Please note that these articles are from electronic backup files and may not be exactly as the final printed versions.
Now I See Red
I met Ray about 17 years ago. He was at that transition phase that many go through in our hobby. He had assembled an admirable collection of Canadian decimal and needed to dispose of his duplicates. I remember purchasing some nice halves at his kitchen table. This exposure to selling may have precipitated his decision to open a retail shop early in 1987. It could be said that he has never looked back on that decision to “cross to the other side of the table”. A collector never really knows what it is like to be a dealer as long as he stays on the front, or public side, of the bourse table or retail counter. As Ray’s shop grew and prospered he soon needed a full time assistant. Two of the employees he hired and trained have gone on to become respected numismatists.
Ray has always focused on getting to know his customers and his enthusiasm for collecting usually sparks their interest in our hobby. He has encouraged many collectors to join our local coin club and is unquestionably our biggest recruiter. Even though he is past the age when most people have retired, he continues to wake up each morning eager to get to the shop and serve his loyal client base. Ray has a zero tolerance policy for criminal practices. He always takes great pains to ascertain the validity of a seller’s ownership of offered items. Like many dealers he struggles to correctly grade his coins offered for sale and to understand the complexities of the grading process and the opinions of the grading companies as labelled by them. This is more difficult than many collectors and dealers realize. It is easy for a collector to spend an inordinate amount of time on one numismatic specimen and come quite close to the correct grade. It is difficult to correctly grade all items especially when the volume is increased to the level of a busy and successful coin store.
Recently, I was searching though my collection of business cards from numismatic dealers and came across Ray’s. It reminded me of the time, not long ago, when two thugs came into his shop and beat him up. I came by the next day to express my outrage and was able to help out by answering the many calls from his concerned clients, while the media was interviewing him. I also cleaned up some of the mess and washed his blood from the counter. I threw out all of his bloodstained business cards except one.
Whenever I hear a collector complain about the profit a coin dealer makes, now I see red!
Are There Too Many Coin Shows?
I attend and observe first hand many southern Ontario coin shows. It has been noticed that the attendance is frequently down compared with former years. I have overheard people discussing this decline and stating, “there are too many coin shows.”
At one time, coin clubs ran most of the shows. In contrast, there are now many shows run by commercial interests. These are in addition to the annual club events, which still continue. Are too many bourse spaces now being offered for the potential numbers of collectors expected to attend so many shows? Tom Masters, as Editor of the Ingersoll Coin Club bulletin, commented some time ago that: “Back in the early 60s, in the spring and fall, one could attend a coin show almost every weekend. During the 70s, many of those shows disappeared: Clinton; Ingersoll; Kitchener; Simcoe; Huronia; Sarnia; St. Thomas, to name a few in my immediate area.”
Conditions have become much worse since then. EVERY weekend in the spring and fall, you can attend a coin show within easy driving distance in this area. Finding a weekend WITHOUT a show is now next to impossible. Because of either poor planning or show competitiveness, there are often 3 shows within a 2-hour drive. Shows are now also held in winter, expanding the “season” into November, January and February. In my opinion, lower quality shows are a likely result when the show schedule becomes too crowded.
With affordable airfares, dealers now travel to shows thousands of miles away. It is not unusual to encounter Canadian dealers at the New York International, Chicago International, Florida United Numismatists, California, ANA and other shows. When you add these shows to the list of those in our area, is it any wonder that both collectors and dealers are becoming so selective in their choice of which shows to attend? I have recently noticed dealers absent from shows they faithfully attended and even shows that sold out in the past can no longer boast a dealer waiting list. All dealers eventually need a weekend off with the family.
Although dealer material at coin shows does sell, many items offered are virtually the same show after show. Most of those in attendance appear to be the same traveling crowd too, supplemented by a few locals. With attendance in decline, so are sales volumes and profits.
