Convention planning, Big Nickel anniversary marked summer of ’14

(Second of two parts)

The summer saw collectors on both sides of the border preparing for their annual conventions.

The Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) and the American Numismatic Association (ANA) announced that they had joined forces to promote their two events, with a hands across the border theme.

With the two conventions being held just a week apart, and relatively close together, the collaboration saw the organizations share the duties of honorary co-chair, and participate in each other’s events.

Charles Moore announced that the Canadian Legacy Sale would also include the sale of the first part of the Canadian banknote collection of Ronald Greene. Other highlights would include the Kril error collection. The sale saw new records, with more than a dozen notes from chartered banks setting new record prices.

Canada’s most famous numismatic landmark, Sudbury’s Big Nickel, celebrated its 50th birthday.

Erected by entrepreneur Ted Szilva as part of a plan to create a numismatic theme park to mark the 100th anniversary of Confederation, the Nickel eventually became part of the Dynamic Earth science museum. It was also the sole remaining coin from an exhibit that once included several other coins.

Geoffrey Bell Auctions announced that the firm’s summer sale at the Toronto Coin Expo was a success, with several lots exceeding their pre-sale estimates by substantial amounts. Among the transactions was a P.E.I. holey dollar, which sold for $5,100.

Ian Bennett stepped down as head of the Royal Canadian Mint, after spending eight years leading the crown corporation to unmatched successes. During his time at the helm, the RCM celebrated its 100th year, launched its largest-ever commemorative program for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, and saw the number of employees double to about 1,300.

The Government of Canada marked the 75th anniversary of the start of the Second World War with a circulating commemorative coin. Based on the famous wartime photograph of a small boy catching up to his father, who was marching with his regiment, the coin used a portion of the photograph with the words “remember” in English and in French.

The photo was also the subject of two collector coins, one a colourized silver issue.

That anniversary, as well as the 100th anniversary of the First World War, was the subject of a number of non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins issued throughout the year.

Among the many numismatic tributes to the FIFA World Cup was a German issue which came out just days after that nation’s victory against Argentina. Just to make sure everyone got the message, the medal showed victorious soccer player, the names and flags of both nations, and the final score. It was a small embarrassment for Argentina, which had issued their World Cup coin, showing their team celebrating their victory, in 2013.

Canada’s two World Cup coins both showed images of children playing.

The RCM brought out a pair of coins to mark the first birthday of Prince George of Cambridge. The silver $20 and gold $200 coins featured the same design: a family grouping of Queen Elizabeth II and three generations of heirs to the throne: Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince George.

Mountainous Error

The Bank of Canada was left a little red-faced after a Toronto university professor pointed out that the official description of the mountain on the back of the $5 note was somewhat in error.

Not only was Mount Edith Cavell not present, but one of the peaks pictured, Mount Zengel, was not listed. After the story went public, the Bank of Canada said there was a misunderstanding about information provided to the Bank by the designers at Canadian Bank Note Co. Ltd., and the Bank updated its website.

As summer neared its end, the ANA and the RCNA both honoured distinguished numismatists.

RCNA past president William Waychison received an ANA Presidential Award in Chicago. In Canada James Astwood received the J. Douglas Ferguson Award, while the Paul Fiocca Award went to Graham Esler and fellowships were awarded to George Manz and Tim Henderson.

Concerned about the difficult in recovering face value from NCLT coins, collectors and dealers reported difficulties and uncertainty in spending such issues as the face value silver coin series.

The RCM replied that it had a redemption procedure in place and affirmed that it would be making efforts to remind financial institutions of that process. Late in the year, details became obvious when a memorandum from the RCM to financial institutions was leaked to Canadian Coin News.

Super Seller

The RCM’s second round of Superman coins were a financial hit, with the four coins selling out in just days. Within a week online retailers were offering the coins at 30 to 50 per cent above issue price.

In a bid to bring in new gold investors with reduce costs, the RCM brought out maple grams, tiny gold coins weighing just a gram and around the same diameter as a 25-cent coin.

Author J.C. Levesque wrote Second and Maine, the second book featuring the world’s only coin dealer turned detective, Rick Hunter.

A rare Treaty 4 medal was returned to its Saskatchewan home, after being offered for sale in Ontario.

Canadian coins earned six nominations in the prestigious Coin of the Year Awards program. While one coin, grandfather and grandson fishing, did win the most inspirational category, the top prize went to Austria’s 25-euro silver and niobium coin, Klimt and his women.

Canada’s favourite game was marked on a silver coin issued for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, precursor of today’s Hockey Canada. The $20 coin was unusual in that two enamels, black and red, were used on the final design.

As the year drew to an end, Canadian Coin News reported that a Chinese firm was selling gold-plated tungsten versions of Canadian bullion coins and bars, as well as United States Mint gold eagles, and South African krugerrands.

The copies of Canadian coins were older-style gold maples, without the micro-engraving and radial lines added to the coin as an anti-counterfeiting measure.

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