Medals ‘under-appreciated’ in Canadian numismatics

Despite their inclusion in some of the most significant Canadian numismatic collections of all-time, medals remain an “under-appreciated” area of the hobby in this country.

Going as far back as April 1895, when the Gerald Hart Collection was sold in New York by auctioneer Henry Merry, medals played a prominent part in collectors’ interests. The 619-lot Hart Collection catalogue, for example, includes a two-page preface highlighting its medals and their history.

Nearly three decades later, in September 1922, the roughly 20,000-piece R.W. McLachlan Collection was acquired by the Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Society. Also prominently featuring medals, the collection was then held and displayed by the Château Ramezay, a museum and historic site in Montréal.

Three years later, in November 1925, the sale of another landmark collection, this amassed by W.W.C. Wilson, was concluded by Wayte Raymond. It, too, featured a “superb lot of Canadian historical and other medals,” according to the catalogue.

“I think it’s definitely an under-appreciated area of Canadian numismatics,” said Geoffrey Bell, a past president of the  Royal Canadian Numismatic Association and Canadian Paper Money Society.

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