Collectors who want to dispose of their duplicates, or sell material they are no longer interested in, rent affordable tables at local club shows. Thankfully, they are the ones that now make fresh collector material available at attractive prices. Some of the most successful coin shows feature a number of these collector/dealers. The annual Waterloo Coin Society Show is one example that comes to mind. Coin shows such as this one have the support of a great many collectors, which often reflects in good attendance at their events.
Are commercial shows, with their higher bourse fees, slowly pricing themselves out of business? Only time will tell. I can suggest one solution to this problem: it is time to eliminate or at least merge some of the more marginal shows. Will organizers meet the challenge? Will they find the way back to the success of the past, when there was a balanced schedule of shows? It’s hard to say, since it seems everybody wants to be in Show Business!
(Mr. John Regitko is well known in the hobby. He is a Past President of the C.N.A., a recipient of the Ferguson Award, a Fellow of the C.N.A. and currently serves as its Executive Secretary. Readers are encouraged to express their opinions and respond to Mr. Regitko’s comments in Letters to the Editor. Ed.)
Your Two-Cents Worth
Now that you’re reading this page, it’s likely that you’ve already read the items in this issue that have caught your interest. We sincerely hope that you found them informative.
Your Editor strives to make sure each issue has something for every C.N.A. member. Each month he marshals his team of contributors to get their reports, news, feature articles, regular columns and the language translation. He compiles a draft of these submissions. Then he does a layout to include the illustrations, sets up the standard CN Journal format, fits in the advertising and gets it all off to the proof-readers who try diligently to locate any errors in facts, suggest grammatical changes and catch those typos that have slipped through. It’s all a surprising amount of effort – a lot of it by volunteers – more work than you may have ever realized. When it goes to the printer, we feel that each new issue of our CN Journal is a continuation of its tradition of importance to our hobby and something you’ll enjoy reading.
No matter how much we believe we’ve succeeded in creating a quality publication, you – the reader – will be the final judge. And it’s this judgment that we need as the way to measure our progress.
Without reader feedback, we at The CN Journal have difficulty assessing how our publication is perceived. You might think that the lack of comments from readers would indicate there are no dissatisfactions; but this could also be because of apathy. I was flabbergasted one time when I asked a C.N.A. member: “Do you feel The CN Journal is improving?” to which he replied: “I never open the envelope.” That type of attitude is a difficult thing for us to react to. Surely, few members would share that viewpoint – and really, any who do should be courteous and tell us about their concerns. Trying to interpret readers’ reactions when there are no comments and only silence prevails is perplexing for those who want to offer you quality CN Journal content. We need feedback.
As our reader, your written compliments, comments, suggestions and new articles are all essential to help us keep presenting an educational, informative and worthwhile publication. You can put your opinions in Letters to the Editor, or send him writings about numismatic items you think will interest others. You’re encouraged to do this. If you have e-mail, it’s the easiest way to communicate. Check the page: Editorial Comment where you’ll find how to: Contact the Editor. If you lack suggestions, then write to simply tell the Editor what numismatic items you collect and want to read about. Tell him about any of your dislikes about The CN Journal. Either way, give him your “two-cents worth”. Are you ready? Do it now!
What Good Is Money?
Your club is in an envious position. Years of hard work by the dedicated numismatists in your rank and file have resulted in a nice nest egg securely tucked away in long term Guaranteed Investment Certificates. Your members generated the profit that created your investment portfolio by their hard work and initiative. They probably hosted coin shows or educational seminars, organized lotteries or raffles or hosted other types of events. The photos of smiling members, enjoying the events that they had the vision to organize, highlight your club history. Have you ever wondered what they hoped the profits would be used for?
Now that I have brought the subject up, how does your club executive utilize your financial resources? Are there programs in place to improve the hobby experience for your members? Do you support the national and specialty associations and societies by being one of their dues paying members? Is your club library adequately stocked with reference material to assist your membership with research information? Do you regularly host members’ appreciation events? Do you promote attendance to special banquets and events by subsidizing the cost? What youth programs do you have in place?
