Closing Comments January 1995 page 46 The CN Journal By Paul Fiocca

A once in a lifetime chance. Oh yes another one., This one presented itself late in November, a chance to get to Montreal, visit the Nuphilex show, set up for a sports show, visit the Montreal CSDA stamp show, all in one week and one trip. Boy, what an opportunity.

So we loaded up the truck and away we went. Driving conditions were great, most of my trips to Montreal usually include an ice storm. Stopped in Toronto and visited the stamp show on the way and finally lumbered into Montreal in the early evening.

Next day, it’s off to Nuphilex. Great! Say hello to Marc Verret and Serge Laramée and enjoy a great day visiting some of some of our Montreal area dealers and readers. Sad news from André Girard at the Mint, he’s leaving and this would be his last show. Good luck, André we’ll all miss you.

Lunch provided a first, the bilingual Chinese propaganda cookie. “La vitesse tue” or in English “Speed kills” sponsored by Wing’s Chinese foods and the Metro Police. What a promotion, who knows, “Buy Gold Coins” sponsored by Wong’s Numismatics or even Mintmaster. Think about it.

Prophetic cookie, maybe. Three days later I change hotels, it’s out to the east end of the city and within a few hours, I’m walking home. Checked in at 11:00 am, parked the truck by the hotel door and by 3:00 that afternoon, “voilá” no truck. Gone. Wow, an opportunity to practice my horrible French with the Metro Police.

Bad news! When I asked if they’ll find my little truck, the officer just smiled and laughed. Oh, well call the insurance company, cancel the car phone, list all the contents, did I tell you they don’t pay you for contents now until you replace all of it. Call the travel agent and take the train home.

My wife took the train home on Monday and said the train wreck was really interesting to look at, all the burned out cars were still there on the track. She also mumbled something nasty about maybe I should have told her about it before she left. Ah! there’s nothing like show travel.

Closing Comments March 1995 page 94 The CN Journal By Paul Fiocca

The electronic Journal is here. This issue of the Journal was prepared in an entirely digitized format. What’s that mean? It means that there were no conventional photographic halftones used and that the film needed to make the plates to print the Journal was done directly from a computer without any paste-up of any kind. Essentially that is, we shipped a large diskette to the printer and that was that.

Is that good? I don’t know. It means less pollutants created because of reduced conventional photography. It means that this issue of Journal could be made available in the future in its entirety and downloaded by a member onto their own personal computer, text, pictures, colours and all. Maybe, that would mean less printing, and less paper, and better yet, less postage. Those members in Newfoundland and the far reaches of British Columbia could actually get their copy on time. Just dial up and download.

Will that be the new way for everybody. I doubt it. I’m a little old fashioned myself. I like reading, and I like reading magazines, newspapers and books printed the old fashioned way, on paper. Why? They just travel easier, they fit in briefcases, suitcases and back pockets a lot easier than computers. Besides, computers make awfully loud noises when they fall off the bed or off the couch, if you doze off, while reading. And don’t even try to read your computer on the commuter train or bus. it just can’t be done.

Is all this technology threatening? No. It gives us more choices. What do we like and how do we like it served? Do you want printed hard copy or a digitized image for your reading matter? Do you want hard cash, paper or coin, or is a debit card for you? Do you want that real coin or would you prefer an enhanced holographic reproduction in a futuristic photo rendering slab? It’s all a matter of options. Besides, why drive over to your mother’s with the kids in tow, when you could video tele-conference with her. It’s all coming soon.

Any comments, just e-mail me at fiocca@vaxxine.com or at fiocca@trajan.com. I’m not quite sure which. Please don’t phone, that’s just far too personal.

Closing Comments April 1995 page 142 The CN Journal By Paul Fiocca

Sometimes it get tough, to get those volunteer things done. Those little jobs, like something you promised to do for your local coin club, or local Lions club, or your Kinsmen or any volunteer service you may be dedicating a portion of your time or should I say your life to.

Things are the same at the C.N.A. Not much different in fact, people squeezing a little bit extra out of their schedules to run a program, chair the convention, prepare a well researched article or in fact any article for the Journal or dedicate two years of their time to sit on the board.

It’s not always easy to break away from those family concerns, or that extra overtime the job is requiring to get these things done. Some of these efforts are really superhuman feats under some of the circumstances. What is needed is support for these volunteers, those people that put out that extra so that volunteer organizations remain volunteer organizations.

