Barry Mann broke into the Top Ten Hit List in 1961 with his cute ditty Who Put The Bomp. The chorus to that catchy tune went something like this:
Who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp?
Who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong?
Who put the bop in the bop shoo bop shoo bop?
Who put the dip in the dip da dip da dip?
Who was that man? I'd like to shake his hand.
He made my baby fall in love with me.
For one hundred years the fine people at the Mint have put the bomp on our circulating coinage. Through times of war, depression and political uncertainty they have put the ram in our gold coins and sovereigns. For decades they have created the bop we look for in numismatic coins and sets. Skilled artists and engravers shape the dip in the plaster model. Expert assayers and refiners guarantee the jam in bullion. The Numismatic Division imparts exceptional appearance. The Communication Department tells the narrative on new issues.
The achievements from 320 Sussex Drive over the last century would fill a book. Words and phrases such as refining awareness of customer needs and expectations, entrepreneurial daring, corporate responsibility and profitability, pursuit of new opportunities, responsive decision-making, and a vision of profitability and leadership only begin to describe the Mint.
The world we live in is incredibly complex and ever changing, not unlike the Royal Canadian Mint. Its four divisions; bullion products and refining, Canadian circulation coins, foreign circulation coins, and numismatic products; operate in a volatile business environment testing the resilience and adaptability of the Corporation and its people.
The role of Master of the Mint goes far beyond what coin collectors traditionally think of. As President and Chief Executive Officer he is responsible for creating a vital and vibrant workplace for striking coins for Canada, and the rest of the world, and for reinforcing the image of the Royal Canadian Mint as one of the leading mints in the world.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that how, and what, you collect can launch you on a trajectory towards your numismatic goal. Coin collecting is a blast and can rocket you to new heights of discovery. Taking command of your spare time and resources will surely fuel your enjoyment in your hobby and your life here on earth. Most seniors remember when our hobby took off like a comet as if the stars had aligned to turn everyone in the whole Galaxy into coin collectors. Older numismatists might feel out of phase today finding some of the new specialties alien to them. It is important to stay on the wavelength of new trends, allowing latitude for the gravity of what may be on the horizon. Our mission at the C.N.A. is to help you get a Big Bang out of collecting.
Deciding what to collect could be influenced by Appendix L “Pricing of Selected Coins 1952-2002” in J. E. Charlton Coinman to Canadians. Charlton includes 16 key date Canadian coins. Their meteoric rise in value is truly amazing. The moniker “key date” is given for good reason because they are tough to find and always in demand.
The right stuff does not touch down in your collection by magic. Rare coins are scarce and difficult to find and do not land in your mail box without considerable work on your part. It takes study and effort to learn how to grade coins accurately and understand their true value. Searching dealer inventories, reviewing advertisements, scouring auction catalogues and developing a network of contacts requires time and effort. Managing your collection takes on a life of its own.
The potential for out of this world value is not the only measure of what might interest you. Some find collecting a series by date boring and much prefer type or topical collecting. Others find collecting numismatic literature elevating. They say that you tend to collect what you were exposed to during your youth. This may be because you often collect what you are most familiar with.
I learned my lesson about the right stuff when I was very young. My Dad was preparing our car for our vacation and sent me off to the dealer for a much needed part just before closing time. I inadvertently gave the wrong description to the parts-man. When I returned home and handed the part to my Dad, as the family sat down for dinner, he looked at me and said (with apologies to Tom Hanks, John Swigert, Jr. and James Lovell) “you, son, we have a problem!”
I grew up listening to the likes of Peter, Paul and Mary. One of their many hits was If I Had A Hammer, written in 1949 by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays in support of the progressive movement (first recorded by The Weavers). This column is not about hammering out danger or a warning or the love between my brothers and my sisters but rather about tools that craftsmen and artisans use to complete their work. If you watch one of the many construction or renovations shows you will see a plethora of specialized gadgets that cut, shape and prepare material for the chosen project.
Serious collectors and numismatist use tools too! Show them a coin and they will whip out their loop and examine your item faster than Jesse James could fire off a shot – well, almost as fast. Obviously, a magnifying glass is to a numismatist what a hammer is to a carpenter.
