Volume 57, Number 12, December 2020
Downs and ups AS WE go to press so England is going in to its second Lockdown, Wales is planning to come out of theirs and Scotland has a five tier system in place that, to my mind rather strangely, starts at tier 0 not tier 1! In short it’s all rather confusing and, if we’re honest, nobody really knows what’s going on half the time, probably not even those making up the rules. One thing we do know is that this year is probably a bust for many things and whilst the Bloomsbury Coin Fair and the Midland Coin Fair are, at this stage, still planned to go ahead on December 5 and December 13 respectively, there’s just no telling whether they will or not, such is the uncertainty surrounding, well, everything right now (we will of course have updates on our website www.tokenpublishing.com so please check there regularly!). January might bring some respite although we already know both New York and “Old” York shows are off, as is the World Money Fair in Berlin, and there’s just no telling what a post-Christmas world will look like so nobody is really able to plan anything right now. It’s all a bit grim isn’t it? Or is it? Whilst it’s easy to feel despondent in the face of renewed restrictions and the possibility of a Festive Season curtailed by Coronavirus measures, and the drawing in of the evenings and shorter days makes everything seem that little bit more drab, we must not lose heart, especially as the coin hobby seems to being going from strength to strength! If you’re a new issue collector the Royal Mint has been keeping you busy with a raft of new coins and whilst you may not have an opportunity to find all of these in your change (some, like the Winnie the Pooh series, are being issued in collectors’ packs only whilst others, such as the Diversity 50p, are available in circulation but with fewer people using cash right now they may not circulate that widely for a while) those that want them can still buy them from dealers or the Mint direct. Those not interested in new issues have seen some huge prices fetched at auction recently both for ancient coins (the record breaking aureus at Roma pictured on our front cover this month) and for milled (MDC Monaco and Morton and Eden both sold Una and the Lion five pound pieces for huge sums recently with the latter also selling a William III five guineas for an excellent price—see “News and Views” starting on page 12 for full details of these). Speaking to dealers there is no doubt that this confidence in the market is borne out across the board with just about everyone reporting brisk business throughout the summer and into the autumn. Usually the “season”, which is traditionally seen to kick off with Coinex in London in late September, sees new life breathed in to the UK coin hobby after the dog days of summer when typically collectors turned away from their trays and cabinets to go on holiday (or at least outside) but this year has been different. With a resurgence of interest in indoor collecting hobbies earlier in the year in Lockdown#1 and summer holidays off the table for many there hasn’t been the usual lull in collecting activity and business has been brisk; it continues to be so. Here at Token Publishing we have seen plenty of evidence of that—we completely sold out of our COIN YEARBOOK 2020 back in May and, as we go to press, well over half the print run of the 2021 edition has been sold too, just over a month after it was published. Subscriptions to COIN NEWS are up and our newsagent sales remain strong, with people hitherto unable to buy the magazine because they were snapped up by the serious numismatists now finding it on the shelves as those people subscribe, eager not to miss out should their local shops shut again! There’s no doubt that the Coronavirus, or at the very least the measures being used to combat it, are getting to us all. We want to go back to the proper normal, not the “new” one being touted by the media, and the uncertainty as to when that might happen is undoubtedly playing havoc with the mental health of many. I haven’t got a crystal ball, cannot say when our normal normal may return but, as we head into Christmas and thence to the New Year with all the hope that may bring, I’ll simply say that whilst many things are indeed a bit grim out there our hobby certainly isn’t one of them—we have weathered the storm so far, indeed are thriving in the face of adversity and, coin fairs or no coin fairs, we will continue to do so no matter what 2021 may have in store! Merry Christmas everybody and a very Happy New Year!
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