As a member what does that mean? It means that although some services may not be perfect; they remain reasonably affordable for all. Like most Canadian associations, membership numbers are small. There just isn’t the numbers to collect enormous revenues from dues. As they say, this ain’t the USA.

Twenty five hundred members at twenty five dollars just cannot provide the same services as some American associations with lets say thirty-five thousand members. Though the services that must be provided are often the same. It’s the volunteerism that makes up the difference and what makes it work.

Make the effort to volunteer; it can be tough but it’s worth it. If not the C.N.A., then volunteer for some cause in your local community. They definitely use your effort and your support.

If you’re thinking of giving a little back to the hobby, then contact your local coin club. I can’t think of a single club that couldn’t use a couple of eager active new members. If you’re thinking C.N.A. than write that article, or start thinking today of the elections coming up this July. Get nominated, now.

Speaking of volunteers, special thanks go out to Stephane LeBlonde who has served as a translator for the Journal for the last year and a bit. Any volunteers.

Closing Comments May 1995 page 190 The CN Journal By Paul Fiocca

It’s been a busy few months at the Mint. In February, during his budget speech Paul Martin gave first announcement of the upcoming $2 coin. On March 31st, an announcement was made by David Dingwall of the first major metallic change in our coinage since the sixties. Unfortunately, a major design change wasn’t part of the announcement. Now that would have created considerable collector interest. However, I am sure a few collectors will jump on the new metals and tuck a few extra sets away.

I prepared the following chart for this issue, hoping that the RCM 1994 annual report may have landed on my desk before this issue went to press. It didn’t, so we will update this for the 1994 issues shortly. It will certainly be interesting trying to guess 1995 issue quantities when new less expensive metal combinations will be used starting January 1, 1996. Will this create another 1991 quarter scenario.

Canadian Circulating Coinage by date of issue (000’s)

 

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

$1

205,405

138,894

184,774

68,402

23,156

27,253

33,662

50¢

373

220

266

207

490

248

393

25¢

53,408

80,368

119,796

31258

459

152,668*

55,185

10¢

147,309

162,999

199,104

75,023

50,397

174,476

116,496

106,299

75,025

141,571

42,537

10,931

53,732

86,877

774,549

482,677

1,077,347

218,035

831,001

673,512

752,034

* includes approximately 145,000,000 Canada 125 quarters

Too late for an already tightly packed Journal, on April 7, the mint released a new four coin 1995 50¢ series, Birds of Canada in sterling silver. The four coin set will retail for $56.95 Cdn. Watch the next Journal for photos and additional data.

Back to back with the Birds of Canada release, was the release of the new 1995 $200 – Sugar Bush gold coin retailing for $399.95 Cdn (see cover photo). Limited to 25,000 pieces worldwide and containing half a troy ounce of gold, the coin commemorates the time honoured rite of spring, known as “sugaring off”. I’m sure most collectors won’t have any difficulty finding a hidden meaning within that expression.

Closing Comments June 1995 page 238 The CN Journal By Paul Fiocca

I was an accountant in a previous life. Or at least that is what I went about doing before learning publishing as a trade. I used to picture myself as a bit of a forensic type accountant diligently reading financial data for little consistencies or for the answers to often puzzling little riddles.

What reminded of those days was the receipt of annual report from our friends at the Royal Canadian Mint. I rushed into the document, pen in hand ready to analyze and evaluate for all the numismatists across the land. As they say ’fraid not. To my surprise, except for the bottom of the bottom line, the only information that hadn’t been consolidated to death, was the Canadian circulating coinage totals and the totals of uncirculating collector issues.

As I promised last issue here they are:

1993 and 1994 dated Canadian

 

1994

1993

$1

36,237,000

33,662,000

50¢

987,000

393,000

25¢

75,015,000

73,758,000

10¢

120,099,000

135,569,000

98,957,000

86,877,000

639,516,000

808,585,000

These figures include adjustments for 1993 dated coins issued in 1994.

It would be nice if the report broke down costs and revenues by sales type. Really, the taxpayer, the real shareholders deserve better information than just the bottom line result. Consolidating bullion, circulating issues, numismatic issues and exports into one sales total provides a pretty meaningless summary of the activities. Even the pretty graphs don’t help decipher the meat from the potatoes of minting.

