100 editions of The Alchemist and counting
Welcome to the 100th edition of the Alchemist, LBMA’s quarterly flagship publication. To commemorate this centenary edition, we’ve set out to produce a bumper souvenir version which celebrates the life of the Alchemist since it was first published in 1995 (there is some dispute regarding the exact date of publication because it was not officially dated, but we believe it was June).
On page 3 of the printed issue, we’ve reproduced the editorial from the first Alchemist, by the then Chairman, Alan Baker, which in the early editions also doubled as the front cover. It’s interesting to note that Alan entitles his editorial ‘Reaching Out’ – something that remains central to the role of LBMA to this day. He talks about the Alchemist featuring market commentators and explains “that is where we look to source the informed opinions and freely expressed views... which will enhance our publication”. 99 editions later, I hope we are true to his word in that we continue to deliver interesting market commentary on a wide range of topical articles impacting the world of precious metals.
What we have attempted to do with this souvenir edition is to pay homage to the Alchemist through the lens of some of the key sectors of the bullion market. We’ve recruited experts in their fields and instructed them to write about their area of expertise with specific reference to past Alchemist articles and features (with hyperlinks to these so that you can re-read them if you would like to take a trip back down memory lane). Our contributors have highlighted not only what has changed (or not changed) over the last 25 years in their respective sectors, but more importantly, they’ve also fleshed out why it changed (or didn’t). To round things off, we’ve also asked them to give a nod to the future to see what they think might change going forward.
WE PAY HOMAGE TO THE ALCHEMIST THROUGH THE LENS OF SOME OF THE KEY SECTORS OF THE BULLION MARKET
We’ve also tried to tell the story of the Alchemist through the eyes of those who have been closely associated with it during the last 25 years. In this respect, we have contributions from all LBMA Chairmen whose tenure spanned the lifetime of the Alchemist. That’s eight past and one present. We’ve also invited former CEO, Stewart Murray, and the current CEO, Ruth Crowell, to tell us what the Alchemist meant to them during their tenure.
There are also some light-hearted pieces, for example, a review of some of the key events, stories and articles that have featured, including the stories that lie behind the front cover photos. We’ve also reproduced in several features some of the cartoons that appeared in the early editions. We hope that this helps bring to life the past editions of the Alchemist and reminds readers about some of the stories they either didn’t know or had perhaps forgotten about.
We’d also like to give mention to those closely associated with the Alchemist but who have not contributed to this edition, including Chris Elston, who was CEO at the time of the launch of the Alchemist until 1999. All of the editors require a special mention. First on the scene was Jeff Rhodes who juggled his daytime job at Standard Bank with the part-time editor role, followed by Susanne Capano, the second editor, who took on the position in a full-time capacity and, in doing so, did so much to develop the quality and professional content of the Alchemist.
WE TELL THE STORY OF THE ALCHEMIST THROUGH THE EYES OF THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN CLOSELY ASSOCIATED WITH IT DURING THE LAST 25 YEARS
The third editor was a youthful Ruth Crowell, who took over as editor after the golden anniversary edition and remained at the helm until Alchemist 66, when she handed the baton to the current editor, Aelred Connelly. Finally, we’d like to thank you, our loyal readers, for your continued support. We hope that this special bumper edition sprinkles a little enjoyment for you all during the difficulties and challenging impact of the ongoing pandemic. And let’s look forward to the next 100 editions.