CCN columnist marks 50 years

By Jesse Robitaille

Long-time researcher and writer Stanley Clute marked 50 years with CCN this October in an unprecedented feat of longevity for Canada’s national numismatic magazine.

A Fellow of both the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) and the Canadian Numismatic Research Society (CNRS), Clute has regularly contributed to CCN since 1973, when he took over the “Questions & Answers” column. He later added a popular column focused on ancient numismatics, “Ancient Money,” and then one highlighting paper money, “Notes & Bills.” He has also authored many articles for the RCNA’s Canadian Numismatic Journal and other publications, including the Ontario Numismatic Association’s Ontario Numismatist, which he previously served as editor. Over the years, he has covered a wide range of topics from five-cent tombac coins to jetons, medals, wooden money, and other areas of interest.

“I feel very grateful that I have been allowed to live long enough to reach the 50-year mark,” said Clute, a resident of Calgary since 1995. “However, if I think about it too much, I may start to feel old. When the late Donald B. Thomas offered me the post of ‘Questions & Answers’ columnist for Coin, Stamp, Antique News, as it was then called, and I submitted my first columns, my biggest concern was whether I could write well enough to be kept on. Then I settled down to just doing the best job I could.”

Half a decade after signing on with CCN and at the urging of some of his hobby friends, Clute approached then CCN publisher Scott McLaren about adding a column about ancient coins.

“He proved receptive, and I settled down to also educating readers about that subject. I really didn’t start thinking that I might reach the half-century mark until about five years ago.”

For his writing with the RCNA, Clute received the 1981 Guy Potter Literary Award, given each year to the best original contribution to the Canadian Numismatic Journal, for his landmark article, “The Franco-American Jetons Re-examined.”

Part 13 of the iconic John J. Ford Jr. Collection sale, offered on Jan. 16, 2006, references Clute’s piece on Franco-American jetons as “the best treatment of the jetons as collectibles.”

A couple of years earlier, in 1971, he authored An Introduction to Ancient Coins, and later that decade, he also began editing the Ontario Numismatist.

In 2000, serving as the RCNA archivist, Clute authored the Canadian Numismatic Association – A Half Century of Advancement in Numismatics, which traced the group’s history from the events leading up to its 1950 inception through the 20th century. Highlighting some widely known facts, the 148-page hardcover book also uncovers little-known and unpublished material, all with photographs, some of them previously unseen.

More recently, in 2019, Clute received the RCNA’s J. Douglas Ferguson Award for distinguished service to Canadian numismatics. The highest honour in Canadian numismatics, the Ferguson Award joined Clute’s trophy case for his long-time laudable service to the hobby in Canada. His citation references his “surprising breadth” of writing in both the Canadian Numismatic Journal and CCN over what was then 46 years.

“This is an amazing longevity,” RCNA Board of Award Chair Ron Greene said in 2019.

Clute has witnessed several significant changes to CCN over the years, not the least of which was the name change from Coin, Stamp, Antique News to Canadian Coin News, which “returned the paper to its original focus of focusing solely on numismatic and related items.”

“There was also a change in the paper’s size dimensions, the move to colour printing, and of course, I cannot leave out the addition of an online version,” said Clute, a past president of both the RCNA, from 1985-87, and the CNRS, from 2016-20.

Clute believes he has formed a “good relationship” with his many CCN readers over the past half century.

“It’s a kind of partnership really. From time to time at coin shows and conventions, readers will come up to me and say that they enjoy my columns and ask me to keep writing. Sometimes, they have a favourite individual column they mention. Also, a reader will occasionally contact me via CCN with a request for information about an item that they have acquired. I always try to respond with useful information. In recent years, a number of readers have suggested that I anthologize my past columns.”

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