What other tools enable you to complete your numismatic apprenticeship, craft your knowledge, construct your collection or carve out your niche? Your numismatic library forms the foundation for your knowledge. Association journals and newspaper/magazine subscriptions provide the building blocks. A computer and high speed Internet offers access to a wealth of information and opportunities for communication with fellow collectors. Software facilitates information accumulation, data mining, image capture and manipulation as well as optical character recognition of printed documents.
Just as true professionals attend seminars, product launches and vendor open houses so too should you attend local club meetings, coin shows, annual conventions, educational forums, symposiums, and seminars. The more you know, the more you grow.
In the trades the skilled craftsman does not fear the building inspector. Carefully selecting your items for acquisition from reputable dealers and auction houses will surely allow you to pass inspection when your collection is offered for sale or viewed by others.
I am frequently appalled at how many collectors build their numismatic house lacking an adequate set of tools. Forming a collection is more than placing another brick in the wall.
In a perfect world your coin show would have every type of coin collector in attendance. In the real world your actual turnout may not be what you’d like. The ideal attendee is dependent upon the perspective of the person who is doing the evaluating.
Dealers prefer serious collectors who are looking to buy and members of the general public who have collections or hoards to sell. Your local club or association will be seeking collectors to join and contribute to the numismatic community. Everyone hopes juniors will attend and become the nucleus of the hobby in the years to come. Collectors want new or different dealers at your show, but will settle for fresh inventory. Reporters from hobby publications are looking for leads to interesting personalities with new discoveries, important transactions and emerging trends. The TV media are looking to film stacks of extremely expensive coins and capture sound bites to entertain their viewers. The general public is attracted to the show to gawk at what they saw on the news but may only purchase low value items or giftware. Criminals who are alerted to the existence of the show are looking for an easy score from an unsuspecting dealer after the show.
What type of attendee has the greatest impact on the financial success of your show? Certainly not the tire-kickers or lookey-loos, they are too busy just looking. Modest advertisements in local papers may not draw enough paid attendance to offset the cost of the ad, but they are one way to reach new blood. Attracting collectors from other hobbys is possible by appealing to them through their group organizations; however, success here might be limited. What then is best? When multi-page advertisements for your show, listing the dealers who plan to attend, are run in the primary numismatic newspapers, they will ensure that serious collectors and numismatists are aware of your show and more likely assure their attendance. As a show promoter you simply must advertise, the problem is where and at what cost. Free listings on community events boards are not enough.
Coin shows are not just for collectors, they are also for dealers. A perfect show consists of collectors, dealers, juniors, beginners and members of the non-collecting public - in the right proportions.
Recently one of the major food companies announced two new features on one of their sizes of cheddar cheese: a re-sealable package and cracker sized pre-cut slices. This blew me away! Just think of all the time I have spent over the years trying to evenly cut that sticky stuff, let alone wrapping it in cellophane.
After thinking for a while about how fantastic this new feature is, it occurred to me that all organizations should package their products in such a consumer friendly manner. What better way to increase sales and create consumer loyalty than to cater to what makes the customer’s life better and more rewarding. All this because somebody sliced the cheese for me, you might ask?
Try this one then: why do you have to change the oil in your car so often? When was the last time you changed the oil in your washing machine’s transmission? Or how about old books: who has the time and money to visit large libraries with extensive collections of rare and old texts? Google Books, in conjunction with the University of Toronto, has digitized thousands of volumes. The results are freely available on www.books.google.com.
You want cheese with that?
Most clubs, societies and associations in Canada require members to pay their dues at the end of each year. If you get behind in your reading you may not notice this call for dues. As an out of town member, it grates on me when I fail to remit my payment on time. The C.N.A. directly invoices member clubs, as the treasurer might not receive the dues notice if it was inserted into the club’s copy of The CN Journal. As a convenience to members, the C.N.A. provides secure online payment of dues on our website at www.rcna.ca/paydues.php.
Cheese lovers unite!
Many clubs in Canada have discovered the secret to electronic distribution of their newsletters. Whether by email or website link, this delivery method has the potential to offer colour images, reduce delivery times and virtually eliminate cost. As an added bonus, the size of an issue can be increased without limit and no trees are harmed in the process.
Ahhhh, the power of cheese!
Bob Dylan expresses an interesting philosophical viewpoint in his song Gotta Serve Somebody:
You may be an ambassador to England or France,
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance,
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls
But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.
