Some people say that everything in life has both a cause and an effect. I’m not quite sure, but I do believe it may have been that fourth lobster and just maybe the accompanying cold one that I needed to wash it down, one rainy night in Moncton, not too long ago that led to this column. Though that was never the original intention.
The original intention was simple. Save the C.N.A. 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. If I wished for a personal forum, I’m sure CCN would be convenient.
Rather, I 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, but relieving him of much of the mundane tasks of typesetting, organizing and supervising that effort. Believe me, putting the Journal together is a much more arduous task than it appears.
Sadly, I am sure, we will all miss his views, comments and the enormous effort which he graciously provided to the Journal over the past eighteen years. On behalf of the Journal, to all of Bob’s friends and family, our deepest sympathy and condolences.
On a more positive note, the restructuring of the Journal, its new design and printing process has freed up some funding; in a very limited way; to pay for more well researched, well written feature articles for the Journal. I am currently awaiting approval from the executive committee before announcing a fee schedule for these articles.
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. As Istvan Hendrik leads to in his letter, there are lots of things the Journal should be and can be. However, like any association publication, it can only be as strong, as energetic and as vital to Canadian numismatics as the sum of the contributions by its members.
What’s in a name? Not just any name, but one in particular; how about the Canadian Numismatic Association. Why do I ask? Since November when plans became known that a change was forthcoming to the Journal, I’ve had many queries such as “Well, what are you going to do different in the Journal?” And of course, that brings us back to the name.
Does the term “Canadian Numismatic Association” mean an association for the betterment of Canadian numismatics; or an association for the betterment of numismatics in Canada?
I’ve heard many comments that the C.N.A. is solely for those interested in Canadian coins and quite often an association for those interested in Canadian decimal coinage only. These parties suggest that “the Journal” focus solely on publishing research on Canadian decimal coinage, with their liberal members tolerating the publishing of information on Canadian tokens and provincial issues.
It didn’t take long for me to personally resolve this conflict. Like any question, there’s an answer somewhere. Fortunately, this one was quite easy to find. Where, the first paragraph of the CONSTITUTION of the C.N.A. Here it clearly states; “The Canadian Numismatic Association shall be a non-profit educational organization devoted to research and dissemination of numismatic information for the benefit of Canada, the Canadian people, and those interested in the science of numismatics throughout the world.”
This constitutional statement certainly makes the purpose of the Journal quite clear. “To disseminate numismatic research and numismatic information for the benefit of Canada, the Canadian people and the world wide science of numismatics” and not the singular information of any one collecting group whether it be classical, colonial, exonumia or decimal.
Rather, the goal of the Journal should be to publish the best research, the best articles and the best commentary for the benefit of all collectors and numismatists in Canada, and across the globe. We plan to give this our best shot and provide you with a mix of best material available to the Journal, whether that be decimal, colonial, trade dollars, tokens, classical, medieval or exonumia.
Please don’t be afraid to tell us what you want to see; what you think or what you feel about the Journal. Once again, the Journal is only as good as the sum of the input from all its members.
** No sooner does winter release its icy grip and we’re grabbed by the “two shows every weekend” fever of April. Just check the Coming Events calendar and catch some numismatic sunshine between those April showers.
While you’re out at the shows, or even talking amongst friends, give some thought to the university students you may have contact with, students in your household, at work, at your favorite coin shop or the educationally aspiring offspring of your friends. The Ferguson Foundation STUDENT ESSAY AWARDS Program is a great opportunity for a student to combine a term paper with an opportunity to make a dent in next years tuition fees. Any one of the three grants totaling $2500 would sure be a nice little bursary. Help get the message out and who knows this year’s numismatically inclined student may just become a familiar face at your local coin club. Make a couple of copies of the news release on page 119 and share the program with a student you may know.
** Where have the heavy covers gone? The covers of the Journal that is. Well, they’ve left us for a while. Why? Simple economics. The cost of producing the Journal had simply gotten too high. The Journal needed some changes, both in its printing process and in its appearance; and it needed to do that for considerably less money. The contracting of the Journal to Trajan Publishing will save the C.N.A. close to $15,000, almost 40% this year. Money that can go back in educational programs and in other services. The elimination of the covers meant reduced costs, greatly improved flexibility in production scheduling and the ability to run colour, not only on the cover but on 14 additional inside pages at the same time. We all know, they don’t stand on edge as nicely as they used to; but isn’t what’s inside that counts?
