Please note that these articles are from electronic backup files and may not be exactly as the final printed versions.
You drag yourself out of bed in the morning. You pry your tired eyes open just enough to make the coffee. You hit the shower hoping the warm water will soothe your aching bones. You scramble to get out of the house in time to fight the rush hour traffic to get to your work on time. You suffer all day long from the fools and idiots that you have to work with and for. You return home tired and worn out only to be disrespected by your ungrateful kids. You get harassed by your spouse for not getting things done and for not earning enough to pay the stack of outstanding bills. You cannot help but wonder why all of this pain and torture is happening to you. In the chorus to Ernie Ford’s song Sixteen Tons, written by Merle Travis:
You load sixteen tons, and what do you get,
another day older and deeper in debt
St. Peter, don’t you call me, ‘cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store
If this is how you feel, then I am here to tell you that you must have something to live for. It’s not enough to just live.
Maybe I am preaching to the choir. Maybe you have already discovered the joy of coin collecting. Maybe you have shared with your friends or co-workers your enthusiasm for collecting. Maybe you have cast a little sunshine on their life by showing them some interesting aspects of our hobby. Maybe you have introduced the art and history on coins to future young numismatists. Maybe you have shared your numismatic experiences of discovery and fellowship with other collectors. It’s not enough to just collect.
Where will you go from here? Will you register for the 2006 C.N.A. Convention in Niagara Falls? Will you signup for the next C.N.A. / N.E.S.A. Educational Seminar? Will you borrow a book, video or slide set from the C.N.A. Library? Will you write an article for The CN Journal? Will you voice your opinions on the Closing Comments page? Will you contribute an interesting tidbit to the E-Bulletin? Will you support the C.N.A. by sponsoring a new member? It’s not enough to just belong
Angels in the Snow
In episode of the action drama NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service), Charles Durning guest starred as a decorated World War II veteran who turned himself in for the murder of his best friend during an intense battle 60 years ago. The recent passing of his spouse had triggered the long forgotten incident. While the investigation into his confession proceeded, he mentioned to one of the NCIS agents that the Medal of Honour award that he received allowed him free passage on all airlines. He went on to note that he was unable to make use of the free flights, as he did not have any friends or family still alive that he could visit.
Last year I received an email from one of my students that attended the mini seminar Introduction to Canadian Numismatics that I taught at the American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar in Colorado Springs in July of 2004. He was thanking me for sending him a used book on numismatics. He mentioned that he was going to visit his sister in the hospital on the weekend. She was very sick with a rare form of meningococcal meningitis. He asked if I would make an angel in the snow and send him a picture. He wanted to show the photo to her to let her know that the angels are looking out for her. In spite of the poor snow conditions at the time my wife and I managed to send off a couple of pictures and shortly thereafter received the following reply.
Thanks again for your snow angel and pics, I added one to her photo album of all angels. There were angels from all over the country and beyond! She is doing remarkably well, it took some time but she snapped back to herself mentally, but not physically. She is back to work a few hours a day and drove her car for the first time a few weeks ago.
After you have been collecting coins, tokens or paper money for a while you begin to notice that your fellow numismatists start to become like an extended family. Their lives touch your life. After many years your fellow collectors, contacts and associates may become more important to you than your collection. A life spent fully involved in our hobby will lead to a feeling that you are a member of a larger family of brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles. These feelings will stay with you all of your life. You will never experience the loneliness that the character that Charles Durning portrayed felt in the NCIS episode. Think of this the next time you see an angel in the snow.
John F. Kennedy in his Inaugural Address of January 20, 1961 said to the world:
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
To paraphrase these immortal words; what can you do for the C.N.A., or do you only want to know what the C.N.A. can do for you? The C.N.A. is your organization and belongs to you as much as it belongs to any other member. It is up to you and all of the other members, to make the C.N.A. what you want it to be, and more importantly, all that it can be. The same holds true for The CN Journal. Paul Fiocca does not write the articles and comments he merely edits them.
