Volume 57, Number 8, August 2020
What’s next? SO it’s month three of “lockdown”? Or is it month four? I’m losing track I’m afraid. I know I need a haircut and know that I’d quite like somebody else to do the cooking and washing up but apart from that my life, and I suspect the lives of many of us, hasn’t changed dramatically. That’s the thing about being a coin collector; our hobby has been pretty resilient to this whole wretched business and whilst we all miss the shows the hobby itself hasn’t suffered that much at all—indeed many dealers are saying they are busier than ever and we at COIN NEWS are frequently getting calls from people looking to “start up again” after a period of inactivity. I suppose coin collecting is pretty safe when it comes to most major upheavals really. Extreme weather? Stay in with the collection. Global pandemic? Stay in with the collection. Alien invasion? Try and find out what currency they use and then add it to the collection. Recession? Stay in with the collection and watch as people switch to assets rather than stocks and see the value of the collection rise or, alternatively, watch as prices for some things come down and we’re able to add to our collections once again. Whilst in Britain at least extreme weather is never really a factor, and alien invasion will probably go unnoticed by most of us (I have my suspicions about one or two people as it is). The inevitable fact of a recession is one we probably are going to have to face head on in this coming year. We all know that an official recession (defined as two quarters of negative economic growth, or contraction if you will) is already upon us, it has to be, the vast majority of businesses (outside the coin world anyway) have been frozen for months so the fact the economy is going backwards will come as no surprise to anyone. What we need to watch now is the speed of recovery now that things are beginning to slowly open up. Will we have a “V” shaped recession with a sharp decline followed by an immediate recovery or a “U” shape where we find ourselves bouncing along the bottom for longer than we’d really like? The mainstream media is, of course, talking up a major U shaped depression, predicting the deepest recession in living memory blah, blah, blah. They like to do that, love the bad news and will do all they can to promote it. Actual economists, people not intent on spreading bad news, think differently. We won’t know for a while of course, but whatever shape this recession is, it shouldn’t worry us collectors overmuch. As I’ve mentioned a recession goes one of two ways for the coin collector—either we sit back and watch as people start investing in coins (we’ve seen a surge in the price of precious metals recently and that usually tips over into “numismatic” coins in time) and inevitably see the value of our collection rise or, if prices start dropping, then it becomes a perfect time to start collecting something new or to add to our collection those pieces hitherto beyond our means. Now I’m not a financial adviser, would never dream of giving anyone investment advice of any kind but personally I know the value of my collection hasn’t gone down over the years, true there have been some periods when it has stalled, but those were the times when I went out and bought, allowing me to get to the point I’m at today. During those times when prices were sky rocketing I couldn’t buy and was, I admit, sorely tempted to sell up and make a tidy profit but as I enjoy collecting too much I could never quite bring myself to do it. For me the collecting was always more important than the potential profit. Now I’m not saying the forthcoming recession will have no effect on coin collecting whatsoever, for those who lose their jobs when furlough ends, “extras” will be a thing of the past and if they are coin collectors I fear their hobby may well be put to one side—but as a whole no matter what shape this recession takes we as a hobby will be OK, we’ve survived COVID-19 where others have suffered and will survive what else 2020 throws at us too—just as long as we turn off our radios and TVs and don’t listen to the news that is! Oh, and as for the aliens, check out the next coin show when they finally open up and then tell me we haven’t already been invaded! Whilst on the subject of coin shows, there’s still no definitive news regarding many of the coin shows due to be held this autumn—we’ll bring you updates as soon as we have them.
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