Happy Birthday to us!
Volume 41, Number 4, April 2003
Happy Birthday to us Unbelievably it has been twenty years since the “birth” of Token Publishing Ltd. Then based in a small office above a plumber’s shop in Liphook, Hampshire employing just two people and publishing just one magazine Coin and Medal News a successor to Coins and Medals and the forerunner of the magazine you now hold. Back then Medal News had been relegated to a small section within the larger COIN NEWS, gone were the days of a separate publication, MEDALS INTERNATIONAL, the market simply wasn’t big enough. MEDAL NEWS then was just 16 pages long, was printed on “newspaper” type paper, and of course had no colour apart from the spot colour used to differentiate it from the coin magazine. Now the magazine is three times that size (and even bigger in the Summer and Winter for our joint issues) is printed on glossy, quality paper and is far more colourful than it’s predecessor. It was in 1989 that we decided to split COIN NEWS and MEDAL NEWS and haven’t looked back since. Although the market is still a small one and indeed our hobby has to be one of the more specialist, there is no doubting that it, the magazine and the company as a whole continue to go from strength to strength. We now also produce the COIN YEARBOOK, the BANKNOTE YEARBOOK and of course our renowned MEDAL YEARBOOK as well as a host of other medal related titles. Our MEDALS WILL BE WORN has practically sold out, KIWI SCORPIONS already has, the DELHI DURBAR 1903 Roll continues to sell well and THOSE WHO DARED has proved a great success. Our groundbreaking POLICE MEDALS OF THE WORLD has been received with much acclaim and HEROES OF THE ALBERT MEDAL is one of the finest works on its subject around. The other titles we have lined up promise to be equally well received and it is testament to the esteem our readers hold us in that we continue to receive dozens of manuscripts every month. Of course as more books are produced and the magazines have expanded and so too has Token Publishing – we now employ a team of eight at our offices in Honiton, Devon and have a host of regular contributors not to mention our valued consultants. Looking back at the magazine we first produced, having brought the title from Epic Publishing, I am struck by some very interesting things; in the coin hobby little seems to have changed, the prices realised at auction were actually higher in some cases than they are today, many of the dealers that advertised then still do so today and many of the names of contributors are as recognisable now as they were then. In MEDAL NEWS there is something of a different tale to tell. Certainly some of the dealers are still trading today - Peter Cotrel, Wallis and Wallis, Nimrod Dix and Glendinings to name a few, many others however are no longer familiar names in the hobby, having passed by the wayside long since there passing is, though, more than offset by the plethora of new advertisers that have joined us in the intervening years. Where once only a handful of dealers specialised in medals now dozens do – and a quick look at the prices fetched by medals then and today might give you an indication why. When the April 1983 issue states the “at the moment the highest auction price for a VC is £32,000” you just know that here is a hobby that has changed beyond all recognition. Back then DFMs were fetching £250, QSA’s were just £30 and a group of four comprising a DSO, 4 bar QSA and a 1914 Trio to a Lt Col wounded and M.I.D twice was being offered at just £385 – I will leave readers to work out for themselves what that group would make today! Of course it isn’t just the amazing rise in prices that has attracted new dealers and new collectors into this fascinating hobby; the release of WWI records has opened up whole new areas of research and the advent of the internet has allowed us both to buy and research medals and their recipients in a way never before possible. This has inevitably brought in certain people who would once never have dreamed of collecting these little stars and discs with their coloured ribbons and so the hobby has grown, we like top think that we have grown with it, helped it grow and even, in our own small way, shaped the way it has grown but we also like to think that neither we, nor the hobby have grown beyond all recognition. Yes it’s more commercial, yes it is more “professional” but its still just as friendly, collectors are still just as willing to share their research, just as happy to talk about their passions and just as ready to give a helping hand to anyone who needs one – long may that continue! To help celebrate our twentieth birthday we are going to be giving every reader a specially commissioned medal later in the year – however first things first we need to get it minted and that means getting a design. Rather than going to a numismatic artist we would like to give our readers the chance to see their work immortalised and so this month’s competition is just that – design our “Anniversary Crown”! You can base your design on the traditional themes of Birthdays, Celebrations, anniversaries etc. Or maybe you want to look at our publications. Maybe the history of the last 20 years, medallically or otherwise will be your theme or maybe, if you have been with us for some years, you want to concentrate on the history of Token Publishing Ltd itself . Whatever you decide get it down on paper and into us – the best will be illustrated in MEDAL NEWS and the best of those will, we hope, go on to be immortalised in metal. See page 24 for further details.
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