News & Blog

Magnificent Modern Miniatures

Posted on Thu, 28 July 2022 by Karen Needs - Medal News

Not this year PRE-REGISTRATION for the Orders & Medals Research Society (OMRS) annual Convention closes later this month (see NEWS & VIEWS, page 6) and whilst you can still book your place after the cut-off date (or indeed “pay on the day”) it will cost you an extra fiver, so it’s worth getting in early. Unfortunately the “Token Team” won’t be there this year. It will be the first one we have missed (apart from the Covid years, obviously) in decades but, it can’t be avoided, that weekend is also Coinex in Grosvenor Square (don’t forget we publish COIN NEWS as well as MEDAL NEWS) and we are already fully committed to that event. Yes, we could, theoretically, split our forces but the idea of crossing London on a Friday night to go from Mayfair to Islington really doesn’t appeal so the decision has been made, Coinex it is. Why, you might ask, is Coinex more important than the OMRS Convention? Well it’s not, they are both the biggest events in their respective hobbies in the UK, but we had already committed to Coinex long before the OMRS dates came out and, to be frank, we don’t know how successful the medal fair part of Convention is going to be for us—and that’s the part we have to make a success to cover the expenses of the trip up from Devon, the parking, the hotel, etc. I’m not for one second suggesting that Convention itself won’t be a success. After two years of Covid-enforced hiatus where the event went on-line only, I am certain that there will be many champing at the bit to get their exhibits et al seen “live” once again, and I am sure the 2022 event will be very well attended, with plenty of people exhibiting and lots of very interesting talks; but from a business perspective that doesn’t really help us. You see, the people attending OMRS are most likely going to be dedicated collectors (anyone who pays £20 preregistration or £25 after cut-off to get into an event is going to be serious about their hobby) and those dedicated collectors will fall into two camps: they will either already know our products and buy our magazine and the Medal Yearbook regularly, or they’ll be very specialist in their collecting theme and will have made a conscious decision that what we offer isn’t for them. The ones who buy from us regularly are likely to do so whether we are at the OMRS Convention or not (and we thank you for that, we really do!) and those who don’t—the ones who collect Egypt Medals to one ship, or MGS Medals to one company present at Salamanca (for example)—aren’t likely to suddenly change their minds about our products just because we’re stalling out at Convention. When you have an “ordinary” medal fair, one that is either free (like Britannia) or a few pounds to get in (like a Mark Carter or Andrew Jukes fair) then there’s always that small chance you’ll get some people in who are just starting off, or have a few medals at home they want to know more about. Those people are unlikely to go to Convention straightaway, if they did they’d be welcome, of course, but let’s be honest they’re more likely to attend the event after a few years in the hobby rather than straight off the bat. And that’s fine, of course, there’s nothing wrong with Convention being more “serious”, nothing wrong with wanting the superb exhibitions and detailed, informative talks that the event has become known for—that is, after all, what makes a convention different from a medal fair—but sadly the medal fair aspect is important from our perspective, it’s our livelihood and if it doesn’t pay to “stall out” we simply can’t justify doing so, especially in these days of high inflation, the ridiculous fuel prices and all the hotels trying to recoup their losses, etc. This inevitably leads me to wonder whether the future of Convention will include a medal fair at all, after all, is it really a necessary part of the event in these days of websites and email lists? There has been much discussion about this very matter over the years and I do envision a time where Convention doesn’t include a bourse and is dedicated solely to the talks, exhibits, etc., and if it is will that necessarily be a bad thing? If that does happen I hope it’s not the case immediately. I hope next year the OMRS Convention and Coinex won’t clash, that this year’s medal fair is in fact a huge success and we rue the fact we can’t make it, that inflation and fuel prices aren’t quite so high in 2023 and that we can justify coming to Convention once again, if only because we used to thoroughly enjoy it and have missed it these past two years; we’ll miss it this year too but with the clash we just can’t justify it—we hope everyone who does go has a fabulous time though—do send us your photos and we’ll make sure we report on it for those who can’t attend.