Attendance at the Club Delegates’ meeting at The Canadian Numismatic Association annual convention has been less than ideal the last few years. The meeting provides an opportunity to communicate the needs and concerns of the C.N.A. in regard to the local and regional clubs, associations and societies in Canada. The meeting also offers these same clubs a chance to learn what others are doing to boost their memberships and improve their meetings. The active growing clubs have shared many terrific ideas over the years. Even the staid, well-established clubs can learn from the enthusiasm and energy of the movers and shakers making up the membership of our most active and growing organizations.
If the critical mass of attendance by the key people of the coin clubs of Canada falls below a certain level, the benefits of an annual delegates’ meeting disappears. This would be bad for numismatics in our nation.
I strongly urge all clubs to send a representative to the club delegate’s meeting at the C.N.A. annual convention in Toronto this year. Those organizations that are in the fortunate position of having a solid financial footing should seriously consider providing an honorarium to defer some of their delegates’ expenses. After all, what good is money if it is not put to good use!
E-traps and E-pitfalls
There are important lessons to be learned in the classroom of Internet auctions. Rarity is relative. In the minds of most people, the degree of rarity is directly proportional to the availability of an object. An object’s price is normally the result of the demand for that object. When demand outstrips availability, the result is a higher relative price. Rarity should only influence value, but the word itself can become a determinant of value when it is used to raise an object’s appeal.
An exceedingly casual survey of one day’s listings of a well-known Internet auction site, revealed an interesting phenomenon. I searched for the words “scarce”, “very scarce” and “rare”. None of the readers of The CN Journal are likely to confuse the meanings of these common words. Yet the results of my search indicated a surprising trend in Canadian coins. There were 123 coins described as being “scarce”; 53 of which were considered “very scarce”. No less than 261 were shown to be “rare” coins.
What is going on here? Are we selling off all our rare coins at a remarkable rate? Or are we simply being bombarded by a sales term? It rather reminds me of the proverbial used car dealer’s story about a vehicle’s previous owner, the little old lady.
Yes, rarity is relative. Not necessarily relative to the scarcity of a piece, but rather to the income being sought by its seller. Legitimate and upstanding dealers will not stoop to this tactic of false description. If you do see a well-respected dealer offering a piece and he calls it rare, it most certainly is. The seller’s feedback rating will, in most cases, tell you much about his integrity.
Another search filtering device I use to decide if the seller is from the shadowy side of the street is the “shipping” costs. Some charge exorbitant rates. I have seen shipping rates of $4 and $5 (USD of course), applied to items that show up in the regular mail with the basic minimum letter rate stamp proudly affixed to the envelope. With the current U.S. exchange rate of about 73-cents on the Canadian dollar, the actual cost is $5.48 to $6.84. The charge seems kind of inflated for a 49-cent stamp and an envelope. Such sellers show themselves to be greedy and dishonest.
Not long ago on this Internet auction site I noticed several rare Spanish cob coins from a place in China. They all bore a remarkable similarity to each other. Shipping costs: $38 USD. This led me to another source, also from China, that offered a supposedly scarce figurine, for a fraction of what one would expect, but the shipping was a minimum of $88.
Be forewarned. Read all the fine print. The lessons you learn are all a part of your numismatic E-ducation.
I’m sure that this is going to ruffle some feathers, but I think that it is high time that we redesigned our circulating coins.
It isn’t because our existing coin designs are bad. In fact I think they are excellent designs whose long life stands testimony to their quality. However, I don’t think that it was ever intended that these designs should be used forever.
In 1867 the new Dominion of Canada decided to continue the designs used on the circulating coins struck for the Province of Canada. Those designs had been placed into circulation in 1858. While pleasing to the eye, they were very utilitarian. Nonetheless, those designs were kept in use, with some minor variations, until a general coinage redesign of 1937. Basically, the 1858 designs were used for 79 years; nine of those before Canada even existed as a country. In the case of the 1-cent and 5-cent coins there was a design change in 1920, and 1922 respectively, so those denomination have a different type used for a few years. Now, 67 years after the 1937 redesign, we are still using those pre-second world war designs.
