On an upbeat note, I must admit, I love the lyrics from The Christmas Song immortalised by Nat King Cole 75 years ago this year and not necessarily because of the ideal scenario of chestnuts roasting on an open fire. No, in this case, it’s next to the last line of the song which says: “Although it’s been said many times, many ways — Merry Christmas to you.” However, the lyrics grab my attention only because I might change them slightly to: “Although it’s been said many times, many ways — I can’t believe the holidays are upon us already!”
This time last year, I touched on the fact that much of the world was coping as best they can with a pandemic that managed to travel around the planet at stellar speed. Many of us who usually plan their Christmas and New Year celebrations to include family and friends were deprived of this due to strict lockdown and quarantine rules. Travel came to a stand-still and we were told to make due with phone calls, e-mail, and video chat or “face time,” if we had the technical means. The middle of this year seemed promising in terms of trying to “get back to normal” with work, relationships, and activities of all kinds, especially those which included travel. The numerous coin and banknote shows, in-person auctions, symposiums, and activities which included museums and permanent displays at mints and central banks were slowly re-opening and actively looking to attract participants to pre-pandemic levels.
Unfortunately, it seems that many countries have now taken one step forward and two steps back as a new virus variant rears its ugly head once more. I and many of my colleagues had hoped to meet up again in 2022 as we last did in early 2020 to trade stories and catch up. Most especially we wanted to update collectors, investors, and our general readership with new information and events to come. Regrettably, this looks less likely to happen than it did just three months ago. You know what they say about the best-laid plans.
Much of 2020 was challenging as we adapted to different methods of collecting and distributing information, which saw the increase of e-mails, and, believe it or not, landline telephone calls (though thankfully no faxes)! The year gone by was similar to 2020 but with just a bit more optimism as some of us had more opportunities to meet with colleagues and attend business meetings and presentations. Many mints and central banks made up for lost time this year with prolific releases and projects delayed in 2020. Despite the challenges experienced during these nearly two years, I want to acknowledge one constant element, and that is our loyal readers. We’re truly grateful for your valued support. I authored an article which was published here in March 2020 where I wrote “Now, more than ever, perhaps we all a need a welcomed diversion from the realities of life.” I encouraged readers then to embrace our cherished hobby and activity as a means to distract attention from jobs we couldn’t go to, people we couldn’t spend time with, or other places we couldn’t be.
I also have to give credit to where credit is due and that is to all of the people at Whitman Publishing, those who are behind the scenes and maintain the publications both online and printed, continue with research, and have done so with real excellence and dedication. While many of us have had glimpses of normality over recent months, 2021 has been another challenging year for us all. We still look ahead with confidence that signs of the beginning of the end are in the not too distant future where the pandemic is concerned. 2022 is sure to be exciting with many celebrations, anniversaries, international events, and other themes taking place.
As always, it has been my genuine pleasure to bring you information and stories of the latest coin releases from around the world. Both my office and all of us at Whitman Publishing look forward to bringing you the best and latest information where coins are front and centre as we’ve done since the launch of Coin Update and World Mint News Blog, now and for many years to come.
And so, in closing, I would like to take this moment to extend my warm holiday wishes to all of you and if I can go back to true lyrics of the song I referenced in my opening: “Although it’s been said many times, many ways, Merry Christmas to you.”
President, London Banknote and Monetary Research Centre