Medal News

Volume 38, Number 1, December 1999

Into the next millennium

Volume 38, Number 1, December 1999

ONCE again it is time for the December issue, which means that Christmas will soon be upon us, and shortly after that the new year and (depending on one's view) a new century and millennium. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very merry Christmas and a happy and successful new year. I would also like to thank all our contributors of articles, news items and letters: without their efforts this magazine would be very thin. I would like to say at this point that, although it may take some time for articles to be published, all those that have been accepted will be published at some time. In 1999 we have devoted more space to Boer War topics as, after all, it was the centenary of the outbreak of that war. We shall, of course, continue to publish Boer War material as it is a very popular collecting theme, but not necessarily in every issue, and this, together with the additional eight pages that we now have in the magazine, will ensure that contributions on other topics should be published more quickly. For medal collectors this has been a remarkable year. At auction we have seen several very large sales from the leading London houses, including the Spink special two-day auction of Boer War material, and the high prices realised by some choice items have probably been a reflection of the lack of new good quality material on the market generally (I have heard this sentiment expressed by both collectors and dealers). One of the features of the sales this year has been the number of "named" collections that have been sold, and this material should now be percolating through the market. Some of that material will not have seen the light of day for many years, and it has given all collectors the chance to acquire highly desirable new items. Although I am very pleased to say that not all these collections came to auction because of the death of the respective collectors (as is so often the case), we have lost some well-known members of the numismatic community; MEDAL NEWS has recorded their passing and their contribution to the activity in which we all share. However, it is sad to see some well-known collectors withdrawing from active participation in our field, and we have to look to a new generation, not only to maintain the profile of medal-collecting, but to increase it, and with it the appreciation of medals, within the population at large. Although it is probably fair to say that the awareness of medals (of all kinds) has been increased in recent years, there are still too many examples of medal groups being split, and consequently their value and interest being reduced, because the owners knew nothing about the historical significance of the group. Indeed, one of my local newspapers, reporting on World War I medals that were at one time entrusted to the local British Legion branch, was clearly unaware of the names and purpose of 1914 Stars, War Medals and Allied Victory medals. We can only hope that the next century will see a distinct improvement in this respect.

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