As mentioned, I seriously doubt that there was ever any intention to make these designs last forever. Most likely they kept in use because they were good, and because they were popular. Somewhere along the line it became unthinkable to change them. In recent years we’ve frequently changed the design of our circulating coins for a single year or two and every time the results have been positive.
While most Canadians have a strong attachment to the coin designs we have all grown up with, they are much more excited by change. Phone calls and e-mails to the Canadian Coin News office have invariably been more excited than annoyed.
That tells me that most of us would embrace new coin designs, provided they were well done, and seemed relevant to Canadians. I think the British have done it right, the lower denomination coins have designs that fit in well with their coin tradition, while the higher denomination coins are used for commemorative issues. Meanwhile, they also run a series of pounds commemorating different constituents of the United Kingdom.
As an added bonus, changes to circulating coins put variety into people’s pockets, and that often encourages new collectors who start from pocket change. Many of them will eventually lose interest in numismatics and spend their collection, but some will become future members of the Canadian Numismatic Association.
Re-Birth of a Canadian Coin Collector
In the fall of 1977, I was asked by fellow numismatist and educator Dr. Harold Donald Allen to be a member of the first annual Canada Coin Week in 1978. At first, I tried to decline because I didn’t live in Canada. But, Dr. Allen persisted by saying: “I had heard some favourable comments from Coin World editor, Margo Russell, about your U.S. efforts along the same line. I believe your genuine love for numismatics coupled with your dynamic enthusiasm to share it with others, by any means, will be an asset to our (Canada’s) first effort. Please reconsider. I know it will assist your U.S. efforts with the Congress and the A.N.A.”
And it did. The April 11, 1979 front page of Coin World writes: “...House Banking Solon Endorses Coins in Study of Man’s Roots...word of this endorsement came by way of the energetic Coin Week Canada committee member, Walter A. Ostromecki, Jr., who wrote to Congress to call attention to National Coin Week....”
I’m glad I did! It was an outstanding educational success thanks to a team of dedicated individuals: Al Bliman, Jack Veffer, Paul Johnson, Stanley Clute, Les Winners, Scoop Lewry, Jim Betton, Dr. Allen and myself. I received a special commendation plaque for my educational efforts at the July 28-30, 1978 C.N.A. convention, City Centre Tower, London, Ontario. It is proudly displayed in my study on the wall with many of my other numismatic accolades. I continued to serve on the Canada Coin Week Committee through 1982, when “we” expanded it to World Coin Week. Much of these details are covered in the publication: C.N.A.: A Half Century of Advancement in Numismatics, 2000. My only regret is that I let my membership and fellowship with some of the C.N.A.’s movers and shakers lapse after 1983 until it was renewed in 2004. By then, so many that I knew had passed on.
C.N.A. Bug Bites Hobbyist Again
As I passed through US Customs and Immigration at the Toronto International Airport in Canada before my flight home to California after visiting the 51st C.N.A. Show, I paused for a moment after I was asked the question, “Bringing in any fruit, seeds or soil into U.S.?” I thought it odd to ask such a question. I must have looked like someone to him who just might. Why? Because I figured the retired Professor of Botany light lit up on my forehead, not the numismatist on vacation one.
After I passed through without any further questioning, I had second thoughts. Should I declare the ‘bug’ I was bringing back with me to the States or not? I decided not to, since I knew it was not a lethal health risk to mankind, vegetation, soils, or the environment. What was this ‘bug’ I brought back? Simply put, I had been bitten by the Canadian numismatic bug. I now had an irresistible itch to collect Canadian coins — for which I suspect there can be no cure!
My first treatment option was to read up on the various types of Canadian collecting avenues available to me in the States. With this done, I eagerly rummaged through all the Canadian coins, paper money, medals and tokens in my Young Numismatist holdings.
I discovered an UNC 1937 5-cent coin, several 1942 Tombacs in UNC, an 1890H silver five cent piece, an 1859 (double punched 9) and 1876H large cents, a 1923 small cent, an 1887 ten-cent coin, a 1908 fifty-cent piece and several worn tokens. The latter I decided, needed more expertise than I had for identification.
