Volume 60, Number 3, March 2023
Over to you THANKS to all those who responded to last month’s Editorial (“Too High?”, February 2023) on the subject of whether or not articles and news pieces covering the coins costing £100,000s, the world records, etc., should continue. For those of you who didn’t see last month’s magazine, the query had been prompted by a disgruntled reader who said he was fed up with reading about things that cost a fortune when there was no coverage for collectors like him. The general consensus seems to be that people like hearing about the stratospheric prices being achieved at auction, like reading about the Una and the Lions and the Vigo coins—both out of a sense of wonderment that such prices are being paid and because, as one correspondent succinctly put it, “There’s always that thought that one day I may be able to afford such coins, I like that possibility and I like to window shop”. That all said, there was also sympathy for the reader whose letter prompted the debate, and people do want to see other items covered—just not, it seems, in News & Views or Auction Highlights. Nobody wants to know what a standard half-crown made at auction or read about Royal Mint year sets being offered on a dealer’s list, such things have categorically been deemed “not newsworthy”. And that makes perfect sense! So if the “ordinary” pieces (and I use the term hesitantly, I mean no disrespect to anyone’s collection or theme, I fully accept that a humble sixpence can be as interesting to a collector as a pattern crown and the word is used here to differentiate the coins most of us collect from the rarities that fetch the megabucks) can’t be included in the News or Auction sections, then where to put them? We could expand “View of the Bay”, but that only looks at eBay prices and there’s so much more to collecting than that one website; we already have a New Issues section so that area is covered, as is the overall numismatic market, so that logically just leaves the main articles. But here’s the problem—authors only rarely send us articles on “ordinary” coins. Nobody writes about Edward VII shillings or George VI crowns; what people seem to want to write about is the unusual, the oddities, the rarities, the “exciting” coins that make the big money. They’ll write about hoards, about errors, about gold, about new discoveries, but they won’t write about a 20th century shilling or a decimal Year Set (unless it’s the 1983 one with the wrong legend on the 2p of course). But whilst our authors don’t write of such things, we know our readers do collect them and so we have decided the best way to get articles about the things you collect is for you to write them! With that in mind, I hereby throw open the challenge to you all—we’d like to read about your collection, or a coin (or token or banknote) in your collection that you especially like; maybe tell us why you started collecting in the first place, or why you changed theme from hammered shillings to milled crowns (or whatever). We’d like to hear your stories, we’d like to know why you collect what you do, what your favourite design is, where you buy most of your coins, how you store them and so on. Tell us your insurance stories or how you learned that cleaning coins or ironing banknotes wasn’t a great idea; let us know what your first ever coin was or which banknote you smuggled into the house after you told your spouse you weren’t buying any more, honest (it happens more often than you think)! Tell us more about you and about what you collect. We don’t want much, we don’t need pages and pages from you, just a few hundred words or so (and a picture or two if possible) on any aspect of your own collection/experience you like. If we get enough of you writing in, we’ll even start a regular column; if we don’t, then it will be an occasional piece—but that’s OK, at least we’ll be doing something to try to broaden the appeal and make sure that those not spending £100,000s (i.e. most of us) don’t feel left out. We’ll still leave the Unas, the Graces, the Double Eagles and the Petition Crowns in the News and the Auction Highlights, but we’ll make sure the little 3d isn’t overlooked either. I look forward to hearing from you.
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