Volume 51, Number 6, June 2013
Help Always Needed INCREDIBLY we are nearly halfway through 2013, the longest day beckons, the nights will soon be drawing in and, of course the 2014 MEDAL YEARBOOK will go to press. Every year I am amazed at how short the time span between one book and the next seems to be, but I am assured that it really is a full 12 months between launches (this year, as every year, we are launching at the OMRS Convention in London on September 22). The YEARBOOK is, as most of you know, the “handbook” for the hobby—not only is it incredibly useful as a price guide, telling readers of prevailing trends and helping you buy and sell at the right price, but it is also invaluable for identification as well as being a mine of other information (order of wear, regimental pedigrees, dealer directory, museum directory, et al) all of which medal collectors and dealers alike find helps their hobby no end. This “comment” is not however, a marketing sermon extolling the virtues of what we consider to be an indispensable guide (we would say that, wouldn’t we?) but rather it is once again a plea for help. You see, the whole point of the YEARBOOK isn’t just to make Token Publishing some money: yes we are a business, yes we exist to give the Directors and employees a wage but ultimately we see our books and magazines as more than simply a means to an end. We are actively part of this hobby—we collect ourselves and have a vested interest in helping the hobby in any way we can. We don’t just produce the YEARBOOK from some isolated office, with no knowledge of the market and no interest in whether the facts are right or wrong. Quite apart from professional pride and the desire to produce a top-notch product we actually use the book ourselves and if it is wrong we suffer too. With this in mind we try, every year, to produce the most accurate, up to date handbook possible, but often we cannot do that without the help of those far more knowledgeable than ourselves. Between us we have a fairly decent knowledge of medals, built up over decades of collecting but we don’t know everything, far from it, and are frequently in awe of those whose knowledge far outstrips our own. It is to those people that we turn every year to help us compile the YEARBOOK, but even they don’t know everything and we know there are specialists out there who have the most intricate details stored after years of collecting—many of them are readers of MEDAL NEWS and the MEDAL YEARBOOK and it is to them that I make this appeal. Look through a YEARBOOK, go to the medals that represent your specific area of expertise and please, please check the entry—and if it is wrong or can be improved then tell us! We aren’t proud, we’ll accept criticism (if warranted of course—we had one gentleman complain that he had been asked a sum for a trio that far exceeded our YEARBOOK pricing. He was quite indignant and claimed the dealer and ourselves were in league to rip people like him off. It wasn’t until half way through the conversation that he revealed the fact that the trio was to an Officer killed on the First Day of the Somme . . .) and we really do want to hear from you. The point of the YEARBOOK is that it is for everybody in the hobby. It is designed to help expand the hobby, to help it thrive and grow, to ensure that there is enough interest in medals and medal collecting in years to come that we might have someone to pass (sell?) our collections to rather than have them gather dust, forgotten in an attic somewhere. The YEARBOOK might be our “baby”, but that child can’t fulfil its potential without your help. So please, help the YEARBOOK help the hobby: help make it as good as it can possibly be and if you see anything that needs changing tell us—but please do make sure you know your stuff. Last year we changed the Mercantile Marine ribbon round (we reversed the colours) after a number of people wrote in to tell us that they thought we had it wrong. In fact we hadn’t, we’d had it right for years, so this year it is being swapped over again! Thanks to all those who have pointed out the error! So there you have it: my plea for the 2014 YEARBOOK is help us make it what it should be—it will help us all in the long run. I look forward hearing from you in the next few weeks.
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