Please note that these articles are from electronic backup files and may not be exactly as the final printed versions.
Max (not his real name) started out like most of us by searching through pocket change and rolls of circulated coinage obtained from the bank. In time he visited local coin shops and shows and then progressed to attending regional shows and auctions. As the value of his collection grew, his attitude regarding security and confidentiality changed. He began to pay for purchases in cash and was careful not to reveal his name to anyone. He shunned local clubs and national organizations that publish members’ names. Max adopted an alias for auction bids and rented a post office box.
Max felt that should dealers and collectors know what he was looking for they might try to take advantage of him. The fear of losing his collection to thieves kept him awake at night. He did not realize that because dealers and collectors did not know what he owned, there existed the danger that they would not be familiar with his rare coins if offered by a thief.
If Max sounds like someone you know, why not help them come out of the closet and reap the full benefits participation in our hobby can supply? Our hobby is founded on the friendships we form with fellow collectors and dealers. We develop our contacts by joining and attending local clubs, national organizations, fraternal associations and conventions. Our pride of ownership is increased with peer review, input and guidance. It's a lonely world when you have no one to show your numismatic prizes to. Sharing your numismatic knowledge with your fellow collectors can open up sources of information unavailable by any other means. Many rarities change hands between serious collectors by private treaty. Learning from the experiences of others can help avoid traps and pitfalls and influence your future actions and behaviour.
Publishing your research and insights may generate useful feedback that leads to even greater insight. Showing your collection to friends and fellow collectors will generate useful discussion on grading, rarity and eye appeal. You may learn things about your coins that you did not know. Discussing die and strike characteristics with others benefits the numismatic community. Exhibiting your treasures at conventions allows registrants an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of what you have assembled.
See the light, the closet is no place for a hobby that is best enjoyed with other collectors.
Your Daily Cup of Joe
Not long ago, Wendy's spun off Tim Hortons in what turned out to be an over-subscribed initial public offering. Canadians were unable to initially purchase the stock of their favourite coffee shop because the shares were only available to American purchasers.
For some Canadians, the desire to partake in the IPO was not so much a vote on the future success of the chain as a reflection of their love for Tim Hortons coffee. You only have to see the daily line-ups in the drive-thru to realize the popularity of the restaurant chain.
What does this daily indulgence cost? For the average worker who orders a regular sized cup of coffee each workday, it comes to $312.00 per year (based on $1.30 per cup, 2 weeks vacation and ten statutory holidays).
For the same cost you could afford all of the following:
Membership in the Canadian Numismatic Association
Membership in the Canadian Paper Money Society
Membership in the American Numismatic Association
Membership in the Edmonton Numismatic Society
Membership in the Calgary Numismatic Society
Membership in the Mid-Island Coin Club
Membership in the Ontario Numismatic Association
Annual subscription to the Canadian Coin News
Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins
Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Government Paper Money
ICCS Population Report
ASHRAP report of eBay prices
Attendance at Edmonton's Money Show (Spring and Fall)
Which do you think is the better value?
Herding Cats and Pushing Rope
If you have ever had a cat for a pet you know how difficult it is to get them to do what you want. Pushing a rope is just as difficult. Some military leaders have learned they must lead troops into battle. Understanding the nature of critters, things and people is the key.
Business has one major advantage over our hobby - employees get paid for their efforts. In our hobby almost all executive members, directors, bourse chairmen and newsletter editors do so for the love of the hobby. Their motivation comes from a deep seated commitment to excellence. Guiding their efforts can at times be like herding cats and pushing rope. According to the Council of Educational Change your leadership team is critical to the success of any change initiative. Before you can enact change you must establish a relationship among your leaders that encourages conversation about your unique culture and the challenges of changing and improving your organization.
In Renewing America's Schools, Glickman defines the culture of your organization as conventional, congenial, or collegial. In a conventional environment your members feel isolated but have full autonomy. A congenial or social setting promotes a pleasant and open climate while allowing full autonomy. The more formal collegial approach promotes professional respect and caring while allowing purposeful conflicts and collective autonomy.
