RCNA Coin Grading & Preservation Workshop

Please note there is no Workshop this year (2018).



The annual Coin Grading and Preservation course, sponsored by the RCNA, will featuring instruction by numismatic experts Brian Cornwell and Susan Maltby.

Following the introductory course, this course delves much deeper into the technical aspects of coin grading, counterfeit detection, fakes and alterations, authentication, as well as coin & paper money preservation. Although not a pre-requisite, participants would benefit from having taken the previous course. This course has the goal of educating collectors about the technical side of coins, tokens, medals and paper money collecting.

The two highly qualified instructors will supplement their discussion with slides, demonstrations, hand-outs and displays of relevant numismatic material.

The class size is deliberately kept small, facilitating the students to have an opportunity to interface, one-on-one, with instructors to either understand the material presented more clearly or to deal with other issues of interest to the student in the instructors' areas of expertise.

Each participant will receive a special RCNA "Certificate of Participation" at the conclusion of the course.

The day long course will include 45 minutes for lunch where participants can dine in the Delta Meadowvale restaurant (the cost for lunch is the responsibility of each individual). Morning and afternoon coffee breaks are also scheduled with complimentary coffee and tea being available.

8:30 - 9:00 Registration - Complimentary coffee
9:00 - 9:10 Introduction
9:10 - 1:15 Coin Grading & Counterfeit Detection
Instructor: Brian Cornwell

11:45 - 12:30 Lunch Break

1:30 - 4:30 Coin & Paper Money Preservation
Instructor: Susan Maltby
4:30 - 4:45 Certificate Presentation and Closing Comment

Coin Grading & Counterfeit Detection (9:10 - 1:15 p.m.)

Instructor: Brian Cornwell, Toronto, assisted by Scott Cornwell

This course will focus on the practical aspects of grading Canadian decimal coinage as well as detecting coins that have been altered or counterfeited.

Students will spend approximately 75% of the allocated class time in a “hands on” or problem solving mode both on an individual and team basis. The remaining 25% will consist of key presentations that emphasize selected grading tips and methods used by experienced graders.

Students should have some basic grading experience and an appreciation for those grading areas that are confusing to themselves. This is not a course for first-time graders. Each student will be expected to have covered the grading of coins during their collecting and buying/selling of material.

Selected reading material will be distributed for review at the student’s leisure. All students are encouraged to bring a few of their own coins to the course for discussion, particularly those that present grading difficulties.

Grading coins and tokens is an art, not a science. Different graders can and do leave different opinions of a coin’s grade. It is human nature for a coin seller to have a tendency to overgrade a coin whereas a buyer of that coin has a built-in bias to undergrade. This course will help students with some of the confusing real-life issues.

The presentation will focus on the three fundamentals of accurate and consistent grading: knowledge, technique and objectivity. A detailed discussion of the fine points that distinguish one grade from another is also included, as well as a hands-on look at ‘coin problems,’ specifically those that are cleaned, altered or counterfeited.

Many physical examples will be available for students to examine directly along with pointers on how best to identify and avoid them at a future date.

Brian Cornwell is President of International Coin Certification Service, a third-party coin grading company based in Toronto. He is a regular columnist for Canadian Coin News. Brian was a member of the core committee in the development of the RCNA Numismatic Correspondence Course.

Scott Cornwell has been a senior grader with I.C.C.S. for 12 years. He specializes in micro and macro coin photography.

Coin & Paper Money Preservation (1:30 - 4:30 p.m.)

Instructor: Susan Maltby, Toronto, Ontario

One of the most important aspects for the preservation of coins, tokens and paper money is providing proper handling and providing proper storage. Collections can deteriorate with time if not stored correctly. Find out what you can do to ensure minimal reduction in value of valuable numismatic material.

This advanced course offers the collector an opportunity to learn, in a practical “hands on” manner, more about the proper care and conservation of numismatic collections (i.e. coins, tokens, medals and paper notes).

Topics discussed will include:
- agents of deterioration
- environmental requirements for numismatic collections
- environmental monitoring techniques
- establishing a controlled environment
- storage
- holders
- cleaning, care and handling of numismatic material

Components of a great coin/bill holder, how to choose a good holder, materials and holders to avoid, environmental requirements for different kinds of material (i.e. different metals, paper, “exotic materials) will be addressed, as well as offering tips on good care and handling.

One of the demonstrations that will be included, because of its importance to determining the content of storage materials, is the Beilstein Test, used to determine whether a plastic contains PVC or polyvinyl-dene chloride...and will explain which is safe, which is not and why.

Participants are urged to bring along problem pieces for examination and discussion.

Susan Maltby is a regular columnist for “Coin World.” She has given seminars and presentations on numismatic conservation to a variety of numismatic groups during the past few years. Susan was a member of the staff of the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa prior to starting her own conservation consulting firm.

Certificate Presentation and Closing Comments (4:30 - 4:45 p.m.)


The Moderator for the seminar will be Henry Nienhuis, President of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association.


Send a cheque, along with your contact information, to:
Royal Canadian Numismatic Association
5694 Highway #7 East, Suite 432
Markham ON Canada L3P 1B4

You will be receive confirmation of your acceptance in the course, along with detailed directions and a map of the Humber College location, via e-mail.

For more information contact the Executive Secretary of The Royal Canadian Numismatic Association:

Paul Johnson
Telephone: 647-401-4014
E-mail: info@rcna.ca

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