You may not have given any thought as to whether you serve any one or any thing or any ideal. Those who have caught the collecting bug may feel as though they serve their collection. Our hobby can be a stern taskmaster and can enslave you with the motivation to buy. When you must fill that hole you are serving your desire for completeness. By acquiring the finest known example of a date or type you may be serving your desire for quality or your need for bragging rights. Privileged are the few who have assembled the finest known collection of Canadian decimal coinage by date or type, indubitably they were a slave to the collecting bug.
When you choose to serve the hobby, whether locally or regionally, it may be because you like to volunteer, or organize, or lead, but make no mistake you are serving somebody. Your C.N.A. executive and directors serve those who enjoy coin collecting and numismatics by promoting fellowship, communication and education.
A reputable dealer works with you to build your collection and attempts to serve you in your quest to achieve something worthwhile. Grading companies serve to protect us from counterfeiters and over-graders. Auction firms serve by bringing both consignors and bidders together and by documenting great collections for posterity. Numismatic authors serve the need to educate and engage us but may also serve their own desire to write the definitive article on a given subject. Specialty organizations serve their members' collecting niche.
You may wonder why I wrote this, it may be to see my words in ink
It may be to make you a numismatist or a way to make you think
Well, it may be I’m the devil or I may be a Landlord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody...
Suzanne Somers is perhaps best known by my generation as the ditzy blonde on Three’s Company. Somers’ popularity with viewers grew and she rose to sex-symbol status after her “pin-up” photo sold 500,000 copies. When her request for more than a three-fold increase in salary was rejected by the show’s producers, they limited her appearance in each episode to one minute until her contract expired, effectively ending her presence on the series until 1980 and on Television until 1986. Later, she began marketing exercise equipment via television infomercials in the 1990’s.
When your presence is no longer in the public eye, it is very difficult to regain your past level of fame and glory. People have fleeting memories. Whether your role is dealer, collector, organizer, writer, consultant or grader, you must market yourself. A dealer wants to be remembered when you are buying or selling. A collector wants to be contacted when rarities come on the market. An organizer wants exposure for his event or association. Writers, consultants and graders hope to be employed because of their expertise, accuracy and professionalism.
The purpose of advertising is to create a favourable awareness for a product or service that stimulates or initiates a positive intended action to generate results. Whether you are a dealer or a collector, you are a brand that requires an identity. Your identity will motivate others to deal with you to fulfill your goal and enrich your life. Advertising can improve and increase public recognition of you or your organization or business in the public’s eye. Exposure must be persistent and pervasive and maintained in multiple media as your audience may not receive all publications. Medium is the channel of communication that carries the message from the advertiser to the audience.
The only way to attract new buyers, expand your customer base, compete in the market or create recognition of you or your organization is by regular and consistent advertising. The first indication that an organization is failing is when they reduce their advertising. The last thing that should be dropped is a method to increase sales or expand the customer base. Success in advertising should not be measured by how many calls an ad generates but rather by the influence on the purchasing behaviour and thought patterns of your intended audience. You will not be in the mind of your customers if you are not in front of their eyes.
The choice is yours to market yourself, your organization, your coins, tokens and bank notes or leave our hobby and market the Thighmaster and Buttmaster.
Has anyone ever written the perfect book? I am sure that someone managed to publish a book or article without typos and grammatical errors. Surely in the history of mankind there must have been at least one instance where the content was perfectly suited to the intended audience. The key of course is whether anyone could have satisfied all of his readers in all ways possible, after all you can only satisfy some of the people…
In the mid-1980s, after Steve Jobs launched the Macintosh to wild success, he was inundated with those claiming to have developed something better. Most claimed that their idea was genius. Jobs response: True genius ships! His point was that real genius exists only in those who bring things to verifiable completion, regardless of flaws.
The goal of The Canadian Numismatic Journal is to provide members of The Royal Canadian Numismatic Association with scholarly, topical and general interest articles, Association news and announcements, book reviews and commentary – warts and all. Perfect? No. Engaging? Yes. True Genius? You got it.
How do we arrive at the point where we are prepared to send the next issue to the printer? Articles are transmitted to us, reviewed, edited, laid out and proofread. I must confess that I am frequently amazed how one proof-reader will notice something but miss something else that another proof-reader has found. Please note; if you are ever asked to proofread something remember to offer words of praise before you point out the BIG MISTAKE. Writers and editors have fragile egos, just like everyone else. We will never issue a perfect edition, despite our goal to do so.
