Canadian numismatists owe a debt to Chet Krause

By Jeff Fournier

Volume 1 No. 1 of Canada Coin News, as it was then known, was officially launched on June 3, 1963 by publisher, Chester L. Krause of Iola, Wisconsin. He was likely better known as the founder of Numismatic News and for his hobby publishing empire, Krause Publications; but without Krause’s efforts in creating CCN, who knows what state Canadian numismatics might be in today. For this reason, Canadian numismatists owe him a debt of gratitude.

Early on, several problems had arisen for Coin News, mostly due to its unusual publishing arrangement. While the content of the paper and its writers resided in Canada, the publishing took place in Iola, Wisconsin. Krause realized that this could not go on for too long and, by August of 1963, operations were moved to Canada. Now, with the exception of the owner, Coin News was an entirely Canadian operation.

Gracing the front of the premier issue was a set of 1963 Canadian coins and of course, a large prominent title “CANADA COIN NEWS.”

The opening editorial posed the question “Where do we go from here?” and proceeded to explain that in the future, CCN hoped “to be all things to Canadian Numismatics.” To this end, it went on to promise “on-the-spot reports of major conventions, in depth studies of current trends, mint reports, feature stories, club news and introductions to noteworthy personalities of the hobby.”

A standard price guide was inaugurated, giving collectors of Canadian coinage “up-to-the-minute” trends. Ray Hobin of Stittsville, Ont., was responsible for compiling the data for what would become an immensely popular feature that continues to this day. Winfred Mather of Toronto – well known in numismatic circles for her coin articles in the Toronto Telegram – was also added to the list of regular columnists.

Advertisers flocked to market their wares including the likes of Edward Knight, Ottawa Coins and Maple Leaf Collector’s Exchange Ltd. They signed on with a promise from CCN of “a regularly scheduled newspaper devoted exclusively to Canadians and those interested in Canadian Numismatics.”

In little time, Canada Coin News had delivered on all of these promises and more!

During Krause’s reign as publisher of Canada Coin News, he made good on his promise to cover major happenings in Canadian numismatics. This was proven time and time again during the first year of operations, with his Toronto editor, Cale B. Jarvis, at the helm.

CCN was there

In the Nov. 16th issue, CCN covered the sale of the famous 1911 silver dollar to a prominent California collector for the princely sum of $50,000. In March, 1964, urgings by the numismatic community for the government to produce a gold coin in 1967 were voiced within the pages of CCN. And when John McKay Clemens purchased a 1921 brilliant uncirculated Canadian half dollar, CCN provided the reporting.

Among some of the many features in the first edition was an article on the Bank of Montreal’s Money Museum; a report on the Ontario Numismatic Convention; a French article about the early coinage and currency of Canada and, of course, the price guide – Trends.

A quick glance through the guide revealed a plethora of information including current prices for the Canadian series from the large cent to the silver dollar and Maritime coinages. A 1858 one-cent piece in brilliant uncirculated condition trended for $100. The 1921 50-cent piece in uncirculated condition was valued at $8,000, while the 1948 silver dollar in uncirculated was $150.

Krause didn’t own CCN for long because he realized that if it was going to be a success, it had to be owned and operated in Canada. He sold it to Jarvis. Since that time, the publication has changed hands several times before landing with its present owner, Trajan Media, in 1989.

With Krause’s death on June 21, the numismatic hobby has lost a legend. And Canadian Coin News, its founding father.

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