The numismatic visionaries in Ottawa 60 years ago knew that a strong national organization would lead to an enjoyable and rewarding hobby experience for all. They may not have imagined the significance of their contribution to what we enjoy today.
We have so much to be thankful for!
Have you ever wondered how we got to where we are today and who is most responsible for our evolution and successes? You may think that technology has had the greatest influence on our progress. By technology I include not only computers, the Internet and e-mail but cellular communication as well. Some may attribute our progress to the previously unavailable vast quantity of numismatic literature that informs, educates and engages us. It is hard to know if earlier on, our numismatic knowledge existed, to the extent we know today, or whether the increased volume of published material prompted specialists to research more. Third party grading has significantly improved buying confidence, resulting in growth in the number of, and retention of, collectors. Have Coin Dealers been the accelerant that fuelled our growth? Without dealers, how would collectors obtain what they need and want? Without dealers where would sellers go to dispose of their collections, accumulations and bullion? This raises the question of where Coin Dealers would present their wares were it not for Show Promoters. I applaud those dedicated professional coin dealers who still maintain a retail store outlet. The Royal Canadian Mint has probably created more coin collectors than all of us put together. Their long standing tradition of producing exceptional circulation coinage, superb numismatic collectibles and outstanding giftware is second to none. Not to be forgotten on the list of organizations that have added to our progress are the many fine Museums that provide education and displays to all levels of interest and involvement in both the general public and numismatic community.
So many have contributed so much!
If you consider the chicken and the egg argument, as to which came first, on the topic of organized numismatics in Canada after World War II, there can be no doubt that the C.N.A. fostered the environment for all of the dealers, auctioneers, shows, graders, publishers, mints, museums and associations involved in our hobby today to grow and prosper. There can be no doubt that the Ottawa Coin Club led the way to the founding of the C.N.A. There can be no doubt that Sheldon Carroll led the way to the founding of the Ottawa Coin Club. There can be no doubt that it was volunteers and collectors, just like you, that led the way to engaging Sheldon Carroll in the hobby of coin collecting and the study of numismatics.
As we celebrate our 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee, I know that when our Association was formed we exhibited exceptional future potential that was revealed in time by those dedicated numismatists and volunteers that shaped and polished our many facets. In other words, we were not unlike a Diamond in the rough.
My wife really enjoys watching figure skating on TV. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the dance freestyle or the compulsories, she enjoys it all. Her favourite, pairs skating, epitomizes working side by side toward a common goal.
Coin collecting typically starts out as a solitary and private pursuit. In time, for many, attendance at a local club follows and leads to volunteering. Exposure to collectors and volunteers from other cities happens when your local club hosts a regional or national convention. Hosting such an event may require more volunteers than your club has members. Often this shortfall is made up by your spouse and other family members.
Once you have been deeply involved in hosting a national convention you will want to travel to future conventions and will most likely incorporate this type of travelling into your next family vacation. After a few conventions you and your spouse will most likely look forward to seeing your many newfound friends as much as buying rarities on the bourse floor. Fellowship at convention social events is often cited as the greatest pleasure enjoyed by registrants and attendees. Some spouses may start out by accompanying their collecting partner to the host city for a holiday, sightseeing or shopping or to seek out aspects of their own hobby interest.
Most spouses do not become coin collectors, despite being inundated with non-stop information on buying, selling and research, courtesy of the coin-collector-in-the-house. If I had a proof twoonie for every time I heard “all he ever talks about is his coin collection” I’d be rich!
Unfortunately, there are a few spouses who resent their life partners involvement in our hobby, objecting to the time and money spent. To be fair, their concerns often have merit. It’s virtually impossible to expand your involvement in our hobby, or organize a numismatic event, without taking away time from something else. It is also all too easy to get carried away financially attempting to complete a collection. Communication is the key to seeking a balance and compromise may avoid the loneliness and despair of divorce. It is best to include your spouse in any way you can, whether it's collecting or socializing.
There have been many great numismatic couples who have contributed so much. A shared goal of service to our hobby is truly a wonderful thing. These pairs have realized the joy that comes from sharing their lives together. Sadly though, life can be cruel. Recently we lost two ‘better-halves’ to the dreaded ‘C’ word. Cathie and Janice contributed so much to our hobby. We are truly saddened by their passing, they will be missed.