** I’m excited; one of the other benefits of change is the upcoming “First Impressions” section scheduled for the May Journal. A big sixteen page section packed with news, views and great ideas especially for the new and for the novice collector. Ideally, with a strong supply of good material we can accomplish this two or three times a year to meet the needs and demands of our new members. Again, new members be sure to let us know what you’re looking for.
A straw poll yesterday revealed that “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly “sounded most like a.) a title from an old Clint Eastwood movie b.) another overworked cliché or c.) collector’s discussing the1994 Canadian non-circulating commemoratives. Most collectors polled responded with (c.).
Quick to criticize, many collectors have jumped on the recent 1994 $100 Gold entitled The Home Front as “the Ugly”. Taken out of context from the original 1945 Paraskeva Clark painting “Maintenance Jobs in the Hangar” (below), and missing the tips of the propeller blades, the scene is difficult to interpret. I’m sure for many it will be a difficult coin to love.
The absence of clear fields, the lack of detail and specific form in the portrayal of the mechanic, though true to the painting, may have needed some interpretation by the engraver to best convey the image in a medallic form. Certainly a bold step in design for the RCM, in time, who knows, the piece may be classified more often in conversation with medallic art than commemorative coinage. Or like Mark Rothko’s No. 17 or even “Voice of Fire” hanging in our national gallery, it may be an artistic controversy for sometime to come. Whether a success or a failure, like any art, time will prove to be the ultimate judge.
Many have also critized that as the first coin in the Remembrance and Peace program, the coin should have commemorated the 50th anniversary of D-Day. If it had, it would have been a sad occasion, with a retail of $250 Canadian the coin would have been outside the grasp of many Canadians. I’m speculating here, but, watch for a circulating commemorative dollar to honour the valiant effort of our forces at the D-Day offensive. A circulating commemorative dollar would be a great contribution to rekindling the memory of those brave men and women, so unknown to many today.
Of course, I could be wrong, and if so, probably in the usual government pursuit of political correctness, they have forgotten that celebrating war is far different than commemorating those who have served
I was once told “Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades”. Well, we got an almost on the new mint releases last month. Sadly, no circulating D-day commemorative, however we did get another loonless loonie and a novel new medallion set as part of the Remembrance and Peace series. The medallions are quite nice, but I’d spend the $39.95 just for the packaging. As the kids say, it’s radical. The art chosen for each medallion is taken from a portion of a Canadian piece commemorating World II. Artists such as Alex Colville, Orville Fisher and Rich Thistle have had their work chosen for the series. What’s unique about the packaging is how each medal fits into a picture of the original art and is magnetically held in place. Well worth a look.
More changes are up at the Mint. Recently appointed mintmaster Ruth Hubbard has already moved along and becomes president of the Public Service Commission. Jim Corkery has taken up the role as acting mint master for the next sixty days. No decision has yet been made for Hubbard’s replacement.
The times they are a changing. While reading the ANA Numismatist yesterday, I was surprised to see them already debating the issuing of their journal on CD-Rom. Is The CN Journal next or will it be the Internet or our own BBS. (For the electrodigitally challenged, these our computer bulletin boards accessed by a modem) I still like the old fashioned idea of ink on paper, but who knows what’s next. Maybe it’s just a sign saying “think about it”. On the good news front, we’re already storing the Journal in a paginated electronic format so all issues since January 1994 could quite easily be converted (except for the pictures) to CD-Rom or a modem accessed library format. Good luck Ken, that new computer is just the first step.
Into the past, don’t miss the sale of old printer dies from past CN Journals at the C.N.A. convention. Hundreds of dies created by the Barrie Press and used over the years will be sold with all proceeds going to the C.N.A. These dies consist of a metal plate featuring the design, in mirror image, backed with a wooden block. They range in size from one to twelve square inches and contain illustrations of coins, medals, tokens, paper money and more and are value priced at a donation of $1 to $3 dollars each. Happy sorting, cause they’re not.
With the large variety today of collectable fields in numismatics, both national and international, I would like to suggest that the judging of exhibits at a coin show sponsored by a local club should be on a non-category basis. Judges would select first, second and third place exhibits for adults from all exhibits presented and, if warranted, the same for juniors. The public, by ballot, would select the exhibit they like best.
The Société Numismatique de Quebec and some other clubs in Quebec province have always used the non-category system as a basis for judging, awarding first, second and third prizes for the three best exhibits.