Some of the numismatic press will headline the 1994 loss at the RCM of just over 3 million dollars, some will stress the dividend paid to the federal government. What I found the most interesting was the Corporate Directory, a listing of all the directors of the RCM. There was the usual bevy lawyers, accountants, management consultants and engineers, a newspaperman/envelope maker from Lindsay, ON, a McDonalds restaurant owner, but again sadly, not a single numismatist.

Get your self a copy and see what I mean.

Closing Comments July August 1995 page 286 The CN Journal By Marvin Kay

When you attend your next coin club meeting, take a look around to see who it was that arranged for a meeting place, who contacted a guest speaker, who set up the chairs, the display tables and the lectern. This was all done by volunteers. Whether it is a local coin club, a regional organization, or our magnificent C.N.A. annual convention, nearly all of the work is done by volunteers. Your club president, the executive board, the corresponding secretary… all are volunteers who are giving freely of their time (and, in many cases, their money). Think about it. Without volunteers, there would be no coin club. Isn’t it about time for you to volunteer?

Many people have asked me, “Marvin, why did you volunteer to become C.N.A. President?”

This is a difficult question to answer. I have been a member of the C.N.A. for over 30 years. During my early years of membership, I was one of the silent majority. Occasionally I would submit an article to the Journal. This would involve some research, some photography, but it was not particularly time-consuming. Because of the higher profile acquired through the publication of the articles, I was asked to serve on various committees. I agreed. The time required was minimal. Eventually, I ran for the office of second vice-president, and I was acclaimed to the office. Again, not much time was required. The next step was the move to first vice-president. And once again, I got it by acclamation. But even though I was unopposed, I felt a greater sense of obligation. The unspoken assumption was that I would allow my name to be submitted for the office of president at the next election.

When the time came, I agreed to run for the presidency. This time I had to run an election campaign. I remember asking myself why I was going to the time and expense of making speeches and placing advertisements in the Journal.

But I won the election and became president. Then I had to work! There were letters to write, people to phone, reports to be prepared. It required a minimum of one hour each night when I came home from work. On weekends, I sometimes took the computer up to the cottage, much to the chagrin of my wife.

I kept asking myself why I was doing this. Was this an ego trip?

Perhaps ego enhancement was part of the answer. But as president I was able to make changes which I felt would improve the organization.

Why did I volunteer? Why did I let myself take on positions of increasing responsibility? Why did I accept tasks that required more and more of my valuable leisure time?

I think I discovered the reason.

I volunteered because I felt I could make a difference!

Closing Comments September 1995 page 350 The CN Journal By Paul Fiocca

Few people wander through life looking forward to change, rather instilled in all of us is usually a little resistance to anything new. Unless of course, the benefits are of the change are blatantly obvious.

Unfortunately, most changes are responded to with the likes of “Oh! that will never work” or “What are they doing that for?” and quite often even remarks that tend to be a little courser.

Well, the C.N.A. is changing? What, you say. Of course, it’s changing! Several weeks ago in Calgary a new board of directors was installed to lead the organization through the next two years. New boards mean new ideas and new ideas combined with renewed vigor and energy of new board members means changes.

Our new president Yvon Marquis makes reference in his column this month to re-engineering the association’s activities; building a customer or member driven association; implementing the Task Force 2000 report and much more. These are changes and if implemented

successfully, changes I am sure will prove to be very positive for the organization.

Few changes can really be made at the board level of an organization. Real change is usually at the grass roots of the organization. Normally it’s in the attitudes and actions of the members themselves. Help the new board out by taking the opportunity to work within your club to develop and recruit new members. These are new collectors, and without new coin collectors there is no future for the hobby or for the association. Take the time to promote new shows or public displays to encourage new collectors. Distribute odd coins and inexpensive tokens to friends and children to create or rekindle previous collecting interest. Start making positive change today.

A very special thanks goes to Marvin Kay and all the outgoing board members for their hard work and efforts over the past two years. Their board set the slate for change.

Closing Comments October 1995 page 398 The CN Journal By Paul Fiocca

I tried to sneak by this month with just running a “space for rent” banner. Sadly, both Marvin Kay and Ken Prophet our eagle eyed proofreaders quickly responded with a “no, you don’t” and it was back to the keyboards. Oh! what to say this month.