In a White Paper, It's Happening Now: This is the Tera Era, on the Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Web site www.hitachigst.com/TeraEra:
“Hitachi GST is forecasting the dawn of a new age in storage technology that it has dubbed the “Tera Era.”… Today we have come to expect the computing power and flexibility to share our digital work and personal lives and we want to be able to access our digital content from anywhere in the world at any time. And, no matter where we are in the world or what time it is or who we want to share our data with, that data ultimately still resides on hard disk drives.”
You may wonder how this explosion in digital data storage may affect you. Gordon Pitts, of the Globe and Mail, recently asked Jean Monty why he was now speaking out on his record as former CEO of BCE Inc. Monty replied “Seven years after leaving BCE, I find it surprising and unsettling that negative comments on my stewardship of the company continue to circulate, unchecked and unchallenged.”
When asked why this was a concern he said “in the Internet age, the information about you and what you've done—as well as what people thought about what you have done—is going to reside in servers around the world for decades, if not forever.”
Numismatic knowledge also resides on servers. Unfortunately, not all of these bits and bytes are accurate, or tell the whole story. Many so-called-facts, and other inaccuracies, continue to be repeated. This problem has plagued researchers and scholars for centuries. Their advice: check primary sources. It is too easy today to Google whatever you are interested in. There is danger in believing every link that you follow. There is also danger in assuming that your “hits’ contain all you need to know.
In order to complete your knowledge of a specific numismatic topic you most likely will have to explore archives, museums and libraries. The Canadian Numismatic Bibliography, edited by Darryl Atchison, F.R.C.N.S., is an excellent resource on what has already been published, www.julaine.ca/canbiblio. Fortunately, a few copies of the first edition are still available.
Your RCNA Librarian is pleased to loan members any item listed in our book lending Library catalogue that may assist their research, www.rcna.ca/RCNA_Library_Catalogue.pdf.
When my wife and I visited New York last fall to attend the Coinage of the Americas Conference, at the headquarters of the American Numismatic Society, we took in the sights and sounds of the Big Apple. No trip to Manhattan would be complete without viewing the skyline from atop the Empire State Building. While we were waiting in line to ride the elevator down a few floors to where the main elevator takes visitors down to the second floor we noticed a young boy. With his blond hair and big glasses he reminded me of my youth—yes, I once had hair on the top of my head. The lad was swinging on the velvet rope that kept the rest of us in line. His father must have felt the stress that comes when boys fool around too long for he grabbed his son by the arm and yanked him inside. A short time later when we were all in the crowded elevator and I noticed from my view looking down through his glasses that he had been crying. He appealed to his mother to head back to their hotel room to the comfort and safety of their home away from home.
To say that this broke my heart is an understatement. A loving father would surely regret causing pain when acting out of frustration.
As collectors and numismatists we quite often take risks and “play outside the ropes.” The mere act of paying more than face value for a collectible is the very definition of risk, the threat of making a mistake or of being cheated or robbed. In spite of extensive research, study and due diligence it is probable that at least one purchase you make will turn out to be something you regret.
Whenever you organize an event, write an article or say, edit The CN Journal, there will be someone, somewhere that will yank you aside, effectively ending your joy and happiness. You may dismiss this notion and suggest the development of a thicker skin, but by definition you would be proving my point. Life is cruel, happiness is fleeting.
Are you guilty of noticing only what is wrong or missing, or do you complement others on what they have done right? Most people do not want to be reminded of their inadequacies, only their successes.
Instead of listening to critics, or the countless whiners and complainers, why not revel in what you are accomplishing or the fun you are having volunteering, collecting and communicating with other collectors and numismatists? Life outside the ropes is so much more fun and exciting than standing quietly in line.
Just as you cannot truly enjoy something until you acknowledge that it may one day be broken, damaged, lost or gone, so too should you recognize that your collection should be enjoyed and appreciated, today and tomorrow, for all its art and beauty, and not just for its investment potential.