It is very important that the public vote by ballot for the exhibit they prefer. At times, the winning exhibit picked by the public is not one of those picked by the judges and, if it is, it is not necessarily the first place exhibit picked by the judges.
Before an exhibit, a club should present exhibiting members with a page of brief instructions, listing the elements necessary for a good exhibit for the public. This is a useful check-list, even for the advanced exhibitor.
Adult club members should encourage junior members to exhibit and suggest to them materials that can be exhibited from the junior's collection. Adults may even loan juniors a few pieces to add to their own pieces for an exhibit. This winter I casually suggested to a new junior member in our club (The Société Numismatique de Quebec) that he enter an exhibit, in our club's March 1994 exhibit (held in a shopping mall), of a small group of foreign bank notes from his collection. This he did with an attractive exhibit of 10 bank notes from 10 countries, each bank note identified on a small piece of paper placed below the note. There was no title for his exhibit and no text, as I did not suggest this to him during our brief conversation. In spite of the lack of these items, this exhibit won the vote of the public for the exhibit they liked the best and our junior member felt real proud afterward. Getting juniors to exhibit gets them more involved in club activities and in the hobby; relieves some adult members of the necessity of exhibiting when they are too busy to do so; and teaches juniors how to prepare an exhibit of what they collect. It also teaches them that they can have an interesting exhibit without exhibiting rare or expensive items.
Some things should be said. So I’m quite pleased to turn “Closing Comments over to Jerry this issue. Paul Fiocca.
Those hot, dog days of August should be appreciated by a large group of tired numismatic conventioneers. Exhausted from hard bourse floors, long club meetings, tours and sometimes even longer banquets, I’m sure they must need a little vacation from their numismatic holiday.
On the convention beat, we know that the old Howard Johnson Connaught hotel can be a difficult venue for a convention. So we extend our congratulations to Tom Kennedy and his entire committee at the 1994 C.N.A. convention in Hamilton for a job well done.
Again an obvious difficulty, novice and junior numismatists were almost as scarce as the food at the RCM reception. We must maintain a focus of not only bringing new collectors into the hobby, but helping them become active participants in the hobby. The Task Force 2000 committee is addressing some of these issues and I hope that we will be able to print the Task Force 2000 report in an upcoming edition of the Journal.
If the C.N.A. convention was a bowl of cherries, things at the ANA convention in Detroit were more like the pits. A weak collector turn-out, the smallest bourse in years, shoddy and inconsistent hotel facilities, a severe room shortage due to an underbooking of facilities by the ANA for the event, will certainly mean a long, long wait until Detroit is ever considered for the event again.
I know I was a little upset with spending twenty-five minutes at the U.S. Immigration offices just trying to get to the convention, until I heard that the contingent from the Vatican, certainly not known for terrorist activities, had to spend almost four hours driving back to Sarnia/Port Huron to enter the U.S.A. The ANA convention had some difficult moments.
On the flip side of that coin, congratulations are in order for Patrick Glassford and John Jay Pittman. Patrick Glassford received a first place award at the ANA for his entry in class 17: Numismatic Errors and Error Varieties. Many collectors had a chance to view his exhibit “Canadian Wrong Planchet Strikes” at the C.N.A. and recognized it as an exceptional entry.
An ANA Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to John Jay Pittman at the convention. John is the only person to concurrently serve as President of The Canadian Numismatic Association and the American Numismatic Association. Certainly, a well deserved honour.
For all the conventioneers this summer, and their committees, enjoy the rest of the summer and start making plans for an exciting C.N.A. convention in Calgary next year.
“To broaden the mind, to develop a sense of the artistic, for my own personal delectation, for profitable amusement and to satisfy man’s inherent acquisitiveness”. This was B. Allan Staines response to a long past competition of the question “Why do I collect stamps?” I’m sure his response would be a winner in any “Why do I collect coins or almost anything?” competition.
It reminded me of my Labor Day weekend which was spent helping with the inherent acquisitiveness of a recently deceased neighbour. Over the past sixty year’s they had filled their house, and I mean entirely filled the house with a lifetime of acquisitiveness. Sadly it was a story of accumulating rather than collecting.
