Getting back to normal BY the time you read this we will know whether or not the June 21 date for completely unlocking the country and going “restriction free” has been kept to or whether the Indian variant (or the Thai variant announced recently, or indeed any other variant) of Covid-19 has scuppered those plans once again. For the sake of this “Comment” let’s assume that the variants haven’t been enough to push that date back and as this magazine lands on your doormat/in your inbox, we are, for now at least, welcoming a brave new post-Covid world, or a post-Covid UK anyway. What does that actually mean for the world of coin collecting? Well, as you may have realised our hobby hasn’t really been too badly affected this past year: as people have “locked-down” so they have turned to indoor pursuits and hobbies and the “old fashioned” pastimes are in vogue again—and that includes coin collecting, with many people either picking up their childhood collections and getting “back into it” or coming into the hobby for the very first time. Luckily, even with lockdown many dealers have an online presence and auctions too have gone virtual, so the supply of coins has, in the main, been able to keep up with the demand. There has been a downside of course: those dealers with shops have had to close, and undoubtedly their trade will have suffered (those without shops were already geared up to distance selling so weren’t caught on the hop by lockdown) and the auctions just aren’t the same without people bidding in the room (not to mention the fact that potential buyers couldn’t check their lots in person before bidding), but without a doubt it has been the shows that have suffered most. There was no option but to cancel them all—from the smallest local fair to the biggest international, all have had to go by the wayside . . . until now. Now, as we emerge blinking into the post-Covid light, the shows are back on, with July seeing three “biggies” taking place—the London Coin Fair on July 3, the Midland Coin Fair on July 11 and the York Coin Fair on July 16/17. We don’t know yet whether those shows will be regulated in terms of Covid restrictions (remember we are supposed to be restriction-free by June 21). We don’t know whether masks will have to be worn or if numbers will be limited (we’ll put that information on our website as soon as we get it), but we do know that even with very strict rules regarding entry there will be some out there who will be hesitant to attend and will be wary of “getting back to normal”. My plea now is quite simply: “don’t be”. By all means take as many precautions as you see fit, wear a mask (a shield too if you like), wear gloves, take hand sanitiser with you (please be aware of this if you’re handling coins, do ensure all sanitiser is well rubbed in if you’re using it, we really don’t want blobs of it falling onto choice pieces now do we?), keep as socially distanced as you’re comfortable with—I certainly don’t want anybody to attend a show and have a panic attack, but I do want you to attend. Why? Quite simply because if you don’t start going back to the shows then two things will happen—firstly the fairs will fold, they just won’t be economically viable. Their organisers have had a tough year and they need your support now more than ever and I urge you to show it. Secondly, the hobby itself will turn inwards. Already this past year has seen many of us more isolated than we have ever been and only the thought of “getting back to normal” has seen many of us through; don’t now, now that we have a chance to regain some normality, turn your back on it, because if you do you may find one day that it’s simply not there anymore. I know people are nervous, know that it’s been a long year and know that there will be some out there thinking that their days of attending coin fairs are over as they just don’t want to take the risk. I’m urging you, if you’re one of those sitting on the fence about this, to jump down, mask up if you feel you need to and claw your way back to life as it used to be. If you’ve survived this past year Covid-free, don’t let it win now by robbing you of what you used to love. Take precautions, be safe by all means, but get out there all the same — we will be (well to London and York, we can’t make Midland as we have a medal fair on that day) and we look forward to seeing you as well. Cheers for normality!