My second inoculation came through my long time collector friend, Nona Moore, living in Yucca Valley, CA, about a two- to three-hour drive away. I called her on the phone to arrange a meeting. She suggested tomorrow, July 22, her 84th Birthday. I graciously accepted!
It was a little after 9 a.m. when I pulled onto the dirt road leading to her desert home. The temperature was already 90 degrees (F). I used my cell phone to call ahead and let her know it was me coming up the driveway. Her two big rotwilers barked out a greeting as my car pulled in and stopped close to her front door. Nona came out to greet me with a hug and some freshly brewed coffee. We went inside the air-conditioned comfort of her home and down into the basement, her numismatic refuge.
I placed the seven Canadian tokens on the table for her to examine. After looking over the group, she remarked: “Walt, you have here several nice specimens of bouquet sous, the Canadian equivalent of U.S. Hard Times Tokens. They were struck about the same time, and for many of the same reasons. Most were struck by individuals in the U.S. for small Canadian businesses who desperately needed small value coinage. There was little to be found in circulation because of the hard economic times.”
Nona continued, “On the surface they all look alike. Your tokens grade About Good to Fine. You have three distinct types: four T. Duseaman, Bank Tokens with different numbers of leaves in their reverse wreaths, 16 to 32, I believe; one Bank of Montreal Token and one Bank du Peuple, closed wreath / 20 leaves variety. All your tokens are scarce according to an analysis written by Canadian Bouquet Sous specialist, Bowman in 1955. I have a copy of his reference somewhere in this mess. When I locate it I’ll sent it to you, so you can attribute each to a Bowman number.”
“Walt, you have a good start here on a nice representative collection of early Canadian tokens. I hope your new interest will make you a collector of these. There are few in the U.S. Finding tokens from dealers and auction sources will be your greatest problem. I have two Prince Edward Island Ships Colonies & Commerce Tokens I want to give you for your collection. They are the only Canadian tokens I have in my foreign material inventory. They are listed in Charlton’s Catalogue of Canadian Colonial Tokens. Have fun!” That’s just what I have done. Thanks, C.N.A., for helping me catch the Canadian Token Collecting bug while visiting the recent July 2004 Toronto show. I’m proud to spread it around, here in Southern California USA!
Closing Thoughts on Collecting Canadian and Provincial Tokens
Canadian and Provincial Tokens are still today not well appreciated or collected in the United States. In their Canadian homeland, they have not received the attention they properly deserve. This is unfortunate, since they represent some of the most interesting and rarest of any tokens struck in all of North America. This situation, however, presents the astute collector with very favourable buying opportunities, since great rarities can still be purchased at very reasonable prices —something this new collector will avidly pursue and report on. I will not hesitate to ‘cherry pick’ any of these tokens, in whatever grade, from a U.S. dealer’s token box marked ‘bargains.’ Who knows what great treasures and rarities still lie undiscovered and undocumented in dealer stocks. Oh, the fun of the hunt. Let the fever begin!
Evolution of a Coin Collector
I’m sure anyone who has collected for any length of time will have their own story to tell about how they started collecting and will find similarities to my recollections of conditions when I began and where I’m at now in the hobby. If you are a well-worn collector, read on and reminisce, but this article is really written for beginning collectors. Here is my story.
I started collecting Canadian one-cent coins when I was four. My mother had a bachelor uncle who lived up the road. He was the type that would put white mice in my pocket to show mom. He kept live fish in a cistern in the basement so he could have fresh fish whenever he wanted. Everyone has a crazy uncle like this, right? Please tell me I’m not the only one.
He kept a vase full of old cents on a window ledge and would let me keep as many as I could count until I made a mistake. This was in the early fifties and there were even a few large cents still in the vase. Uncle Archie started me on my journey of coin collecting.
My early and teen years consisted mainly of picking shiny Canadian and U.S. cents out of change as well as hanging on to silver dimes and quarters when I could afford them. Over the years, older family members and others would give me old coins that they had tucked away for my collection. My collection kept growing, although it was not of any great value.
