Yesterday in Dublin.
This is my first real experience of a Numismatic Event. Coin Dealers are usually peripheral figures at Stamp Fairs. There is of course an overlap.
Prior to going to a major Stamp Exhibition/Fair or the local monthly Collector Fairs, it is always a good idea to manage expectations. Too often, I have looked forward to events which have been disappointing and occasionally when I had low expectations, I have been pleasantly surprised.
This was actually a pretty big deal.
This “Euro note” is an amusing souvenir marking fifty years of the event.
I went (as I thought) prepared. First off, there was only one stamp dealer and certainly I heard people express disappointment that there were not more present.
I did not pick up any stamps yesterday but I did pick up six First Day Covers from the 1960s and 1970s. As I explained in a recent video, I find these hand written, addressed covers from a time when the Stamp Collecting hobby was at its peak to be interesting. They are at rock bottom prices. So I was happy about that.
Postcards .I bought over thirty cards. Actually I bought them as postmarks from the 1900-1922 pre-Irish Independence era. A very different Ireland …British stamps and “English” postmarks. Some duplication with postmarks that I already have but around two-thirds are “new” to me.
Four of these postcards are shown above. I did not even look at the front of the cards until I was on the train home. Surprisingly none are topographical (views). They are mostly about some form of relationship or humour and even two or three that feature characters from Charles Dickens novels. So I think these cards were previously owned by a collector.
A word about the Valentine card. There is no message or signature but it was posted in Galway in 1911. The addressee lived in Dublin.
Coins. Well I took a wants list of just ten USA coins…quarters from the States/Territories. And I picked up seven of them. So in that series, I am missing just three …Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin. I suppose “collecting” implies a start and a finish…eg fifty states and six territories but USA seems to have taken it a step further with national parks etc on quarters and other themes on other coins. And in a curious way this makes collecting seem endless and less satisfying. There is a balance between having enough to collect and having too many to collect.
I also picked up one Irish sixpence.
I look on this Coin Fair as a learning experience. Some things to ponder.
1…if I am serious about Coins as a secondary hobby, then I have to consider means of storage/display.
2…several walks around the hall, I got to size up the Dealers, the Irish regulars, the English and international visitors. And to some extent, I got to see coin values and the premium attached to condition. I have always been satisfied with collecting circulated coins so I have paid little attention to condition.
3…sizing up the coin collectors. Going back almost fifty years, it seems that Stamp Collecting was more popular than Coin Collecting. It seems that this has changed. And while most coin collectors seem middle aged and elderly, there was a reasonable number of younger folks.
4…the impact of the Euro. Without fact-checking, I think the Euro currency is used in 19 member states of the European Union and at least four other nations (Monaco, Andorra, San Marino and Vatican). This means that on each trip to Dublin, I come home with euro coins in various denominations. Last night I brought home just nine coins…three Irish, three Spanish, two German and one French. Thru tourism, we don’t usually notice the common coins but sometimes a coin from Latvia, Finland or Slovenia makes its way into my pocket.
Seemingly this has boosted Coin collecting among the young. In a recent video, I made the point that “collectables” only become “collectable” when they stop being common-place. But I think there is an equally valid point that something new can create a collecting interest.
But it might well be a long shot to find a 2012 Latvian 50 cents coin in change in Dublin. Or a 2016 Finnish 1 cent coin in Cork. Or a 2018 Slovene 10 cents coin in Waterford. But Dealers can supply the coins. At a price.
I think this produces a de facto exchange rate within the limited world of Numismatics. In McDonalds or Starbucks, a Vatican euro has parity with an Irish euro. But not in the mind of a keen coin collector.
5…precious metals such as Gold and Silver. Bought and sold yesterday but it is not really Numismatics.
6…”Gun Money”. This is Irish coinage made from gun metal or bells etc and were minted between 1689 and 1691 by the Jacobite forces in Ireland. They were designed to be redeemed by soldiers for silver coinage in the event of “King” James II winning the war with “King” William. They often show a month of issue as a form of interest based on how long the soldier served. As I have a lifelong interest in this period of history, I really need to have an example.
7…USA Coins. On one level, I am happy that I only have three State Quarters to find. But the plethora of USA issues means I am not tempted to take any meaningful interest in other coins.
My overall impression is that too much interest in Irish or other coins means a distraction from the main business in hand…Stamps. And really this was a first step. Still a lot to learn.