Volume 57, Number 10, October 2020
Back at it! IT IS with great gladness, even relief, that we can report that the Bloomsbury Coin Fair is back on! The first show of the new “numismatic season”, usually ushered in by Coinex, will take place at the usual venue, the Royal National Hotel in Bloomsbury, London on October 3. As luck would have it COIN NEWS can’t actually attend that day (a family birthday celebration, already organised) but we would have loved to have been there, if only to try to start feeling that things were “back to normal”. They won’t be entirely normal of course, the show’s organisers are instituting a one-way system, will be ensuring that tables are suitably spaced, are providing hand sanitiser and those in the room will have to ensure they are wearing a face covering in line with government guidelines—but it’s a start! The first coin show since March will, I hope, be the first of many with Midland, the London Coin Fair, Wakefield and on to York in January all following suit as and when they can (please remember it isn’t always the organisers who dictate whether the show is on or not, the venue has to be willing to allow it to go ahead too and some are less willing than others). I’ve missed the shows, I really have and although I won’t go on one of my little rants exhorting you all to get back out there and support them you know I want to! On a side note you may notice this month that the auction reports cover more pages than usual. We’ve tried to cover as much as possible, both of what is coming up and what has taken place over the past few weeks, but we are quite simply flabbergasted at the sheer amount of big ticket items that are being offered at the moment. Now you might think that this is all to do with Coronavirus and people wanting to cash in their assets in the face of an impending recession, and that may very well be true, but what you have to remember is, so far, these coins are all finding a home and at very healthy prices too, so for every one collector selling there are at least two bidding. This coming month even sees “the world’s most expensive coin”, the 1794 flowing hair dollar, come back up for sale and no one is talking about it not fetching at least what it did when it was last sold in 2013, most of us think it will fetch a great deal more! The urge to report on these “supercoins”, and the huge prices being fetched by them at auction, is strong: I call it “Top Gear Syndrome” with a nod to the old (Clarkson era) Top Gear television programme that would, week after week, showcase Ferraris, Aston Martins, Lamborghinis et al that few of us would ever get to drive let alone own and yet which we all loved to watch on our screens. In numismatics we all seem to enjoy hearing about the extreme rarities, about the huge sums paid for coins that few of us will ever get to see and certainly haven’t a hope in adding to our collections, and so they regularly feature in the pages of COIN NEWS—but we do know that they aren’t really what coin collecting is all about and so we do our best to feature the more “down to earth” coins too, they are, after all the lifeblood of our hobby and I think, if I may come full circle, is what I’ve missed most about the fairs. Auctions are great, and of course they feature the more “lowly” coins as well as their more illustrious and expensive counterparts, but nothing beats a coin fair where you can search album after album, tray after tray trying to find that one coin that will “fit” in your collection. You know what I mean, perhaps you’re looking for a fairly run of the mill shilling to complete a date run and know that most dealers will have an example for sale but still you need to see the coin before you buy it, need to know that it will sit in your collection in the right way. The wrong patina, the wrong “feel” and it just won’t work. I can’t explain that feeling, can’t tell you why simply picking a coin from a list or an auction won’t always work for me but it won’t, I need to see the coin I’m buying, compare it to the others in the room, see if it’s right for my collection. To do that, in my case at least, only a coin fair will do and I’m very much looking forward to getting back to them—but then I’m not in the market for a 1794 flowing hair dollar so maybe that’s the difference! (As we went to press, the Government rules on group gatherings changed again . . . please check our website for the very latest updates, www.tokenpublishing.com.)
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