The importance, value and necessity of creating a vision for your organization should not be underestimated. Learning to work with key members of your club, association or society is the first step toward leading them to the fulfillment of your goals and objectives. Fostering a community of mutual respect and admiration will reap huge rewards for your members. If you do not know what they want, why not ask them? If you do not know what motivates them, or gets them excited, start by asking them what they have purchased lately. If you do not know what they would like to learn about, show them coins, medals, tokens, bank notes or publications on topics outside their area of focus. The secret is to lead.
From Broken Windows by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, in the March 1982 edition of The Atlantic Monthly:
Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.
In Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities by George L. Kelling and Catherine Coles:
A successful strategy for preventing vandalism is to fix the problems when they are small. Repair the broken windows within a short time, say, a day or a week, and the tendency is that vandals are much less likely to break more windows or do further damage. Clean up the sidewalk every day, and the tendency is for litter not to accumulate (or for the rate of littering to be much less). Problems do not escalate and thus respectable residents do not flee a neighborhood.
How many broken windows does your club have? If any have broken in the past few years how long did it take to fix them? By broken windows I am referring to aspects of your club's operations such as its newsletter, meeting agendas and financial operations. What message do you convey when the newsletter is poorly prepared or delivered late? How should members feel when the regular meeting program is really short or non-existent? What happens to the important programs you regularly sponsor when your executive fails to plan ahead and your cash reserves fall short? Is anyone monitoring meeting attendance for early signs of problems? Who is in charge of contacting members that do not renew their membership? If all of this seems painful to analyze and monitor just think of the pain of withdrawal you will experience should your club fold.
Over the centuries people and societies have burned books. Books have been burned because of ignorance, a desire to restrict exposure to certain ideas and ideals or to restrict people from learning. Burning a book is the ultimate form of censorship as you cannot read what no longer exists. Whatever the reason, burning books is bad.
Over the centuries people have destroyed letters and correspondence. Letters and correspondence have been destroyed out of ignorance or a lack of appreciation for the information and ideas that letters and correspondence contain, to prevent learning, to restrict exposure to information and ideas, or to censor the thoughts of others. You cannot read letters and correspondence that do not exist. Whatever the reason, destroying letters and correspondence is bad.
Over the centuries people have disposed of, or trashed, newspapers, magazines, journals and newsletters. These publications have been disposed of and destroyed without consideration for the needs of future researchers, because of a lack of space, an appreciation of the contents or a desire to share the printed information with others. Whatever the reason, trashing newspapers, magazines, magazines, journals and newsletters is bad.
Over the decades people have deleted computer files. Files are deleted that are no longer needed or to free up room for other files. Files are deleted because of ignorance or to restrict exposure to others or a lack of appreciation for the information within the files and the needs of future researchers or once the information in the file has been printed. Files are deleted without appreciation for the speed and power of software search tools. Files can be lost when hardware fails, operating systems crash and viruses infect computers. Files are lost that are not transferred to a new computer because of a lack of knowledge, skills or desire to do so. Whatever the reason, deleting files is bad.
Those that prepare publications and articles for print and electronic distribution have an obligation to preserve the information for future use. The act of deleting computer files is detrimental to the success of our hobby and the needs of future numismatists and researchers. Don't allow complacency or bad habits to cause the destruction of electronic information you are the custodian of. You are responsible for the preservation of this knowledge. Stop the practice of electronic book burning.
We Are Always Thankful
It hardly seems possible that thirteen and one half years ago Paul Fiocca penned the inaugural Closing Comments column thanking Bob Willey for his eighteen years as the previous editor. Paul felt that "everything in life has both a cause and an effect" and the original intention of helping "the C.N.A. save some money, actually quite a bit, by helping out with typesetting and printing the Journal. It was certainly not to assume such a gregarious role as editor; nor to provide commentary in such a role." Paul had "hoped that Bob Willey could have continued with such duties under his new role as Editor Emeritus. A role which would have offered him the opportunity to continue to express his thoughts and comments on the hobby, relieving him of much of the mundane tasks of typesetting, organizing and supervising that effort.” With Bob Willey's passing the year before, Paul offered "on behalf of the Journal to all of Bob's friends and family, our deepest sympathy and condolences."
Paul noted in his first column in 1994 that the "new design and printing process has freed up some funding." He ended with "in the meantime, don't be shy. The Journal eagerly needs your letters, stories, club and event news and of course full length articles for the next issue."