The C.N.A. is comprised of a diverse membership, with approximately 1/3 of the members residing in Ontario, 1/3 in the rest of Canada and 1/3 in the U.S. (with a few from around the world, including Ireland, Israel, Japan, Norway, England, Germany, Peru, Italy, Lebanon and Pakistan). It is up to each and every one of you to consider writing about your specialty or area of interest. This will not only give The CN Journal a variety of content, but will also give you a forum to promote your interests to a larger audience.
Over the years, many articles have appeared in The CN Journal on a diverse range of topics and subjects. All geographical areas of Canada have been covered. Articles have featured local tokens and medals from all regions, including coins issued by the Royal Canadian Mint honouring Western provinces such as Alberta and Saskatchewan. While many articles of a regional nature have appeared, the majority have focused on collecting by type, topic or category in line with collectors’ interests. The C.N.A. may not be “right” for everyone, but maybe, just maybe, with your help it may be “right” for most!
I’ve Been Everywhere
Johnny Cash was one of the great country singers and will always be remembered for his rendition of I've Been Everywhere. The chorus goes like this:
I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere, man
Crossed the deserts bare, man
I've breathed the mountain air, man
Travel, I've had my share, man
I've been everywhere
After the chorus he recites the names of 91 places that he has been to. Pity the singer who receives a request for this song! Surely Mr. James E. Charlton has surpassed 91 different coin shows locations by now as he has attended all of the RCNA Conventions ever held, except for one and numerous other events throughout North America. If you attend the RCNA Convention every year, the American Numismatic Association’s World Fair of Money, local coin shows and major national bourses and visit all of the numismatic museums you might get to as many places as Johnny Cash and Mr. Charlton have.
They say you should make a list of the things you want to do and the places you want to see in your lifetime and then start doing the things on the list as soon as possible. A numismatist would want to attend the C.N.A. Convention each and every year. As soon as you finish reading this you should complete your registration form for this year’s Convention in Niagara Falls and book your room at the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel and Conference Centre. John Regitko and his team have organized many fun and interesting activities for registrants. It will be one heck of a memorable event.
Flin Flon, Miquelon, come along
Kelowna, Kenora, Kamloops, pack your loop
Melville, Belleville, Drummondville, grade a bill
Sherbrooke, Cranbrook, Corner Brook, coin book
Percé, Gaspé, Thunder Bay, tokens of Hudson’s Bay
Kingston, Edmonton, Charlottetown, finest known
Armstrong, Airdrie, Antigonish, don’t you wish
Where Numismatics Has Taken Me
When I see a television program about the Klondike it strikes me how proud I am of my involvement with the 1998 C.N.A. Convention in Edmonton. Its theme “on the trail of ‘98” was a reminder of the trek up the “Golden Stairs” through the Chilkoot Pass. At my suggestion, our Convention Medal incorporated an image of a White Pass and Yukon Railway train on a trestle in front of a tunnel. I have not traveled to Skagway yet, but I feel numismatics rushed me there.
When I see an image of a totem pole it stands tall in my mind that I wrote an article on the 1958 Canadian silver dollar, nicknamed “memaloose chickamin” (death money) by the Tsimshian tribe. Researching Canada’s Death Dollar taught me the story of Raven, the trickster, and how to “read” a totem pole. I was then better able to understand the native people of the Queen Charlotte Islands and Bill Reid’s Spirit of Haida Gwaii Sculpture in The CN Journal issue of October 2004. I have not traveled the Inside Passage yet, but I feel numismatics spirited me there.
When I see a Canadian silver dollar of 1949 it floats in my mind how Thomas Shingles hand engraved the Matthew on the master die in only five weeks. My thoughts drift to the decision that residents of “the rock” wrestled with in joining confederation and later, the comfort they provided to the stranded travelers on September 11, 2001. I have not traveled to Newfoundland since I renewed my enthusiasm for collecting, but I feel numismatics flew me there.
When I spied the article about ships on Canadian coins and tokens in a newspaper clipping, in Peter Favro’s scrapbook from the Toronto Telegram of 1946, it raced my mind to the fascinating story of the Bluenose. I cruised many articles on collecting coins and tokens with ship designs in past issues of The CN Journal. Surfing the waters of the Internet for the schooner on our dime steered me to a film of its final race, winning against its rival the Gertrude L. Thebaud. I did not journey to Halifax, but I feel numismatics shipped me there.