If you have been working on an idea for some time but are concerned it may not be ready for prime time, think again. Maybe, the numismatic community wants to know what you know. Maybe, you will not know what you do not know until you publish what you do know. Maybe, others would like to become involved in your area of interest and need to become aware of your true genius on what is the current state of knowledge. The perfect book, article, monograph, paper or presentation will not happen without collaboration with your peers, regardless of your brilliance.
It is well documented how serious the United States of America treats the right to free speech as guaranteed by the 1st amendment to their Constitution. There are many horror stories of how people in other nations have been mistreated for speaking their mind. What is your club’s practice? Does everyone agree on everything? How are disputes and disagreements handled? Do you expect all to agree with your President or members of your Executive?
In the 1960 movie, The Magnificent Seven, the village elders send three farmers to the United States to search for gunmen to defend the villagers from over 100 bandits who terrorize them every year. Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson James Coburn and three others, each for different personal reasons, come to their rescue. Against such odds, it took real guts to take on the bad guys.
After Charles Moore made the motion to change our name to the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association during our Annual General Meeting and it was seconded by Serge Pelletier, Michael Walsh asked if there was any discussion. He then called for the question and a sea of hands shot up. It was immediately clear that an overwhelming majority were in favour of the motion. For those opposed, at that point, it might have been easier to keep their nay vote to themselves. Those who voted against the motion are to be commended for conveying their preference.
Section VII part 1, of our Constitution and By-Laws, states that “the Constitution may be altered or amended by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present and exercising their vote at any General Meeting.” Section VI part 6, states that “at any General Meeting of the Association, each member shall be entitled to one vote (subject to Article I, paragraphs 8, 9, 10 and 11).” The RCNA does not have any mechanism for soliciting input on major issues from ALL of our members. In other words, only those in attendance at a General Meeting are allowed to vote on motions. Proxy votes are not permitted.
Section VI part 2 provides that “in the period between General Meetings, the Executive Committee shall have full power to act for the Association in accordance with the terms of the Constitution.”
Are elected officials accountable to you? Absolutely! Is everything fine just the way it is? Or, is it time for change? What do you think? Let us know!
Q. David Bowers edited a wonderful book, An Inside View of the Coin Hobby in the 1930s: The Walter P. Nichols File, that is essentially the correspondence of someone instrumental in the distribution of the 1936 York County Tercentenary Commemorative Half Dollar. Aside from a wonderful insight into the Commemorative Half Dollar craze of the 1930s, the book deeply instils the notion that serious numismatists do save their correspondence.
Fast forward 70 years to 2008 where email is the most common form of correspondence and you may find that serious numismatists still archive and preserve their communications with other collectors. At least I think some manage to save their more important messages despite the risk of viruses, software and operating system changes, data loss and/or corruption. I truly fear the destruction of important communication and information as a result of complacency, bad habits or those threats mentioned above. One day you will suffer data loss. This is not an ‘if’ question but a ‘when’ fact. Caveat Emptor!
Recently I had the opportunity to review some sixty-year old correspondence from a well known dealer. I was appalled at the atrocious penmanship. I found it greatly lowered my opinion of him. This caused me to wonder if the email correspondence that does survive from today’s text messaging generation will sit well with future historians. do u no what i mean LOL The use of shorthand and other key stroke saving acronyms is normal when texting as you are typing with your thumbs. No one types on a computer with their thumbs so why carry this practice over? when will this rush to bad grammar pore spelling and missing caps ever end Messages that are barely legible are not as expressive as a thoughtfully and purposefully written piece. Sloppy and abbreviated writing make the writer appear to be illiterate. If you have something to say take the time to say it right.
In a conversation, what you actually say is only a small portion of the message you convey, as non-verbal communication forms the bulk of your message. In an email you only have your words to speak for you. If something makes your blood boil, do you really want to dash off a comment right away? Any response prepared in the heat of the moment runs the risk of embarrassing you later. On really important matters it’s prudent to take a few hours, or even a day, to re-evaluate, or rewrite, your response and perhaps have someone else check your message for traces of anger or bad attitude.
You just never know who has a really long memory!