News & Blog

Lord Ashcroft Collection

Posted on Mon, 30 April 2018 by Phil Mussell - Medal News

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Happy birthday to us!

I MAKE no apologies this month in using this “Comment” as an unabashed self-congratulations (although I will apologise to readers of COIN NEWS who will have seen a version of this already!) for as I write this in early April Token Publishing Ltd is about to celebrate its 35th anniversary. Somehow three and a half decades have flown by since the company was first established in a single room above a plumber’s shop in Liphook in Hampshire (on a recent trip to the area I was rather pleased to see that the shop is still there and it’s still a plumbers!). Back then we had one product—the magazine COIN & MEDAL NEWS—and a loyal following of a few thousand readers; today we publish two magazines, dozens of books, sell literally hundreds of products and now have a loyal following of many more thousands. As the hobby has grown so have we and we have gone from just two staff to 11 and have moved (many times) from our one room (using the toilet as storage) to what we hope will be our home for many years to come, in a beautiful Georgian townhouse in the Cathedral City of Exeter. Other things have changed too, of course, and we now have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, offer digital magazines and downloadable books and an app and have truly embraced the 21st century, but deep down we have never forgotten our roots. Deep down we are what we have always been: a magazine publisher who loves the coin and medal hobbies and wants to see them thrive and grow. We have been very lucky over the years; as well as being very privileged to see some of the finest and most interesting coins and medals around and attend some of the most fascinating exhibitions and galleries, we have also met some wonderful people, some amazing collectors and dealers, many of whom we count as close friends. We have attended shows and fairs the length and breadth of the land and across the globe and whilst that kind of thing is tiring we have enjoyed it too—mainly because we love being at the very heart of the hobby. Admittedly not everything we have turned our hand to has worked out, we published a Stamp Yearbook for example (we thought it went well with our other YEARBOOK titles but stamps don’t really mix too well with numismatics if we are honest!). We were also the original publishers of the metal detecting magazine The Searcher (regardless of what you might read elsewhere it was Token Publishing Ltd that started the magazine and published it for its first two years or so) but back then the powers that be in the numismatic world really didn’t like the newcomers in the metal detecting hobby (I was told in no uncertain terms that there were people who felt it better that something remained lost forever than it be found by a metal detectorist) so we had to make a choice, The Searcher had to go and we stuck to the one magazine.

That state of affairs wasn’t to last long however, and the split of COIN & MEDAL NEWS into two separate titles in 1989 and the publication of our first COIN YEARBOOK and MEDAL YEARBOOK came about because of the growth in both hobbies, a growth that has continued almost unabated since. The coin hobby in particular has been enjoying a surge recently with the rush of collectors coming in thanks to the new Beatrix Potter coins et al, and there are sure to be more whose interest is piqued by the new Great British Coin Hunt 10 pence pieces. Medals haven’t surged in quite the same way in recent times as we had our big push (if you’ll excuse the reference) a few years ago when World War I records came online and the family history buffs started to realise just how interesting medals really were. That particular increase in interest also saw a rather marked increase in prices and there was much talk of a South Sea style bubble in the medal world; thankfully that never came about and prices settled back a little but certainly didn’t crash and today we are enjoying a very pleasant period of stability where medals are again being treated as items of real interest rather than as investment pieces to be traded hither and thither. To be honest I prefer it that way, I always thought there was something slightly distasteful about collecting medals solely for investment, in seeking them out just to make a profit. It doesn’t seem to matter with coins, they are money after all, but medals? They mean so very much more, and I for one prefer it when the investors are spending their money elsewhere and the true collectors are concentrating on what they enjoy rather than having one eye of the profit all the time. The medal world isn’t a trading floor as perhaps other collectable hobbies are, it is different and I am very glad we made the decision to split the magazine when we did—yes there are crossovers, and indeed many of you, I know, collect coins as well as medals but there is also a huge difference between the two hobbies and I am very pleased to have been able to help the medal world forge its own unique identity with the publication of this standalone magazine and, of course, the accompanying Yearbook. That said it is all very well publishing a magazine and various books on medals and carving out a niche for the hobby but none of it would be possible without you—when I said earlier that we had loyal readers I really meant it, so many of you have been with us for so long, many from the very start (if not before that when COIN &MEDAL NEWS was Coins and Medals) and so whilst I do want to congratulate myself a little (and thank my team too) I also want to thank you all for sticking with us throughout the years. We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have and we look forward to the next 35—by then we will probably be beaming the magazine directly to your retinas but I’ll be 111 so I won’t care!