Numismatics has taken me to all of these places. I didn’t even leave home.
A Column About Nothing
In one of the early Seinfeld episodes two of the main characters attempt to pitch their idea for a situation comedy to television network executives. When asked about the premise of the show, George Alexander triumphantly asserted that it would be about the everyday lives of ordinary people, or in other words "a show about nothing". The famous "show about nothing" is regarded by many fans as the best network sitcom of the 1990s.
Ray Mah loved life and adored people and was for decades one of the major numismatic forces in the Vancouver area. He is remembered for always asking, "How's your collection doing?" Regardless of what you collect he always encouraged you to learn more and get involved with the collectors and the club in your area. For Ray, no collection is about nothing.
James Charlton certainly qualifies as a believer in promoting the hobby of coin collecting to young people. He knows that our hobby teaches values and useful life-long skills such as discipline and focus. Jim does not want our youth to learn nothing.
The members of the Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers (CAND) work hard to meet your needs and wants. CAND's members provide a source for acquiring rare and scarce items, an outlet for selling your collection and an avenue for settling disputes. Without their standards ethical behavior in our hobby would shrink to nothing.
Paul Fiocca works hard at producing this publication for your reading pleasure. He struggles to include interesting and informative scholarly numismatic articles. Without your contributions The CN Journal will feature nothing.
John Regitko has organized many shows during his distinguished services to our hobby. His events are never ordinary and always contain something special and exciting. His approach is simple: create excitement and fun! Nothing is more boring than the same old routine, the same old song and dance. Life is about variety and enthusiasm. You never have to fear that a C.N.A. Convention organized by John will be a show about nothing.
The Best Way To Collect Coins
Recently a small package arrived in the mail from my friend Chris Boyer. On opening the parcel I was pleasantly surprised to find one of his RCMP medallions. A few days later I was even more thrilled to notice that he had gone the extra mile and engraved my C.N.A. membership number on it! The engraving was his way of acknowledging my earlier Closing Comments The Nineteenth James Bond, where I wrote about Chris with his membership number, 19007.
Last summer at the 2005 C.N.A. Convention in Calgary, I was honoured to receive a silver C.N.A. uniface medal from the Correspondence Course Part II Chairman Paul Johnson for my work on Chapter 15 Introduction to Canadian Numismatic Literature. Just before the banquet started, I was summoned by Al Munro, Convention Chairman and handed a silver uniface Convention Volunteer Medal for my work on the banquet brochure.
On entering the registration desk area of Edmonton's Money Show last fall I was approached by Lynn Balmer. He handed me an envelope with a note from May Mah inside. She reflected on the time I visited her home to share the knowledge gained from my involvement with the 1998 C.N.A. Convention in Edmonton with her husband Ray and other members of the 2002 Vancouver Convention executive. I was overwhelmed to find inside the envelope a Ray Mah Memorial Medal. Ray was perhaps the finest numismatist that the West coast has ever known.
At a recent Edmonton Numismatic Society club meeting, Ray Neiman of National Pride Coin & Stamp surprised me with a gift of a 1949 New Zealand dollar, the year of my birth. At our March club meeting I was very honoured to receive a special medal from James Horkulak, 2006 President of the Edmonton Numismatic Society, for my six years of service as President.
Most collectors purchase numismatic items with their hard earned dollars. Some numismatists receive items because of their hard work and dedication. Which do you think is the best way to collect?
No More Rocking Chairs
There are no rocking chairs on the shores of Jaco, Costa Rica, according to Jonathan Chevreau, financial columnist for the Financial Post. When he visited that surf town for a week's holiday he noticed plenty of beach chairs and sun umbrellas, however. He confessed that the prospect of perpetually reading in the sun while sipping pina coladas sounded pretty good. He quoted a survey by Hart & Associates that only 24% of Canadians plan on a "full-stop" permanent vacation retirement. His column dealt with the question of what to do during the "Golden Years." This whole question of what to do during retirement was raised by the mutual fund company AGF in their tag line "What are you going to do after work?"
