Coin News

Volume 54, Number 7, July 2017

Krugerland 50 years on

Volume 54, Number 7, July 2017

Going mainstream WE have, it seems, all but sold out of our COIN YEARBOOK 2017—nearly 10,000 books sold within less than eight months and bookshops and distributors eager for us to get the 2018 version out early. Dealers are calling us up hoping to get more copies and whilst we have earmarked a few copies for events such as the ANA in Denver at the beginning of August, we simply can’t allow any more bulk copies to leave our warehouse. To put it bluntly, this year sales have gone mad . . . ! We always do well with the COIN YEARBOOK—it’s a simple price guide that’s easy to use and whilst it might not appeal to the purist numismatist in the same way other catalogues do, it does appeal to the man in the street and the collector who just wants a quick reference to ensure he’s not paying through the nose for something. It was never intended to be an exhaustive catalogue but its place as a price-guide at the forefront of the hobby is assured. That said, we produce the same number each year and, generally, either sell out in late summer a month or two before the new one is due out or have 200 or 300 left. This has been the same scenario since we switched to the smaller format and set the price at £9.95 some years ago. This year, however, we were down to fewer than 100 left by the middle of May and the new one isn’t due out until September—at Coinex. So what has changed? Well, at the risk of sounding too much like a cheer leader I have been saying for a while that the coin market is getting stronger all the time—you only have to go to any coin fair to see that numbers are up and there is a “buzz” around the room, with new collectors coming into the hobby and old ones coming back. At the London Coin Fair at the beginning of June we saw people we hadn’t seen for years who are getting interested once again, the bug having never quite left them. Perhaps, the effects of the 2008 recession are finally being shaken off and people are happy to spend money again, or perhaps those with a bit of spare cash are realising that interest rates really aren’t heading north anytime soon so they may as well put their savings into something else. Maybe it’s Brexiteers, happy that we haven’t had the predicted financial meltdown and spending accordingly in a grand “we told you so” manner or maybe it’s Remainers, worried that Brexit hasn’t actually happened yet, who are keen to get their money into anything other than sterling which they see as becoming next to worthless in the next few years or maybe, just maybe, it is because people are falling in love with coin collecting again. Eagle-eared listeners will have heard COIN NEWS’ very own Philip on a variety of radio programmes recently (and one or two TV ones as well) as he discussed the apparently “dodgy” £1 coins coming from the Royal Mint (as he pointed out even if there are 140,000 mis-struck coins out there that still only represents 0.01 per cent of production—hardly a failure on the part of the RM!) and the demise of the old Elizabeth Fry £5 note. The discussions he had, invariably led on to whether it is worth keeping any examples of old notes or mis-struck coins and, from there, what other coins or notes are worth collecting, with attention often turning to the 50p varieties which seem to have truly captured the public’s imagination. From Scotland to Cornwall and from Ulster to Norfolk, Philip has had chats with presenters and listeners, all of whom are eager to know what coins are collectable and what coins they themselves have found. Yes, many of these callers were simply interested in what coins were worth more than face value and they may well not think of themselves as collectors, but others were keen to share what coins they had; they explained that they were trying to find one each of the £1 coin designs, or were searching only for the “Wheelchair Rugby” 50p having acquired all the others. They relayed how they had originally started collecting the £2 coins as a way of saving and now had decided to try and only keep those with designs they hadn’t already got, whilst others called in to talk about the Beatrix Potter series and how they were passing them on to sons and daughters, nieces and nephews. Whatever they were collecting, and for whatever reason (after all even those looking out for rarities because of their monetary value are still collectors, no different than when we were looking for 1905 shillings in our change all those years ago!), one thing was very obvious—these people were happy to talk about their collecting and there were many of them; finally, it seems our message that everyone is a coin collector at heart is getting through—the difference is that now they are prepared to acknowledge it live on air! So it seems that coin collecting might just be becoming popular again. Some 40-odd years since decimalisation made our currency almost uncollectable in its uniformity, there are sought- after varieties once more—and people eager to seek. The question now is whether the hobby is ready for this mainstream popularity. Let’s find out shall we? Bring it on! For those of you who have missed out on the COIN YEARBOOK 2017 there’s always our app available for iOS or Android and the 2018 edition won’t be too far away!

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