The three day garage sale was as much a treasure hunt, as a bargain hunt. Coin collections were found buried in planters, and in a steel box in te bottom of a large ceramic pot. Single coins were scattered everywhere and even rolls of rusty nickels (guess the date) under the kitchen sink. Stamp collections were found under the mattress, hidden in the bookshelf’s. A cigarette card collection was hiden in a book binder and dollar bills were between the pages of almost every book in the library.
There were boxes of railroad memorabilia randomly scattered across the house and piled near the model railway in the basement. Silverware in the outdoor storage shed and jewelry hidden under the cold air returns. Even a hidden attic filled with Victoriana wicker, clocks, prints and more. There was depression glass, crystal, fine porcelain, Chinese porcelain, Japanese kimonos, spoon collections, records, postcards, pictures and slides from a lifetime of travel. My small role was just helping to identify the treasures from the trash, but it seemed it never ended.
At the end it was sad to watch the final well-picked over bits (some hundred or so boxes) of someone’s lifetime going out the door at two dollars a box. In all the weekend left me with a far greater understanding of a very complex and very private individual, who as a neighbour for twelve years I regret not knowing a little bit better; that and an enormously overwhelming urge to clean out my basement.
With Christmas just around the corner, most coin collectors are busy envisioning new mint sets or an additional piece in a favourite set, all wrapped up under the tree. I was an accountant once, and I guess I still am, and so while most collectors were dreaming of sugar plums and gifts to come, I was usually busy doing my tax planning. Always a favourite way to spend the holidays and usually far more exciting than many of my relatives.
Not really. I do enjoy the festivities, but I need to make a point that anyone with a substantial collection, carefully accumulated over the years needs to do some serious tax planning this year and we all know of course, that we all do our tax planning in November or early December and never at the end of February.
Why this year, more than ever? In February of 1994 the federal government eliminated the $100,000 capital gains exemption. And of course, we know that as a collector, if we sell a coin for more than we paid for it, we have a capital gain to report. So if your collection has appreciated substantially over the purchase price, you could be facing a hefty tax bill unless you decide to shelter some of the gain by using the special election form available this year.
If you file an election, you will be treated as having sold your collection for the price that you designated, this must be an amount more than you paid for the collection and it MUST NOT exceed the fair market value as at February 22, 1994. You cannot claim a loss.
What’s this mean? Let’s say that over the years you’ve assembled a nice collection of Victorian halves, mainly EF, except for a few key dates where you filled those spots in VF grades. Trends would indicate a value of $21,000. Your cost over the years was $8,000. We all know that is unlikely that you will sell the collection for full trends. But you may realize 70 percent of trends, that means you could protect a gain of $14,000 - $8,000 or $6,000 from the taxman. That means if five years from now you sell the collection for $18,000, you pay tax on only $4,000 and not $10,000. That’s definitely something worth looking into.
Remember, it’s extremely important that your estimate of market value be within 10 percent or penalty clauses could apply. Like any good tax planning, be aware of it, get more information, figure it out for yourself and always see a professional for help. But don’t call them at Christmas, do it now.
It’s been a very interesting year. I wish I could say we’ve taken the Journal into a bold new frontier. We’ve moved it along a little but I know we still have a long way to go. At least we do know that the Journal no longer consumes the entire dues of the membership and as the C.N.A. regains its financial footings, it will have a base to begin new services to its members. If you took the time to read “Task Force 2000 - A Planning Report”, and you should read it, it’s easy to see the opportunities that lie ahead.
The Journal is a feast or famine business, we don’t mind but feast is definitely better, so send in those articles today. It is a much easier job when you’ve got a good selection of material to work with.
As editor I’d like to extend my sincerest thanks to all the contributors over the past year to the Journal, without your contributions there could not be a Journal. Your views and the sharing of your numismatic experiences and knowledge is key to the continued development of numismatics as a hobby and the continued growth of the association. We look forward to your continued support in 1995 and would like to extend an open invitation to all the members to share their numismatic knowledge in the Journal in 1995. (Translation: Previous contributors, we know who you are and we need your contributions!)
My special thanks go out to Dr. Marvin Kay and Ken Prophet who not only provide their advisory comments but who take the time to proof each issue; to Stephan LeBlond who struggles through the translation of our President’s message each issue; and to Yvon Marquis who lines up our guest editorialist each issue and also provides his own frequent contributions to the Journal.
So enjoy the holiday season, and when you’re thinking about a New Year’s resolution how about “I will write at least one article on my numismatic specialty and submit it to the Journal in 1995.”