it no longer wears the same anorak as many other “collecting” hobbies seem to.
Coins are a different matter. They have always been seen as a bit more specialist and have always suffered from a bit of an image problem even though you and I both know that whether taken as numismatic items on their own or as a part of a larger history, coins do in fact have some incredible tales to tell, stories that in fact many people really do want to hear.
This has actually become increasingly evident in recent weeks as Token Publishing branches out into new media fields! Some of you may well have heard our Marketing Director Philip in the past month or so as he has appeared on Radio 5 on a number of occasions talking about all aspects of numismatics (including the rumoured disappearance of Britannia from our coins when the new designs are unveiled, and the future of the ip and 2p pieces). He also now has a bi-weekly slot on BBC Radio Devon where he takes ‘phone calls and answers questions (so far mainly about coin and medal identification and values) and on April 13 at 3.45pm, just after Gardeners Question Time on BBC Radio 4, he will present a programme entitled “The Missing Penny”, being the story of the handful of pennies minted in 1933 and the legend that one is still waiting to be discovered.
Now already I can hear the purists groaning—why, I hear them ask, would a respected member of the “hobby” demean himself by answering questions on coin values on local radio, or pander to the myth that there is a ‘33 penny just waiting to be found in a jam jar somewhere? Well the answer is simple—the “what’s it worth?” element, the treasure seekers eager to make a quick buck or two, outnumber the numismatists ten to one and those happy to listen to a good tale outnumber even those.
There are thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people out there with an interest in coins, even if they won’t admit it, and many of them will have collections. Maybe they formed the collections themselves, maybe a relative accumulated them at some point in the distant past, but either way the fact is they have a collection and they could become numismatists. Whilst they may now only be interested in monetary gain, couldn’t they perhaps be encouraged to take their collection further and appreciate it for what it is, rather than what it’s worth? Many of them won’t of course; many of them really are single minded and blind only to the profit they might make, but I can’t believe that of everyone—certainly many of them might be asking “what’s it worth?” now, but they didn’t accumulate those coins purely with money in mind originally, so somehow we owe it to the hobby to try and re-kindle the spark of interest they once had.
So next time somebody who knows that you are interested