One of my favourite new comedies on TV this season is The Middle. According to the Internet Movie Database Web site the show is about “The daily mishaps of a harried woman and her semi-dysfunctional family and their attempts to survive life in general in the city of Orson, Indiana.” In “The Break Up” episode, Frankie Heck, the mother of the family, talks about her “Sucker List” that lists the names and phone numbers of people who only call when they want something. She doesn’t want to answer the phone when these folks pop up on her Caller ID. Unfortunately, her husband Mike isn’t Sucker List savvy, and takes a call that ropes Frankie into running the snack bar at their son Axl’s basketball game. Sucker!
Do you answer the call for help and volunteer whenever you are asked? Many collectors and numismatists heed the call to help out their local club or organize a show or convention. For them, this is how they “give back” to the hobby they love, one that has given them so much pleasure.
Maybe you are the one making the calls, looking for someone – anyone – to fill in the gaps in a duty roster for an upcoming show or event. Nothing is more frustrating than pleading for help when you desperately need it. All too often our leaders are forced to turn to the dedicated as a last resort when seeking to fill a position. Delegating tasks and responsibilities is the goal, but it is hard to achieve.
Maybe, just maybe, you welcome each new opportunity to become involved. Maybe you are the kind of person who doesn’t volunteer but is willing to help when asked. Maybe your life is fuller and more interesting when you are involved in something exciting.
I looked back on how I became responsible for my current list of duties and found that Michael Walsh asked me to assist him in updating the C.N.A. Web site on April 2, 2004. Geoffrey Bell asked me to be the C.N.A. Librarian around February, 2005. Based on a conversation with John Regitko, Yvon Marquis asked me in an email in March, 2005 to confirm if I planned to run for the position of Second Vice-President for the 2005-2007 term. Please remember that a commitment to the position of Second Vice-President implies standing for President four years later. After Paul Fiocca passed away in May, 2007, Charles Moore asked me to undertake the role of Editor of The CN Journal.
Many RCNA members have asked me if I am wearing too many hats in our Association. Maybe I should have prepared a Sucker List of callers to avoid. Maybe I am just having loads of fun! The current situation in the RCNA of one sucker doing too many tasks is not my fault! Blame them (just kidding)!
The message here, in case I haven't been clear, is that our hobby needs more volunteers. Carpe diem.
Here’s the scene: the room at the RCNA Convention Auction is packed with serious collectors and numismatists. The highlight of this year’s event is a prized rarity that only shows up once in a generation. You have done your due diligence prior to travelling to the host city; you have carefully examined the piece during the lot viewing and prepared your maximum bid. The intense session counts down on your last bid – going once, twice, sold! Aha! You won the lot!
Or how about this, you are examining a choice piece at your favourite dealers table. In addition to great eye appeal, the grade on the certification label matches your appraisal. You ask the dealer “What can you do for me on this?” The offer you receive is less than you expected and you have the cash in your wallet. Aha! This rare coin is yours!
There may come the day when you are closely examining a coin or token and you notice something different. On closer examination, and after comparison to another example, you realize that this is something new. Aha! You discovered a variety!
Events such as these are not restricted to only collecting. Imagine you are researching your favourite topic at an archive or library, a topic you have been working on for years and that has fascinated the numismatic community for decades. You come across an obscure fact that provides some much needed insight. Aha! Mystery solved!
It could be that for a few years you have been working on an article, book or monograph. After careful research and numerous rewrites, supplemented with generous feedback from your peers, your efforts appear on the page of The CN Journal. Aha! You’ve been published!
Or what if you, and your local club, are hosting our Annual Convention? All of your planning, organizing and hard work comes down to the cutting of the ribbon at the Official Opening of the Bourse. Just like that the crowd rushes in. Aha! The show begins!
A few days later you are enjoying the fellowship at the banquet and the award recipients are announced. To your total surprise your name is read out. Aha! Your contributions are recognized!
You check the catalogue value of your collections in the latest issue of the Charlton Standard Catalogue. Aha! You’re up!
A merchant tells you the total for your meal and while sorting through your change looking for the correct amount you notice a key date. Aha! Lunch is free!