Paul Petch listed the past editors in his initial Editorial Comments in January/February 2003:
The first editor was G. R. L. Potter, with Peter S. Favro following in August 1953. The "Bulletin" was transformed into The Canadian Numismatic Journal in January 1956 and A. E. H. Petrie assumed the editorship in March 1957. The decade of the 1960s [was] served in turn by F. C. Jewett (July 1962), E. Victor Snell (January 1966) and Robert L. Low (January 1969). As we turned the corner into the 1970s both David Ashe (September 1970) and Frank Rose (October 1972) took their turns… Robert C. Willey… from November 1975 until December 1993. …the excellent editorial contribution made by Paul Fiocca [January 1994 to December 2002 and January 2005 to July 2007].
The C.N.A. Bulletin, The Canadian Numismatic Journal and The CN Journal have been fortunate over the past six decades to benefit from the hard work of so many different editors. We owe them so much! Thank you Guy, Peter, Alfred, Fred, Victor, Robert L., David, Frank, Robert W. and Paul P.; and thank you too, Paul Fiocca.
Years ago Canada was very concerned by the number of talented and educated citizens moving to the United States to take up employment there. The fear was that the brightest and best were heading south to higher paying jobs. The future of any nation is influenced by its workers, industry, natural resources, politics and religion. Raising, educating and training knowledge workers only to watch them emigrate seems counterproductive.
The Canadian Numismatic Research Society was formed in 1963 to encourage original research and provide a vehicle for its publication. One can understand the formation of the Canadian Paper Money Society in 1964 because of the growing interest in a field hitherto almost totally neglected. In 1972 the Canadian Association of Token Collectors was founded to cater to collectors of colonial, commercial and municipal tokens, merchant ‘good-fors’, commercial paper and all sorts of exonumia. Canada has a very rich, diverse and fascinating numismatic heritage.
In the movie It’s A Wonderful Life, the film ends with George Bailey’s daughter Zuzu hearing a bell on their Christmas tree, exclaiming that, "teacher says, every time a bell rings, some Angel gets his wings.” Every time a new organization is formed in our hobby collectors have to organize and manage it as well as prepare, print and distribute its regular publication. In their new Heaven these “Angels” depart from involvement in the C.N.A. They may not drop their membership in the C.N.A. but become so involved with the new club that they no longer contribute to the C.N.A. Our hobby can actually suffer when a splinter group is formed and this talent leaves the C.N.A. These dedicated numismatists often get so caught up in the work associated with organization, promotion and publication related to their specialization that they stop exposing the rest of the C.N.A. to their area of interest. We want to know more about your specialty, whether in a display at the Annual Convention, in a comment or excerpt in the E-Bulletin, in an article in a local coin club newsletter, in a feature article in the Canadian Coin News or in a published monograph. Submitting well written articles on your special collecting interest as regular contributions to The CN Journal may benefit a greater number of collectors than would the forming of a new splinter group.
Maximizing Numismatic Importance
You started out searching for key dates in rolls of coins. Many pleasurable hours were spent filling the empty holes in your Whitman folders. In time you traded your spares with others and improved every item in your collection. You might have left the hobby for a while when love, education and work engaged your thoughts and filled your days. When you returned to the hobby you joined a club and visited local coin shops. Bidding in your first auction exposed you to new ways of acquiring scarce dates and varieties. You were probably overwhelmed at the quantity, quality and variety of the numismatic objects at your first coin show. A subscription to a coin newspaper and membership in the Canadian Numismatic Association probably qualified you as a numismatist or at the very least a serious collector. A decade or two of dedicated searching for rare coins may have upgraded your area of specialization to condition census status. At this point you may wonder what comes next.
You could say it depends. You may be willing to let your interest in numismatics wane and eventually die. You could “cash in” now and use the proceeds for a different purpose or priority in your life. You may feel it is time for someone else to enjoy your numismatic specimens and rarities. You could use the profits from decades of collecting to provide financial assistance to someone you love while you are alive. You could retire early or augment your golden years by realizing the value in your collection. You may prefer an orderly sale of your collection now to an uninformed disposal by your heirs.
