Volume 58, Number 11, November 2021
Coin conversations SEPTEMBER was an unusual month for us at Token, inasmuch as we had not one but two coin fairs to attend (in fact we could have done three)! It’s been a long time since our weekends were spent going up and down the M5/M4 or along the A303 (much more scenic, but also much slower) and so to do two shows in one month was something of a shock to the system. The first one we attended was the London Coin Fair in Bloomsbury on September 4, followed three weeks later by Coinex in Mayfair. We could also have done the Midland show at the Motorcycle Museum on September 12 but we thought we’d ease ourselves back in gently! Now you are probably all aware that I am a firm supporter of coin fairs, I believe they are an important part of the hobby so I’m very pleased to see them starting up again. I have often written in this Editorial ”comment” that if we were to lose the shows then it would be a tragedy, but after having had so long away from them, having had every weekend to enjoy for myself, having not put that many miles on the car these past 18 months, do I still feel the same? Surely now that I’ve seen that the hobby can not only survive but actually thrive whilst the shows aren’t on, do I really still think it’s important to get up at stupid o’clock to travel miles to sit behind a table for a few hours (or stay over the night before, pushing up the cost of the weekend and taking me away from home for longer than I’d like)? Do I really want to carry on doing them, week in week out? I must confess there were times when I was sitting behind the Token table at Coinex, totting up the cost of the weekend (hotels, petrol, congestion charge, et al) that I began to wonder if perhaps my days of attending fairs might be over, or at least curtailed somewhat. After all, these past pandemic-filled months have proved that I could stay in touch with people without needing to see them at a fair, so why am I bothering? Then I realised why as, one by one, those people I had been emailing over the past year came up to say hello and have a proper chat face to face, and I realised how lovely it was to see them all again after so long and how even talking on the telephone isn’t quite the same as a good old-fashioned chinwag. And so, as we put the world to rights and generally caught up on everything numismatic from Royal Mint new issues to Una and the Lion records at auction, I realised that the chances of me stopping going to the shows are zero. For sure, they are expensive (let’s be honest we have to sell a lot of COIN YEARBOOKS at £9.95 to cover the cost of a London hotel for two nights) and they can be tiring (I’d forgotten how exhausting chatting to people was if I’m honest), but they are hugely important to me and the way I collect. I’m fortunate to have many friends with whom I talk about everything under the sun, from politics to the weather, to the latest TV shows, but few of my non collector friends have a clue about coins, they simply wouldn’t know what I was talking about if I mentioned an overstrike, a flan, a field, a proof, a mintmark, beading, a date in the exergue, a legend. All of these, and more I can chat about to my “coin friends” without explanation, we can talk about mintage figures and die numbers, about effigies and edge inscriptions, about Lydian Lions and Athenian Owls without worrying whether those to whom we are talking have either lost the track of the conversation or the will to live, and that’s actually quite liberating. I realise, of course, that for many of you the shows aren’t like that at all—for the dealers they simply want to sell their coins, after all that is their business and the coin fairs are just another way of reaching the customers; for many collectors the shows are about getting in and finding the bargains, or getting that one elusive coin you need before that other pesky chap who collects the same as you do and who always seems to get there first, comes into the room. I understand that, I get that for many, indeed maybe most, coin fairs are a means to an end, just another way to buy and sell, but for me they are so much more than that. And even if they aren’t yet quite as busy as they were pre-Covid that doesn’t matter, not really, they are still somewhere for me to go and talk coins, and I love that. I’m pretty sure my non-collector friends are pretty happy about it too—at the very least it means they don’t have to listen to me talking about planchets!
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