As I grew to adulthood, the dynamics of collecting changed for me. I was no longer content to just hoard coins, and began to organize my collection and improve on some of the poorer examples. I discovered that there were other collectors out there willing to help. One year, when we travelled into the US and while on vacation in Mississippi, I met Katherine Conner, a nice lady, who grew up in Illinois and was probably twice my age. Katherine began collecting out of pocket change as a youngster with a similar approach to mine. She offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse. She would fill in my missing pre-1950 U.S. cents if I would fill in the holes in her Canadian set after 1950. Other than a couple of key dates, Katherine did more for my U.S. cent collection than I would ever have done on my own.
Then came the dark ages of my collecting evolution. In 1980-1981 interest rates went crazy and employment came to a standstill. Despite objections from my wife, Mary, I pulled everything in my silver collection that wasn’t EF or better and sold it as silver bullion. As tough as that was to do at the time, in retrospect it accomplished a number of things. Firstly, silver prices were at an all time high. I paid all my bills and I realized that collecting was an enjoyable hobby and that it could provide a monetary return. Secondly, selling what I did cleaned the trash out of my collection and helped me to focus on what was important to me. I would have found it difficult to achieve this focus on my own.
Over the next few years I hit another wall. After collecting most of the common coins and being without the means to be able to spend an arm and leg on the rare dates, I started getting bored. Picking up the same type of coins every year, with just a date to distinguish the new coins from those already in my collection wasn’t holding my interest. To relieve this boredom I asked people who were planning to travel to bring me back pocket change from other countries. This at least added some variety.
Now, before some of you “Canadian only” purists have a hissy fit, let me finish. Acquiring a few foreign coins here and there led to a chance meeting that would change my collecting life. While helping my best friend Mike put a new roof on their family cottage he mentioned that his father-in-law was well-traveled and probably had a few coins kicking around. The next time I traveled through Toronto we stopped for a visit. I was led into a den lined with literally hundreds of books on numismatics and history. This was my first meeting with Bill McDonald, who I have since learned is a real cornerstone of the hobby.
Bill asked me what interested me and we talked about foreign coins for a while. I may have had coins from as many as thirty-seven countries at that time. He had a box of coins he said he was getting rid of and allowed me to go through them at my leisure. The first thing about Bill that fascinated me was his ability to show you a single coin and then tell you so much about it. I found out that ancient coins were his specialty, something totally unknown to me. Before leaving that day he handed me two coins and said “take these home and let me know what they are, they might be Chinese”. I don’t know if it was intended a test, but it accomplished two things: he turned me into a numismatist and he became my collecting mentor.
From this point on, my hobby went from interesting to absolutely fascinating. My direction has changed again as Bill has me absolutely hooked on ancient coins, mainly Judean and Roman. He introduced me to the Toronto “Feathers group,” an amazing mix of ancient coin collectors. Bob Gait is a retired curator from the Royal Ontario Museum, Jim Bakes has served as the editor of the Classical and Medieval Numismatic Society Journal and the late Keith Aiken was an avid collector of Celtic and Crusader coins. The group even includes Paul Petch, editor of The CN Journal. Through Bill I have met Jim Charlton as well as Bruce and Dorte Brace. He has encouraged me to develop a trust with a few reputable dealers and has helped me step by step into the collecting and the study of ancient coins.
Believe it or not, this is the short version of my evolution. For you new collectors and the collecting hermits out there I’ll try and sum things up:
Collect what interests you.
Join a club and attend coin shows.
Talk to older collectors, they have the expertise and are glad to help. They can point out the good dealers and the ones to avoid, saving you a lot of time and money.
Don’t be afraid of change. Coin collecting covers everything from mint sets to wooden nickels.
Most of all, enjoy this fabulous hobby!
There is an “I” in Team
Managers are fond of claiming that there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’. They have learned that individual actions are generally not in the best interests of an organization. They feel that all employee efforts should be directed to the benefit of the team or group that the employee is a member of. As soon as employees start thinking about what is best for themselves, the team will suffer. Any thoughts about “I” should be replaced with “we”.