I looked through the Canadian Coin News, Coin World, the Numismatist, just searching for a contentious issue to comment upon. Alas, but there were none to find.

What to do? Go for lunch, ponder the problem, and await an inspiration. Maybe it’s in the mail. Ok, chuck the junk mail first, throw the bills in the bill pile, the magazines on the floor to take’m home and read’em later and get down to the good stuff. Let’s see, what’s this, looks like an invite to something.

Thank you Canada Post, an invite to the official unveiling of the design for Canada’s two dollar circulating coin. Of course, the Journal goes to the printer tonight and this is three days away. Bad luck again, no picture of the coin until next issue.

But what could the design be? This was on the invite, but I’m sure this is not it. Let’s see, the Honourable David Dingwall, Minister of public works and government services and Danielle Wetherup, President and Master of the Royal Canadian Mint are inviting us to a big event for the unveiling of the dubloonie. Hmm, it’s at the Metro Toronto Zoo, what could that mean. I don’t know, but a betting man would probably put his last loonie on a native Canadian animal. But which one, a bear, a wolf, a bird, a moose, a fish! Who knows what it is, and what can we nickname it later are the questions to be answered.

The invite said refreshments to follow, and for most of us, self included; so will the answers to these questions. I can’t make it there, three days is just not enough notice.

Closing Comments November 1995 page 446 The CN Journal By Paul Fiocca

There’s no business like show business or so the old adage goes. Going to coin shows is great fun. Lot’s of dealers, lots of material to look, lots of buying, selling, dickering and conversing to entertain the day away.

Whether it’s a larger commercial show, or your local club show; both shows place an extremely important role in the hobby. They provide a forum for the collectors, the dealers and other significant forces in the hobby to meet face to face, and not only buy or sell, but to build the relationships that are critical in a strong hobby.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a small club bourse of only 10 tables, or the A.N.A show and 600 tables, it’s the more that come out, the merrier for all.

Why? The show provides a setting to meet many dealers that you may have only talked to while ordering over a telephone, or to casually encounter another collector who’s collecting interests parallel your own; or maybe another collector moving towards a new specialty eager not only to share their knowledge, but possibly lighten their collection of pieces you have been diligently hunting for.

Don’t rush through a show, take your time. say hello to the dealers, most are extremely knowledgeable in their areas of numismatics; and many are or were collectors at one time. Most are eager to help you out, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Not only do they have the answers to many of your numismatic puzzles but often they may also have what you’re looking for tucked away somewhere around their table or booth.

A strong hobby has strong, well attended shows. It’s not only in the interest of the dealers, but to all the collectors to participate by getting out and supporting the local club shows and the larger commercial shows. A hobby with no shows soon has no collectors.

Closing Comments December 1995 page 494 The CN Journal By Paul Fiocca

Who gets all the good numbers, serial numbers that is? Where do they go? I don’t count my money all that often, but whenever I do it’s hard not to scan across the serial numbers looking for a good one, which I never seem to get. Do the boys at the Bank of Canada keep them for themselves, or is it my local teller gleaning them for an eager collector or dealer with a little influence at that branch.

Guy Veillette’s article on bank notes got me thinking about this so I mentioned it to a friend on the weekend. Even though he’s not a bank note collector, he is a strong collector of Victorian coins, and is seriously degreed, academically speaking and that included at least one degree in math, so why waste such talent, maybe he could figure out why I never get any good numbers on my bank notes.

He said it was simple, though it wasn’t for me. In a seven digit serial number, there are 10,000 radar notes, a one out of 10,000 chance and nine solid numbers. In an eleven digit note, since the first number is 3 on $5 and 5 on a $20 there could be 100,000 out of 10 billion notes if the whole series was issued or a 1 out of 100,000 chance.

Following this logic I dug into my pocket and pulled out $20 bill numbered 56162355807, a number truly representative of what I usually find. The Charlton guide explained that series ran from 56000000000 to 56496399999 for a total of 496,000,000 notes. How many radar notes in this batch, not a lot or so my calculator tells me. 1 times 1 times 5 times 10 times 7 times 4 is 1400 radar notes. So, that’s one out of every 354,571 notes.

That’s tough odds to beat. Let’s see if I check out four new notes; really tough since it’s twenties and I don’t get four new ones every day; and if the odds are with me I should find one in 242 years. Discouraging, but I’ll keep looking, you never know, tomorrow’s another day.

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