By Jesse Robitaille
Long-time numismatist Michael Findlay, owner of Certified Coins of Canada and current president of the Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers (CAND), will be returning to his former role of Trends editor.
Findlay, a native of Angus, Ont., previously served as editor of Trends in 2009-10.
“I missed doing it before, and enjoyed doing it, but it was very difficult to do,” he said, owing his bittersweet dilemma to the high number of shows he attends.
“The one thing that helps me now is there are guest Trends editors, so I’ll be involved in talking with them but not solely responsible for coming up with Trends for each issue.”
Findlay, who will be responsible for 16 of 26 issues while the rotating guest editors will be responsible for the remaining 10 issues, also recognized the work of outgoing Trends editor Sean Isaacs, who has served Trends since July 2011.
“I know exactly what kind of grief he could have when adjusting coin prices, so I want to make sure Sean’s contribution for the last six years is recognized as being extremely valuable to the business,” he added.
Although Isaacs will be leaving his post as Trends editor, he will remain a contributor to CCN.
“I want to thank Sean for his contributions and leadership as the Editor of Trends,” said CCN Editor and Publisher Mike Walsh. “I’m pleased Sean will be staying on at CCN as a contributor.”
Walsh also welcomed Findlay in his return to the editor position.
“His previous experience at Trends, combined with his wealth of numismatic knowledge, will help us take Trends to the next level.”
Isaacs said he’s thankful for his time with Trends and lists the introduction of new sections as one of his successes.
“I have appreciated the opportunity to be involved in the publication in this way, and the positive feedback received in response to my commentary was both welcomed, as well as useful in attesting to the fact that your readers do indeed take the time to read our column,” he said.
“I think the introduction of a couple new rotating sections – banknotes and modern issues come to mind – were a positive step, in terms of providing readers with a wider scope of guidance and value in exchange for their continue patronage of Canadian Coin News.”
The biggest challenge, according to Isaacs, was “acting as a balance to all interests involved in the hobby” while maintaining a collaborative process.
“As the introduction to my very first commentary by Bret Evans clearly elaborated, the function of the Trends editor has always been to gather and digest the opinions of the various expert members of our Trends committee, and then to present recommendations based on a consensus to the chairman of the Trends committee.”
This proved to be a “notable challenge,” Isaacs said, as his solicitations for input from members was met with low levels of response.
“This obviously created challenges as, once again, my prime directive was to focus more on the incorporation of collaborative input, rather than the exercise of unilateral judgement when it came to assigning and maintaining appropriate and relevant Trends values.”
Another challenge is understanding the “veracity of grading standards.”
“Whatever price values we choose to assign to a given coin, an MS-65 coin is really only ever worth MS-65 money if we all agree it is truly an MS-65 coin,” said Isaacs. “In summary, all of these various challenges – both interesting and frustrating – combine to make the job of Trends editor an engaging one.”
Isaacs, who served as Trends editor for nearly six years, said there are benefits of having a “fresh perspective” at the helm of the Trends committee, adding it’s a “fitting time in the evolution of Canadian Coin News to pass the torch of this post.”
“I would like to sincerely thank my many readers for their support over the past few years, and have every confidence that Mike Findlay will once again bring his extensive experience and expertise to the job of guiding today’s collecting community as we continue to move forward.”
FULL-TIME FOR NEARLY 40 YEARS
A full-time coin dealer since 1979, Findlay specializes in Canadian, U.S. and world coins, banknotes, tokens, medals and militaria. He’s also a columnist for Coin World, for which he updates retail estimates for Canadian coins (1858 to date) on an annual basis.
In 1985, he founded the Canadian Coin Dealer Newsletter, which publishes wholesale estimates for dealers on a quarterly basis.
Findlay said one area of focus upon his return to Trends will be “higher-grade” coinage.
“A lot of the prices for higher-end coins in Trends now were formulated in 2009-10, back when I was editor, based on population data available then. Since then, a lot more coins have been graded, so I think coins deemed really scarce or rare then are not quite so rare now and will probably need to be downgraded.”
If a coin has had the same Trends value for a number of years, Findlay said he wants to consider all available information and determine if an update is necessary.
In the six years since he has served as Trends editor, Findlay said the entry-level market has “definitely opened up.”
“We’re not seeing the middle-of-the-road collectors that will spend several hundred to several thousand dollars on an item; what we’re seeing at shows, especially at the little one-day shows … is people with want lists for modern coins, commemorative coins, loonies and toonies.”
He said many of these entry-level collectors recently began collecting and attributes the surge of new collectors to the abundance of new Royal Canadian Mint releases. He estimates this entry-level growth “could be 10 to 100 times bigger on the Internet.”
“The whole industry went through this huge rush because from 2003 to 2012 we had this accelerated pace coming to the public from the dealer’s hands,” said Findlay. “All this has essentially been processed now and gone back into the market, but because it was such a rapid pace – 25 years of product off into the market in eight years – now the dealers with stores and dealers at shows aren’t seeing much come across the counter now.”
“What we’re left with is a situation where there’s lots of demand for entry-level coins, and there aren’t a lot out there,” he added.
The Internet has also played a major role in shaping the numismatic market in recent years.
“It’s become a lot more online, web-based and social media-based, so we’re not seeing the same type or number of attendees at shows themselves. Internet access is changing the dynamics of the business,” said Findlay, who added the majority of fresh material is going to auctions,” he said. “There are certainly a few more auction companies in Canada than there were in 2009.”
Any questions regarding Trends can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.