Volume 59, Number 7, August 2021
The show must go on? SO it’s now the end of July and ostensibly Coronavirus “restrictions”, in England at least, have been removed so we can all start getting back to normal, can’t we? Well obviously not, not really, masks are still being encouraged, as is social distancing, and the other home nations are being even more wary with their own, slower timetables for “unlocking”. Many people feel we shouldn’t be making any moves right now at all, whilst others think we have to otherwise we’ll stay locked down forever. Regardless of where you stand on this (and I’m really not going to get into the rights and wrongs of it all here) the legal restrictions are being relaxed and that means, at long last, the medal fairs can come back! Now our hobby hasn’t just survived but thrived this past year, as people have come back to collecting in their droves (traditional collecting type hobbies in general did very well from lockdown) and it has been proved that shows aren’t necessary to keep medal collecting alive. Online and distance selling, internet forums and society zoom meetings and lectures have allowed us to keep some semblance of sanity throughout all this and show that it can be done, but there’s no doubt that it’s not quite the same. Many of us have missed the “human touch” this past year or so, we’ve missed sitting around chatting to our phalerist friends about our latest acquisitions, missed chewing the fat with the dealers, missed physically handling medals and learning about new things just through random conversations. We have, in short, missed our fellow collectors. Those lucky enough to have a medal shop close by have been able to visit them in these past few weeks, but many of us have to rely on the fairs to get our fix and so we are very pleased to once again be able to look forward to having our weekends disrupted! Having been to both the Westpoint Antiques Fair in June and the London Coin Fair at the beginning of July, we know that indoor shows can be run in this post-lockdown world, and run safely. Of course, both of those took place whilst we were still under formal restrictions and we knew what to expect in terms of number limits, masks, etc. We don’t know yet whether those shows coming up will be regulated in any way, whether there will be mask requirements or number limits, etc. (we’ll put that information on our website as soon as we get it, please remember that often it is the venue not the organiser that imposes such restrictions) but we do know that even with very strict rules regarding entry there will be some out there who will be hesitant to attend, will be wary of “getting back to normal”—and my plea now is quite simply “don’t be” (I know I wrote something similar to this in COIN NEWS recently, so to those of you who take both our magazines I apologise that you’ve heard this before, but I do think it’s an important message and worth saying here). Yes, by all means take as many precautions as you see fit, wear a mask (a shield too if you like), wear gloves, take hand sanitiser with you (please be aware of this if you’re handling medals or books, do ensure all sanitiser is well rubbed in if you’re using it, we really don’t want blobs of it falling onto original ribbon or tarnishing silver now do we?), keep as socially distanced as you’re comfortable with—I certainly don’t want anybody to attend a show and have a panic attack, but I do want you to attend. Why? Quite simply because if you don’t start going back to the shows then two things will happen: firstly the fairs will fold, they just won’t be economically viable. Their organisers have had a tough year and they need your support now more than ever and I urge you to show it. Secondly the hobby itself will turn inwards, already this past year has seen many of us more isolated than we have ever been and only the thought of “getting back to normal” has seen many of us through; don’t now, now that we have a chance to regain some normality, turn your back on it, because if you do you may find one day that it’s simply not there any more. I know people are nervous. I know that it’s been a long year and I know that there will be some out there thinking that their days of attending medal fairs are over, they just don’t want to take the risk. I’m urging you, if you’re one of those sitting on the fence about this, to jump down, mask up if you feel you need to and claw your way back to life as it used to be. If you’ve survived this past year Covid-free don’t let it win now by robbing you of what you used to love. Take precautions, be safe by all means but get out there all the same—we will and we’ll see you at Yate, Aldershot and any other shows we can get to! Believe it or not we’ve missed them, and we’ve missed you too! See you soon.
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