Coin collectors are generally made from a different mold. We tend to focus on our own interests and what is best for ourselves. The early days of the collecting experience are usually focused on acquisitions, research and study. Once we get our collecting focus to a stable and relatively complete state we often shift our attention to other collectors, clubs and organizations. This shift might be triggered by a need for more information or new sources of rarities from specialized numismatists. Where would our knowledge be without the information that has been researched by the members of the Canadian Numismatic Research Society? Information is the key to knowledge and knowledge is power. Our C.N.A. Librarian, Geoff Bell, knows this more than anyone. You are wise if your intuition tells you to borrow items from our lending library.
My point is that “Team C.N.A.” is comprised of many individuals, with an emphasis on the letter, “I”. These individuals contribute to the research and study that advances our hobby.
Some collectors focus their attention on a specific goal or action. Their initiatives are the efforts and actions that make the events or activities happen. Where would the C.N.A.’s audio/video library be without the contributions and initiatives of people like Ted Leitch?
Ingenuity from people like the C.N.A. Executive Secretary John Regitko saves our organization thousands of dollars every year. John has found numerous ways to improve efficiency and many innovative methods of serving our members. Look for and subscribe to the new E-Bulletin, you will not be disappointed.
You might have the insight to purchase a C.N.A. membership for a friend. A gift membership will help them learn more about our organization and the hobby of kings.
The CN Journal editor, Paul Petch, suggests that you increase the knowledge of your speciality by investigating the many sources of research information available. Your ideas and research might instigate you to write an article for our members.
Where would we be without the inventiveness of those that expose us to the fun aspects of collecting certain series? Not all of us can afford to purchase the many expensive rarities that the dealers entice us with. If you are ready for something new, you should talk to Roger Fox and the Canadian Tire Coupon collecting group.
Please consider what I have said... it is time to open your I’s to new opportunities.
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Thank goodness life is so varied and interesting, otherwise we should all find ourselves bored rather quickly. Even with its problems, sickness, and inevitable death, each vista of our lives provides a new opportunity for learning, for growth, for understanding. Thank goodness our hobby of numismatics also has many facets, lest we should quickly find ourselves bored and lose interest.
It is good to ask ourselves “Where Art Thou?” from time to time. In that I mean has there been growth, learning, progress? With the New Year upon us, it is perhaps a fitting time to ask such a question. For some, numismatics is but a budding interest, a journey only recently begun. For others, this hobby has been theirs for several decades. No matter the interval, it is beneficial to stop, take a moment and look back at where one has been, where one is now, and where might one go from here.
Not unlike many others, I too began numismatics by filling holes in Whitman folders. It is a fitting place to start, since it can provide a focused challenge, and give one some basic knowledge about mintages, monarchs and other root concepts. From one series (in my case, Canadian five-cent pieces) one can move on to collect others, gradually working backwards in time. I suspect that not unlike 99% of collectors, you didn’t complete the entire Canadian decimal series either, not having found the 1969 large date ten-cent piece in change. Still, one can have a great sense of accomplishment in at least starting the task, and can come away with a pretty decent Canadian decimal collection. What is more, think of the vast amount of knowledge gained while attempting the task.
From there, many begin to specialize, seeking out elusive coins, condition-rare pieces, or specialty items. Some, like a handful of wooden money collectors, have turned into producers of the product. This is a natural progression, moving from novice, to generalist, to specialist, and even entrepreneur.
Beyond the pure collecting aspect, there are other facets in which to become involved. Writing and research is a vast domain. Being involved in leadership at the local, regional, national and international level is another opportunity, open to all. Exhibiting, speaking, and teaching are also domains worthy of pursuit. For those with the skill and stock, becoming a numismatic dealer is also a possibility. Whatever your penchant, one can make the opportunity for oneself to pursue one of these facets. The Canadian Numismatic Association, for example, provides many such opportunities.
So, Brother, Where Art Thou?