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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 37, September 10, 2006, Article 9

TAMS DIRECTORY PUBLISHED

Dick Johnson writes: "The Token and Medal Society is one of the
oldest specialized collector organizations within the numismatic
field. (It is preceded by the Orders, Medals Society whose members
collect decorations and military medals.) TAMS members collect a
wide spectrum of coin-like objects. Thus every two to six years
the organization publishes a list of the members' collecting topics.

Their latest directory arrived this week with the latest issue of
the organization's publication, TAMS Journal. The directory is
always an eye-opener for the number of topics which hold members'
interest so much that they seek to form specialized collections.
A topical interest is a very personal thing, only you can determine
what you want to collect.

The old adage, "I collect it because it exists!" sure holds true.
Someone is bound to collect it. The intent of the TAMS directory
is to reveal WHO collects what topic, to encourage communication
between collectors, perhaps of similar interests, and often an
outlet for dealers who have an item they wish to sell, or for
anyone who may wish to inquire about an item of that topic.

This year's directory is somewhat disheartening. TAMS, like
other specialized numismatic organizations, is experiencing a
decline in membership. It has reached a point of about ten
percent fewer members a year. Also those participating in the
directory have fallen off (234 out of a membership of 865 listed
in the2006 directory versus 344 out of a membership of 1035 in
the last directory, published 2002).

Also the number of members without an address is increasing (72
versus 65 percent last directory). The organization's policy is
not to publish this unless the member so agrees. What is surprising,
some TAMS officers addresses are not listed, as are those of a lot
of dealers, yet their addresses are published in the Journal arriving
in the same mail!

To the credit of Paul Cunningham (who edits the directory) plunged
ahead. with its publication despite these shortcomings. The number
of topics listed has increased (294 this time vs 257 last time) while
the number of pages and members are less. Does that mean collectors
who remain are increasing their topical interests? Collecting
additional topics? Looks like it.

I support the directory by listing 10 or 12 collecting specialties
each time. I may not be an active buyer of every one of those topical
objects (I may already have it) but I am very much interested in
more information on those topics. Quote me an associated item -- a
book, an article in an obscure publication, a photograph, or perhaps
a postcard relating to that topic, or something else of interest
about it -- and I can't reach for the checkbook fast enough.

Already I have had my first response to this year's directory listings.
If you are interested in collecting tokens or medals by topic contact
TAMS Secretary, Rachel Irish, 101 W. Prairie Center #323, Hayden, ID
83835. Dues are $25 for the first year. Or inquire at
mrirish5@adelphia.net."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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