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The 2004 (39th) edition of Spink’s annual Coins of England and the United Kingdom has just thudded onto my desk. This dense volume (531 pages on glossy paper) covers coins relating to England from Celtic times to the present day. 

The prices have been extensively reviewed and it seems more so than in most years. Five pages are devoted to a general assessment of market trends and it is certainly not a puff for the activities of the publishers. From this we learn that the average price has risen some 15 per cent and rises outnumber falls by some 90 per cent to two per cent. Overall, the premium for attractive and well-struck examples continues to grow at the expense of unattractive or esoteric examples.

Spink report that there are more buyers than sellers, which means material is increasingly thinly spread. Furthermore, the investment buyer seems now to be the exception. This bodes for a stable market because sheep-like investors tend to unload when the market is dodgy.

I have just been handed the first issue of a new magazine published in London. It is entitled Current World Archaeology and is edited by Andrew Selkirk. Running to 68 pages, it is a sister paper to Current Archaeology which has been around for some 35 years with a readership of about 20,000 subscribers. This issue offers an interview with John Curtis, the British Museum’s Keeper of the Department of the Ancient Near East, on what he and the BM are doing to assist the museums of Iraq. (The answer seems to be: quite a lot.)

This new journal will be useful to the trade because it will give early notice of new hot-spots of theft and looting.
It is published six times a year at a subscription of £20. I venture to suggest that this is hardly expensive. To subscribe, telephone: 020 7435 7517.