Time for reflection
Volume 44, Number 2, February 2006
Whilst this magazine is officially number 2 of Volume 44 and will be read long after the memories of New Year’s festivities have faded it is actually still the first MEDAL NEWS of 2006 and so a little reflection as well as some forward thinking isn’t necessarily out of place. What then did 2005 bring us and what does 2006 have to hold? Well the past year saw a welcome steadying of the market with the huge increases that were being seen on an almost daily basis slowing a little – there are some that will rue the fact that prizes are no longer screaming ahead at an uncontrollable rate but the vast majority of us will, I hope, realise that such growth was unsustainable and was in real danger of making this hobby an elitist one that would rapidly stagnate as no new blood was able to come in. It was getting to the point that even “ordinary” groups were threatening to be priced out of reach and that doesn’t do anybody any good. Thankfully the rate of increase has slowed a little and whilst prices are still going up they aren’t doing so with the rapidity they were – which means you can start collecting something today without fear that by this time next month it will be out of reach, this time next year is a different matter however as prices continue to out-pace inflation quite comfortably and the medal hobby continues to enjoy a boom. As the news from the high street, stock market and housing markets are all more encouraging than they have been of late and consumer confidence is again growing that boom looks set to continue. 2005 also saw a dramatic increase in the popularity of “genealogy” – the study of one’s ancestors and background. Television programmes such as “Who do you think you are?” And “Meet the Ancestors” have pushed the idea of researching the family tree well and truly to the front of people’s minds and this is reflected in the new interest in our hobby by those researching their own family’s medals (and the increase in interest in MEDAL TRACKER) that trend too is set to continue. The 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 200th anniversary of Trafalgar also helped keep medals and military campaigns in the news just two more things that made 2005 a very good year for our hobby. So what do we have to look forward to in ’06? Well it’s the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and there will, we are certain, be a variety of ceremonies and events to mark that sombre occasion. July 1st, the anniversary of the first day - the British Army’s darkest day with 19,240 dead, 35,494 seriously wounded, and 2,152 missing: 57,470 casualties in total - will undoubtedly be the focus for those commemorations although the end of the battle, in November, when a mere 125 square miles had been a gained at the cost of over 600,000 casualties might also be commemorated. 2006 also sees the150th anniversary of the institution of the Victoria Cross – an event already marked by the Royal Mint with two new 50p coins and set to be marked by the Royal Mail with a new stamp. A service at Westminster Abbey is to take place on June 26th to mark the 50th Anniversary of the VC & GC Association – the date chosen to reflect the very day in 1857 of the when the first Crosses were given out by Her Majesty Queen Victoria at an open air Investiture at Hyde Park. All in all 2006 looks to be just as interesting for our hobby as the last few years have been, long may that continue! On a final note we at Token Publishing have been pondering something - we are often asked what the technical term is for a medal collector and we must confess to being a little stumped. In the past “numismatist” covered coins and medals as the two hobbies were always linked but today the medal hobby is almost entirely separate and big enough in its own right for collectors to have a name of their own but what? Are we medallists? Well no we don’t make the things only collect them so what can we be? Any thoughts or indeed suggestions most welcome.
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