CAFNE a big resource for numismatic education

The non-profit charity needs the community’s help with funding

By Jeff Fournier

The Canadian Association for Numismatic Education (CAFNE) may be one of the best kept secrets and most underutilized resources in Canadian numismatics.

This not-for-profit organization has a core mandate that is, quite simply, “to educate the public about numismatics”. This is something that is greatly needed to strengthen the hobby and to ensure its longevity.

CAFNE does this by funding programs and activities that help promote numismatics and by providing scholarships and bursaries to aid in the study and research of numismatics. Although the emphasis is on Canadian numismatics, it doesn’t exclude the study of coins, currency, medals, tokens, paper money and related objects issued by other countries.

CAFNE was first conceived of and discussed in the 1980s, but didn’t take its present form until 2010. A group of prominent numismatists, including the late Chuck Moore, Dan Gosling, Bill Waychison, Bob Forbes, Henry Nienhuis, Paul Johnson and Bret Evans were instrumental in getting the educational organization off the ground. These gentlemen certainly understood the importance of numismatic education in ensuring the growth and sustainability of Canadian numismatics.

“CAFNE was set up as an arms-length, independent organization of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA)”, adds Paul Johnson, secretary of CAFNE, “to allow for the issuance of tax receipts for money that was donated to the foundation; something that, due to its structure, the RCNA was unable to do.”

Johnson adds, “The board is separate from the RCNA. The directors are all seasoned numismatists with a passion for numismatic education but aren’t necessarily members of the RCNA or part of its executive.” Current elected directors include Robert Forbes, Henry Nienhuis, Bret Evans, Scott Douglas and Mike Walsh. Although Johnson sits as secretary of the organization, he does not have voting rights.

Johnson encourages collectors, organizations and any member of the public interested in furthering the study of numismatics, to donate money to CAFNE.  To do so, cheques should be made payable to CAFNE and mailed to:  CAFNE, 5694 Highway #7 East, Suite 432, Markham, ON. L3P 1B4.  Donations can also be made online at Online is also set up to accept lump sum and/or monthly donations through major credit cards and PayPal.

Rob Forbes is the current chair of CAFNE’s board of directors. He says CAFNE offers a win-win opportunity for all numismatists.

“As a registered charity, CAFNE is able to provide the essential funding to support educational programs and publications in various areas of numismatics, and equally importantly, is able to give Canadian donors CAFNE tax deductible receipts for their contributions. This allows CAFNE to fund the educational endevours of the RCNA and other numismatic organizations.”


James E. Charlton, who passed away in Sept. 2013 was a major benefactor of CAFNE.

Charlton came into prominence on the Canadian numismatic scene after he published A Catalogue of Canadian Coins, Tokens & Fractional Currency, in 1952. After more than 60 years of continuous publication, literally millions of copies of that catalogue have been sold worldwide. Charlton is often credited with contributing to the coin collecting hobby’s popularity in Canada during the 1950s and 1960s and for opening the door to Canadian numismatics for generations of Canadians.

He was truly regarded as a giant in Canadian numismatics and understood better than most, the importance of promoting numismatic education.

Dan Gosling, a past president of the RCNA, made this comment about Charlton in Canadian Coin News, shortly after his death:

“Getting to know Mr. Charlton was the singular greatest joy of my numismatic hobby……Mr. Charlton’s generosity was outstanding. His numismatic contributions have left a lasting mark on our hobby. His first mail auction sale on May 22, 1950 set the stage for many future publications.”

The legacy of Charlton’s love for numismatic education and his generosity in making a sizeable monetary contribution, as it does with other benefactors, lives on in CAFNE.


So how are the funds in CAFNE accessed? Johnson explains:

“Coin clubs, numismatic authors or anyone interesting in setting up an educational symposium, conference or lecture, or in publishing a numismatic themed catalogue – really anything that educates the public about coins, paper money or exonumia – can apply for funding.” The request must be sent by letter at the address above, or by email:

Requests should outline relevant details of the initiative such as the nature of the program/initiative, an agenda, course outline, the date(s) it will be held, who is involved and a detailed budget. Additional details of importance should also be attached.

“The board meets at least three times per year to review all of the applications received and if the initiative satisfies our mandate, full or partial funding may be approved”, says Johnson. “Every request goes through this review process.”

CAFNE’s mandate is education. It is only through education, that Canada’s numismatic community will be able to attract new collectors and it is only through education that will help keep them in the hobby. It is a mentally challenging hobby that can teach youth or adults about perseverance, research, history and organization, to mention only a few of its benefits.

Why not help CAFNE to spread the word? Start today by making a donation to this important organization, or by accessing its funds to organize a numismatically related educational initiative. Those interested in learning more about CAFNE, or in applying for funding for a numismatic, educational initiative, can visit its website at

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