All of these defining moments, where you gain real wisdom, clarity, appreciation, or feelings of accomplishment, are called Aha Moments. Our magnificent hobby will give you many Aha Moments. Follow your heart; explore the truly vast world of numismatics. Life is too short. Get busy living. Immerse yourself into every aspect of your hobby, whether it be accumulating, researching, studying, exhibiting or writing. Believe, act, go, just do it!
Sixty years ago the founders of The Canadian Numismatic Association developed The C.N.A. Bulletin to serve as our Official Publication. When the membership increased enough to warrant an offset printed version the completely revised format was re-named The Canadian Numismatic Journal to better reflect that this was a Canadian journal about numismatics.
Right away members and other coin collectors took the first part of the name of our first publication and attached it to our new effort, hence the inaccurate “CNA Journal.” This was wrong on so many levels. Firstly, it never has been, nor never will be, this often repeated name. You would be correct if you referred to it as the CNA’s Journal (the same as in Spink’s Numismatic Circular, the monthly publication of Spink and Son Ltd., published since 1892) as the CNA and Spink are possessive. Secondly, by adding the ‘A’ at the end of CNA you would be implying that the name of our Official Publication includes the word association. While this approach would be correct if we were a society, as in the International Bank Note Society Journal, published since 1961, it is not true for The CN Journal. “There ain’t no A in the CNJ.”
A difficulty arises when using the name of our Official Publication in a sentence. The problem centres around capitalization of “The” as most writers gravitate toward a lower case first letter. The American Numismatic Association’s Official Publication was known for decades as The Numismatist but appeared in print many times as “the Numismatist.” The name was changed to just Numismatist as part of a push to generate wider circulation with distribution at newsstands. The name was changed back to the Numismatist a few years ago.
Another pattern emerged with our formation in February 1950: the abbreviation of our name was printed with periods between the letters: C.N.A. Styles in print media evolve over time and seem to be influenced by the desire to save key strokes. For example, does “Mr.” really need the period? Most organizations today are referred to by their initials without the periods (eg. RCMP, RBC, CPMS, ONA, ANA, etc.). We too have ‘evolved’ and now use RCNA. In an attempt to honour our past we continue to use “C.N.A.” when referring to something from yesteryear and RCNA since Royal status was granted by Queen Elizabeth II.
In case you didn’t know, our old name actually included “The” before Canadian Numismatic Association. Our new name also includes the same “The” as the first word. While our bilingual logo included a French name when adopted, this was never registered with Consumer and Corporate Affairs (as it was known then) until our new ‘Royal’ name was registered with Industry Canada in the fall of 2008.
Where do your loyalties lie? Are you devoted to your loved ones? Do you respect your relatives? How much do you value your connection to your employer or municipality? Which of your nation’s goals and ideals are you committed to?
Our United States members regularly recite "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
If you consider yourself a serious collector or numismatist, where do you place your loyalties first? Do you focus your efforts firstly toward your collection, your local club, your specialty group or your national organization? If you were to volunteer some of your time, what group or organization would you support first? Your local club certainly needs volunteers but so too do other groups, societies and associations.
What if you have written an original article? Who gets it first? Most club newsletters are desperately in need of original articles. If your local club publishes your paper will a national or specialty publication reprint it? They may have a policy of publishing first run articles only. Most national, or specialty group, publications will grant permission for you to reprint your article in your local club newsletter. The fact that your efforts were featured in national publications adds stature to you and the club you are from. Once a more prominent publication features an article by you and it is reprinted locally your club has the right to be justifiably proud of you. If your piece only runs in your club newsletter you limit your prestige and exposure of the information you are providing.
If you have the inclination and the financial freedom, to whom should you give your coins, tokens, paper money, books or cash to first? Would the scarce numismatic publication you donate to a local club library benefit as many collectors, as it would if you donate it to a national numismatic library? Where is the greater good?
The RCNA is Canada’s premiere national numismatic association. We need volunteers in order to grow and to continue to serve our members and the numismatic community. We need not only your time but your ability or skill set as well. We need donations in kind and in cash to fund our educational and other programs and initiatives. We need donations of books and publications from authors and collectors so as to improve our Library’s holdings for the benefits of members and researchers. We need first run articles in our Official Publication, The CN Journal, to improve our retention of members at renewal time and advance the knowledge of collectors everywhere.
