Fraternalism is defined by Webster's simply as brotherliness. There are all sorts of fraternal organizations in the world, from the college campus types to benevolent associations. While these fraternal organizations are easily recognizable and indeed advertise themselves as such, there are other types of fraternalism which occur spontaneously and without organization. Antiquarians, for example, are often prone to feeling a sense of fraternalism with others who share their passion.
Partially, this is due, I think, to the isolation that one experiences in pursuit of knowledge and intercourse at a satisfying level. In this small Wisconsin municipality, there is most certainly not another human being who shares my excitement about finding a two-headed eagle depicted on a contemporary imitation of a Greek drachm. In fact, most readers of this column will not be particularly excited by the discovery. When a showing of the piece does spark interest there cannot help but be a sense of communion.
This scenario is repeated in some fashion at every club meeting, convention, coin show or get-together where ancient coins are discussed. It is at these events that we gather to share experiences, probe the minds of others, and enjoy a sense of fraternalism that can be found nowhere else, Unfortunately, the accessibility of clubs and shows is very limited except in the largest of metropolitan areas. Those who are able to travel to the larger shows and conventions fare better, but frankly several shows are on the skids as far as ancients are concerned. More and more dealers are turning to their mail order clientele as the mainstay of their business, and understandably so. The costs of supporting a bourse schedule are enormous and the physical toll of a full road schedule has been the undoing of more than a few.
Sadly, if dealers stop attending shows the process may halt because it is through the dealers that collectors meet other collectors, and it is through the shows that we are able to share our interests.
At the recent ANA convention and at the Greater NY Show it was obvious that fewer collectors of ancient coins were visiting the bourse. Some may say that "Pittsburgh is not a good location for ancients" or that "there are 100 many shows in New York", but the growing trend is toward private showings and mail-order sales. Organized shows have become primarily wholesale opportunities for many dealers.
As collectors, we have a vested interest in the preservation of shows and conventions as well as the support of local clubs. Without these vehicles, we are truly isolated and are bound to see fraternalism give way to frustration. Let's get out and support these activities, not just by spending money on the bourse floor. but by attending the special lectures and symposiums, participating with exhibits, and meeting others with similar interests.
We have received a number of letters over the past three years from collectors in rather isolated areas, all asking how they might meet other collectors. In an attempt to facilitate this fraternalism, we will print free of charge the name, major interest. address. and/or telephone number of any person wishing to make such contacts. Simply send your request for this service to The Celator, P.O. Box 123, Lodi, WI 53555.
Speaking of the mail, we heard a tale right out of the twilight zone from David Liebert while at the Greater NY show. It seems that David had corresponded with a client in Canada and the mail delivery from New York to Canada took 87 days. Not so bad you say, as far as mail service goes. No, not so bad if you consider that on the envelope, along with the other typical machine stampings, was a postal processing stamp from Warsaw, Poland!
This month we will be spending 11 days in London. taking in the activities of COINEX week as well as wrapping up some final research on those enigmatic Turkomans. Unfortunately, we'll miss this fall's show at Long Beach but hope to be back there again soon. We highly recommend the show to those who can make it; while you're there tell Sam Lopresto you read about it in The Celator! Have fun looking through all the great auction catalogs coming up over the next three months and when you have a minute to spare write and let us hear your point of view.