News & Blog


Posted on Tue, 22 February 2011 by Alyson Thomas - Coin News

Fair comment

On Sunday, February 6, the Token Team (well, Phil anyway) took a rather pleasant dawn drive across the New Forest to attend Rick Coleman’s brand new South Coast Coin and Medal show at Wide Lane Sports Centre, Eastleigh. We always like to support new ventures and, as we have known Rick for some years, we felt it important to give him as much encouragement as possible, especially as this was the first new show on the south coast since 1988. However, with the best will in the world we couldn’t pretend to say the show was “busy”. There were certainly people through the door and a good number of dealers in attendance. It wasn’t a disaster by any means—we have “stalled out” in far quieter places and it was good to see some new faces, both behind tables and through the door, but there were a number of people who we know live locally who didn’t attend and we feel they really should have. This is a small hobby and ultimately we’re all in it together and really should support new ventures whenever we can. Rick plans to continue to run the show on the first Sunday of each month, so those of you who live near Southampton get yourselves along there! It’s easy to get to from the M3 and M27 and there’s ample parking, or for those coming from further afield it’s very close to the airport! We wish Rick lots of success with this new venture. Of course, now I’ve preached at everyone I must confess that we won’t be able to be there every month as we have other fair commitments—quite a lot actually (remember, we attend medal fairs as well as coin fairs), and that brings me to the point of the “Comment” this month—the subject of “fairs”.

Already this year we’ve had a number of successful high profile events, both in the North and the South of the country, as well as some big events abroad. Before 2011 is over there will have been dozens more covering the length and breadth of the land. If you want to (and have the means) you can attend a coin or collectables fair somewhere in the country every weekend. And if there isn’t one local to you then there is bound to be an antiques fair or similar event where coins are to be found. But are they worth the effort? In this day and age isn’t it easier just to sit in front of your computer or in an armchair perusing a dealer’s list and buy direct? Isn’t it easier not to have to get up early and make that effort to be at the front of the queue to get the bargains? Yes, of course it is, and many do just that. But if that is the only way you buy coins then I’m afraid you are missing out. The actual purchase of coins is, I accept, far simpler from a list or website: you choose the coin you want, call the dealer or send an email, pay and lo and behold! a coin arrives in a few days. Easy. But by doing it that way and no other you are missing out on one of the most important things this hobby has to offer: the camaraderie. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t tend to talk about our hobby when we’re with non-coin people; we don’t discuss our new acquisitions or numismatic “wants” with our loved ones; instead we tend to be rather insular about our hobby. By attending Coin Fairs (or of course numismatic society meetings) we suddenly find ourselves surrounded by like-minded people: people who won’t blanch at the mention of an “overdate” or look blankly at us when we mention “roses and plumes”! These are people we can relate to, talk to, people who “get” us, and there is something particularly pleasant in sitting round a table chatting away to likeminded collectors over coffee and a cake. You just can’t do that elsewhere; start talking mintmarks to people who haven’t a clue what they are and see how quickly the conversation turns to other things—you’ll be talking house prices and the state of the economy before you know it! If you do attend fairs you’ll know exactly what I mean but if you don’t, then may I encourage you to do so as often as you can, not just to support the organisers (although that’s always a good motive for going) but also because you may be pleasantly surprised!

The Token Team will be at the Harrogate Spring Coin Fair on March 18/19 and we are organising the Britannia Medal Fair in London on March 20 should any COIN NEWS readers with a taste for medals want to come along.