Invest in knowledge

Kudos to the Ontario Numismatic Association (ONA) for launching an education symposium at this year’s convention.

“It’s a first in our history,” ONA president Robb McPherson told Canadian Coin News. “It’ll cover the numismatics of Niagara between three speakers: Vanessa Collins on security features in Canadian banknotes at 1 p.m.; Bernhard Wilde on the Niagara River Banks at 2 p.m.; and, Scott E. Douglas on the numismatics of Niagara Falls at 3 p.m.”

The three sessions will be held on Friday, day one of the weekend convention slated for April 17-19 at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Niagara Falls, Ont.

I was speaking with McPherson at the recent Cambridge Coin Show about the upcoming convention. His team of organizers are pumped about the symposium, with good reason.

Education symposiums are an excellent opportunity to help collectors get more out of the hobby. It’s also a great way to engage beginner and experienced collectors, which strengthens the hobby community overall.

For this year’s convention site, the symposium also serves to shine the light on numismatics of Niagara. This focus alone should garner strong attendance as this part of southern Ontario has a rich history that includes numismatics.

Education symposiums have long been part of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association’s (RCNA) annual conventions.  RCNA President Bret Evans tells me symposiums and other educational events are an important mandate of the organization.

“Knowledge is a very important part of numismatics,” Evans says. “Not only is the historical and cultural background a significant part of a coin, note, or medal’s story, but it also helps collectors make informed decisions about buying and selling.

“The RCNA has long supported education for both young and old collectors through correspondence courses and symposiums and took the lead in creating CAFNE (Canadian Association for Numismatic Education), an organization dedicated to nothing but numismatic education.”

It’s encouraging to see some coin shows are expanding to include seminars, and CAFNE is throwing its financial support behind these shows, such as the Toronto Coin Expo. Show owner Jared Stapleton says education is an important component of the two-day bourse, held bi-annually at the Toronto Reference Library.

“We started with our educational symposiums at the Toronto Coin Expo in the spring of 2013 and have successfully had them every show to date,” he writes in an email.  “As a collector at heart, it is important that the hobby keeps moving forward. We are a group of great knowledge and it is fun to learn about other aspects of the hobby.”

I totally agree. So as you plan your agenda for the upcoming ONA convention, be sure to include the three symposiums.  Your attendance sends a message of gratitude to the organizers and, just as important, it’s a great investment in your knowledge bank and the hobby.

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