Your collection is an asset and should be managed no differently than any other asset that you own. Just as CEO’s focus on Maximizing Shareholder Value (MSV) so too should you focus on Maximizing Numismatic Importance (MNI). MNI can be enhanced through research and study. MNI can create a purpose in your life, generate societal benefits and ultimately increase the value of your collection. MNI requires commitment and momentum maintained over the long haul with well directed actions based on clearly-defined strategic plans. MNI requires financial health, integrity, sound decision making and enlightened self-interest. As the CEO of your collection you provide intellectual capital, build trust with collectors and dealers, and generate profitable growth; thereby Maximizing Numismatic Importance.
Money Can Make You Happy!
Jean Bullen used to focus her efforts on preparing a Canadian decimal display for the annual C.N.A. Convention. Her outstanding Canadian money collection frequently took 1st place, and often advanced to win “Best of Show”. At her passing, Jean Bullen made a financial bequest to provide an award for the category she favoured most: Canadian decimal. The Jean Bullen Award was established in 2004 as an annual presentation for the best exhibit of Canadian coins displayed by a member at the C.N.A. Convention.
Jerry Remick’s outstanding money of the world was recently sold in a series of auctions by Spinks Ltd. in London, England. His passion for collecting is evident by the rarities in his collection and the record setting prices realized. Learning about money led him to writing about money and sharing of his knowledge. The Jerome H. Remick III Literary Award was established in 1995 and its sponsorship continues through a bequest by Mr. Remick. This award is given annually to the author of the best numismatic article published in a local Canadian coin club newsletter during the previous calendar year.
Guy R. L. Potter, one of the founders of the Canadian Numismatic Association, served as Secretary and Bulletin Editor of the association from its beginning in 1950 until 1953 and as the third President of the C.N.A. from 1955 – 1956. Potter loved studying money and contributing to the awareness of numismatics by others. The Guy Potter Literary Award was established when the original C.N.A. Literary Award was renamed in 1978 to honour the memory of. Mr. Potter and is given annually for the best original contribution to The CN Journal.
To say that J. Douglas Ferguson appreciated money is an understatement. You have to tour the Currency Museum at the Bank of Canada to truly understand his generosity and commitment to collecting. The J. Douglas Ferguson Award was established in 1969 and sponsored by Mr. Ferguson who, at the time, was Honorary President of the C.N.A. This annual award is presented to the living numismatist who has made the greatest contribution during the year to the advancement of numismatics in Canada by research, writing, publishing, or other means and who has not previously won the award.
Does your collection of money make you happy?
Advice To New Collectors From A Former Beginner
James G. Johnson wrote a column in Coin World decades ago called Fair to Very Fair. In the March 11, 1970 issue he offered some sage advice for those starting out in our hobby.
Developing a curiosity about “different” coins that appear in the change you get from others is often the impetus to becoming a collector. Always looking and asking your friends and relatives to look for you is extremely useful. Those people may work at a theatre, restaurant, supermarket or filling station. Searching rolls of coins will usually generate a small group of keepers.
Once you seek answers from a local coin shop, coin catalogue or collector publication you are on your way to understanding what you have and what you can look for in the pursuit of completion of a date, topic, series or type collection. Subscribing to a coin newspaper and studying each issue will quickly advance your knowledge.
A coin catalogue will quickly show you two things; what is out there and those coins that you can find in your pocket that are worth more than face value to somebody else. Finding something worth more than face value is like buried treasure. Should you take some of these found treasures to a dealer to sell, you will soon learn that dealers are only interested in buying certain items. If you can find items with a numismatic premium maybe they can as well.
A dealer will also encourage you to attend a local coin club meeting. Many clubs hold regular auctions of member’s coins. These auctions will teach you that common items typically sell for a lower percentage of catalogue values than do scarcer pieces. Asking questions and listening when someone speaks is the key to learning a lot. Fellow collectors will always give you a sincere answer. Trading your spares for someone else’s spares will greatly expand your collection at low cost. You will soon learn the fascination of coin collecting in filling a hole, finding something you don’t have and learning about it.
Johnson advised that when you get bit by the bug don’t quit. Learn about what you are doing, or it can cost you. Have fun, but stay away from what you don’t know! So jump in with both feet, you new collectors, and enjoy yourself as he still did after a couple of decades when he wrote that column.