some in just a small way and some with expertise that has proved invaluable. I won’t mention them all now, they will of course be acknowledged fully in the book but I would like to say how grateful I am to everyone - from those who have supplied the odd missing picture or pointed out small anomalies here and there through to those dealers who have worked tirelessly to ensure that our pricing is bang up to date, their contributions are all valued extremely highly and we simply couldn’t have done it without them However it isn’t only with our MEDAL YEARBOOK that we get “outside help” – think about “ON PARADE” or our readers’ letters column, think about the “MEDAL TRACKER” – without help from our readers, be they collectors or dealers these services simply would work. What point is there in throwing open a question if no-one ever comes forward with the answer or looking for a lost medal if the person who has it, or knows of it’s whereabouts, is never prepared to come forward? Fortunately that scenario never seems to exist in the medal world. Maybe uniquely amongst hobbyists it seems that we are only to happy to share the information we have with our fellow collectors, only to happy to let others find out what we know and in many cases took years to discover. In many hobbies knowledge is closely guarded and those who have taken years to come to one conclusion or another will do there best to ensure that others take years to come to it as well; not so with medal collectors, in this friendly hobby of ours knowledge is passed on freely and whenever a question needs answering or an issue needs addressing you can be certain that someone out there will come to your aid. Ask any medallic or military question, through the pages of this magazine or on one of the excellent discussion groups that exist on the Internet and you can be sure that somebody will gladly tell you what you need to know. Join a Society such as the OMRS and you can guarantee that the other members will only be too happy to help you whenever they can. Of course it cuts both ways as you learn from others so you are expected to help those who come to you but somehow that doesn’t seem to matter, somehow the system works and whether you are a collector of World War I gallantry groups, Victorian Campaign Medals or life-saving awards you soon find yourself learning things from other people in the hobby that it would take you decades to learn if you were to set out on your own. Maybe that’s what makes this passion of ours more than just another pass time, maybe that’s what seems to bind us into something akin to a community; it’s something you don’t get elsewhere – true you get a certain amount of camaraderie in the Coin or Banknote world but a collector of hammered coins has nothing in common with someone who collects modern issues and more importantly doesn’t want to, those two collectors are poles apart and happy to stay that way, with medals that isn’t the case – with the medal world you can throw together a collector of Orders, a collector of Miniatures, one of Police medals and another of medals to the Sherwood Foresters post 1914 and you can guarantee they would all come out learning something and richer and happier for the experience. To my mind that’s a pretty good situation to be in and one that I am proud to say I am a part of.
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