Standing strong together FIRST things first—I hope you are all well and that this current crisis hasn’t impacted on you too much. I am aware that many of our readers are over 70 and I hope that you will be taking whatever precautions you feel necessary to stay safe. We are, in a way, amongst the more fortunate members of society at the moment, yes I know the average age of us collectors means we might be seen as “higher risk” but there is a silver lining. As collectors we are already used to spending large amounts of time on our own with our collections so being forced to do exactly that is coming as something of a bonus! No longer can our partners or families (or that little voice in our heads, you know the one) nag us to get out and about when we’d rather be researching, cataloguing or even just idly admiring the contents of our cabinets. Now we can simply turn round and insist we are following government advice to self-isolate, and that we are doing it with our medals and research solely in order to keep our brains active—it’s a win-win! Of course it isn’t a win-win for everybody, and I’m not making light of the seriousness of the situation, but rather I am pointing out that, assuming we all stay safe and healthy, a period “stuck at home” doesn’t have to be as boring as it might seem. Now really is a perfect time to put your collection in order, to research that group you bought last year and stuck in a drawer or, perhaps, look at a new theme. As it seems that none of us are going on holiday for a while, or indeed heading out to pubs or restaurants, you may find you have a little spare cash to spend, so, as you’ve nothing else to spend it on (assuming the toilet paper and pasta is securely purchased), why not use that money to add to your collection? Admittedly not all the fairs are likely to be held (keep checking www.tokenpublishing.com for details on what’s still on and what’s not) but in this day and age that’s not an issue, not really. Fairs are great and I am a great champion of them but they are no longer the only place you can buy medals with most dealers having a web presence and those who don’t are more than happy to chat to you on the phone. It’s very easy just to call a dealer who you might otherwise have seen at Aldershot or Outwood and ask them if they have anything that’s of interest. Those dealers that have shops may well still be open too, although many may be by appointment only so do call them first please. And don’t forget the auctions—most are set up for online bidding, either through a third party or their own in-house system, and they are keen to keep business running “as usual”. If you don’t want to bid online you can always, once again, just pick up the phone or leave a bid on the books. Yes, losing the shows for a bit is a pain but we will still be able to buy medals, and on-line forums and chat rooms can, for a while, take the place of those societies and clubs that may postpone meetings—overall our hobby shouldn’t be impacted too much by this pandemic, and it should, really, carry on as usual, but only if you let it. The key thing now is to realise that when this is over, and it will be, we will all want to get back to normal as quickly as possible so please, if you can, don’t panic, don’t hide away in worry but rather treat this enforced period of confinement not as a threat to liberty and the end of normality but as an opportunity to get some serious reading, researching and collecting done. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people say that they stopped collecting because they just couldn’t research as they wanted to (I was guilty of that myself), well now there’s no excuse—if we all have to stay in then let’s use the time productively and please, don’t stop buying just because the shows aren’t all running; the dealers, the hobby, needs your support—let’s make sure that when this is all over our hobby is as strong as ever. As I hope we all will be—stay safe please and remember we at MEDAL NEWS are always here if you need us, even if just for a chat.