We at The Royal Canadian Numismatic Association pledge to:
“Serve those who enjoy coin collecting/numismatics by promoting fellowship, communication, education and providing advocacy and leadership for the hobby."
Your Joy: Your hobby and all that you collect and learn and enjoy.
Your Aim: Explore fully the world of numismatics.
Your Job: What you do to make a living that allows you to buy coins.
Your Savings: Another resource for acquiring rarities.
Your Ride: What takes you to the bourse to check dealers’ inventories.
Your Look: The clothes you wear when you walk into the bourse.
Your Outlook: How you view the likelihood that you might fill that “hole.”
Your Body: The vessel for your eyes you use to scrutinize dealers’ ads.
Your Challenge: Find the finest known coins, tokens, medals and banknotes.
Your Goal: Acquiring the best and rarest that you can afford.
Your Purpose: Reaching your goal before other collectors do.
Your Saturday: The day you find out what you could buy.
Your Voice: What you use to plead for a better discount.
Your Sunday: The day to scramble for money to pay for what you bought.
Your Monday: The day your better half learns what you spent.
Your Pride: Your slabs that contain finest known examples.
Your Dare: Collect as many condition census rarities as I have!
Your Call: How you rationalize what you spend on your collection.
Your Mistake: ‘That impulse’ buy of an over-graded, uncertified, raw coin.
Your Delight: The beautiful new mint set that just arrived in the mail.
Your Focus: Studying the origins, background and history of coins.
Your Study: Understanding specialized reports and publications.
Your Approach: Investigating market trends and new varieties.
Your Involvement: Selfless dedication to your favourite association.
Your Nature: Pleasure at offering your time and energy.
Your Contribution: Time you spend volunteering.
Your Gift: A generous donation to your favourite organization.
Your Secret: Fun you had contributing to a successful event.
Your Influence: Counsel you provide mentoring others.
Your Attitude: What collectors use to appraise who you are.
Your Reward: Recognition you receive for service to your hobby.
Your Choice: Your collection, your way, your life.
The Smothers Brothers were one of the great acts that made watching The Ed Sullivan Show such a pleasure when I was growing up. Tommy Smothers’ devilish grin as he proclaimed his Mother’s preference for his brother Dick was always good for a chuckle. This comedy routine was the featured track on their eighth comedy album, Mom Always Liked You Best!, and reached number 39 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart.
Everyone wants to grow up being loved. We also would like to deal with professionals and suppliers that are our friends. In the real world we seldom deal only with our friends. If you live in a large urban centre it is nearly impossible to be really close to your doctor, dentist, lawyer, realtor, insurance agent, car dealer and repair shop, renovation contractor, etc.
It is even more problematic in collecting to restrict our sources to those we like best. Acquiring rare coins, tokens, medals and notes is more difficult when we only deal with a select group of friends. Focus long enough on a specific area and you are bound to experience difficulty in completion. Finding the last few items you seek will force you to deal with sources that are not your first choice. Avoiding dealers, or auctioneers, that you dislike or don’t trust, in your search for completion will lead to frustration. The inability to advance your collection may drive you away from numismatics.
Resourceful dealers maintain personal relationships with their clientele and work to overcome gaps in their inventory by sourcing out needed items from other dealers, or by approaching advanced collectors, or by attending auctions.
There is also another factor: personality conflicts – these sometimes influence attendance at local coin club meetings. Some members will choose not to attend when they know that two factions will be feuding! Wise leaders will shelter the regular members from the bickering that ensues when discussing the club’s business by holding executive meetings at a different time. Many members dread club politics, steer clear of outspoken ‘experts’ and fear domineering personalities. Nothing is more destructive to membership renewals than squabbling and infighting. A ‘happy club’ is a ‘healthy club.’
The online forum world is fraught with its own unique personality and behaviour problems. “Flame wars” can derail discussion and Newbies are often ridiculed or disparaged.
When feelings have been hurt, or someone does not get their way, or the fun is gone, it is hard to remember that it is always best to take the higher road and to play nice in the sandbox.