Volume 51, Number 5, May 2014
Do what you want… FOLLOWING last month’s article on Nazi Kennel Club medals by Max Everest-Phillips, we were approached by a number of readers who stated that whilst it was of immense interest they didn’t know many people who collected such things—and they are right, few do, and I imagine fewer still collect medals of cement factories as outlined in his article this month . . . ! But that’s rather the point of collecting isn’t it? Especially in our hobby, which is one of the most diverse of all collecting genres. We have people reading this now who collect Byzantine gold, others who collect Royal Mint new issues, those who collect Celtic finds, whilst others spend their time searching for banknote errors. Put a collector of medallions next to someone collecting Provincial banknotes and they seem to have little in common and yet all are to be found reading COIN NEWS or attending fairs up and down the country—ours really is a broad church. And that’s the beauty of it, we can collect whatever we like, be it hammered pennies or cement factory medals! There are, however, a few rules that we should all adhere to and I hope all you seasoned collectors will forgive me if I outline a few of them here for those newly starting out. Firstly, collect what you want—it doesn’t matter what your interests, you’ll find something in numismatics to suit your tastes, even if that means Nazi dogs! You’re a collector, so collect—don’t choose something you’ll only find an example of once every five years, but if you find yourself doing so, then maybe look for a second or sub-theme, you don’t have to abandon your first love but if you aren’t ever adding to your collection you’ll get bored. Always collect within your budget—you can stretch that budget occasionally, indeed it is always good to do so, but not too much or too often. This is just a hobby so don’t start falling out with your wife or family just because you have bought yet another coin you can’t afford and now the holiday fund has disappeared! Don’t collect for investment—at least not purely so. The “I” word is always a delicate issue: we spend a large amount of money on our collections, sometimes more than we can afford (see above!) and no-one wants to see all that money vanish, but if you are collecting just to see a return, there’s always the chance you may be disappointed. So collect because you enjoy it. Buy from a trusted source—whether you prefer dealing face to face at a show, from auctions or on-line, it’s best to buy from someone you know and trust. Build up a relationship with them, get to know what they have to offer and they, in turn will look out for you. Know your grading—a hugely subjective issue this one and whilst it is good to trust a dealer, grading causes more problems than I care to think about: what is one man’s EF is another’s VF+ and that can mean the difference of a lot of money. With war medals and medallions condition isn’t necessarily so important, but with coins and notes it can be everything—know what you’re looking at. Learn your subject. Sure, I’m a publisher so I’m going to say this, but really, read, read, read and read some more. Know what you are collecting and what you should be paying for it. Don’t be envious of others—sure we all know the collector able to afford the hammered gold, all see the stunning results in “Market Scene” and wish we were in a position to have a collection that contained such gems, but if all we do is wish we were able to collect something other than we are, then we aren’t going to have much fun are we? And that brings me on to the most important rule of all: Enjoy it! It’s a hobby, it should be something that makes us happy. If it doesn’t do that for you then maybe you’re collecting the wrong thing—ever thought of cement factory medals?
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