Perhaps you have already given some thought to what you want to do when you stop working. Some intend on focusing their attention on completing their collection when the big day comes. Dedicated numismatists look forward to having the time and the freedom to fully research a favourite topic or field of interest. Many C.N.A. members stopped punching a clock a long time ago and are "living the dream" that retirement promises. It is a safe bet that they do not miss working at their former career and now choose to work at what they enjoy.
If you are close to retirement, or have already done so, why not investigate the volunteer opportunities that exist in our hobby. Many clubs and organizations desperately need help from volunteers to survive. Those that are "chronologically challenged" can enjoy life far beyond the usual time allotted for them by keeping mentally and physically active at something they love. Tommy G. Thompson while secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services noted that, "Being physically active can prevent many of the most common medical conditions of old age." The risks he outlined include obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke, and depression. Retirement should be about pursuing your numismatic ambitions and opportunities, it's not the time to sit in a rocking chair.
What’s In It For Her?
If your spouse is more than busy with her own life and does not take any interest in your collection then stop reading this column. If your spouse wants no part of club social gatherings or vacations that involve attendance at coin conventions then stop reading this column. If your spouse resents your involvement in numismatic organizations and shuns any participation or involvement then stop reading this column right now for the message she is giving is quite clear.
The life of a spouse of a numismatist can be quite wonderful. A spouse-matist gets to watch their partner become totally immersed in the hobby they love so much. A wife-matist gets to travel to many of Canada’s beautiful cities and vacation paradises while he attends shows and conventions. A significant-other-matist gets to develop friendships with people that they would not normally meet. A friend-matist gets to profit from the value that a carefully assembled collection appreciates to in time. A better-half-matist gets to edit and proofread original articles. A partner-matist helps design, produce and critique interesting numismatic displays. A companion-matist experiences the satisfaction of organizing club and association events and social functions. A mate-matist gets to share the successes and recognition achieved by their sole mate. A buddy-matist can appreciate first hand the beauty and rarity of a recent acquisition. A pal-matist can enjoy sharing time together participating in all aspects of the hobby of Kings and the King’s Queen.
I must now ask for forgiveness from those collectors and numismatists that are female. My column is not meant to imply that our hobby is only populated by, and for, guys. What I really want is to draw in our female friends and partners and secretly convert them to female-matists so they too can enjoy all of the riches that our hobby offers. In the history of the C.N.A. there have been some truly great woman-matists and couple-matists. Perhaps the best friend you will ever have is ready to take the plunge and get more involved. Why not give her a chance; after all there is a lot in it for her? How can you encourage your spouse to get the most out of your hobby?
Have you got IT?
One of the purposes of a Screen Test is to determine whether an actor has the necessary characteristics required to perform their role. Just as "proof of concept" prototypes are necessary prior to manufacturing an item or product the Screen Test helps to "prove" whether an actor is suitable for the part or has what it takes to become a "star". The many famous names in acting all have something in common, a certain trait hard to define or identify, IT. Their actions, mannerism, personality, charisma, and in some obvious situations, raw sexuality, all contribute to whether you are drawn to the silver screen and are mesmerized by their performance. This elusive IT is what motivates audiences to flock to theatres based solely on the name in lights on the marquee.
Have you ever met a numismatist that exudes such a passion for the hobby that they inspire the essence of collecting? Every fibre of their being is focused on the pursuit of numismatic research, knowledge and fellowship evidenced by their every word and action. Their "missionary approach" at spreading the "gospel" of everything numismatic inspires all those around them to achieve more than they thought they were capable of. In their presence collecting is fun and something everyone should do. They obviously have IT.
What would it take to light this kind of fire in you? Do you have a passion this strong burning deep within you? Are you willing to dedicate your life to the pursuit of numismatic study? Do you aspire to the status and achievements of the great numismatists? Wishing does not make it so. Sharing and volunteering might teach some of the skills needed. Study and contributing will expose and involve you and guide your efforts at reaching an advanced level of knowledge and insight.
Maybe someday, without knowing that you have reached your goal, someone will look at you and know that you have got IT.