By Jesse Robitaille
This October, the biannual National Postage Stamp and Coin Show returned to the Greater Toronto Area for its third showing since 2015, when Trajan Media took the reigns of what was then known as the National Postage Stamp Show.
Nearly 1,000 collectors attended the two-day show on Oct. 28-29, and they were greeted by a familiar 9,000-square-foot bourse located in the Hilton Mississauga’s Graydon Hall, which has been the show’s home base since last spring.
“When you looked out the door Saturday morning, there was a lineup of people as far as you could see,” said dealer Nick Cowan, owner of The Coin Collector, who added this year’s bourse layout was a noticeable improvement upon last year’s shows. “The venue is good; it’s bright, and it doesn’t give that dismal feel.”
Cowan said it was a “great weekend” for business and added he will return “without fail” for the spring show in April 2018.
“When people walked in the front door, they were upbeat. They’re not nervous,” he said. “We started off well on Saturday, and it just kept going. It was definitely well-advertised.”
Another dealer, Gary Miller, agreed the show was busy with many new faces among the big crowd.
“It was a very well-attended show. I met new customers, which is always good,” said Miller, owner of Londinium Coins, who added he will be returning to the bourse.
COIN SIGNING & INSIGHTFUL SEMINARS
Among the highlights of the show’s opening day was an autograph session by Wesley Klassen, of St. Catharines, Ont., whose entry in the Royal Canadian Mint’s Canada 150 coin design contest was selected for the 2017 $1 circulation coin.
Klassen, whose coin is called “Connecting a Nation,” signed 1,000 limited-edition “tent flip” coin holders that included an encapsulated uncirculated Canada 150 loonie. A small number of autographed cards, complete with the $1 “Connecting a Nation” coin, are still available and can be found on trajan’s e-commerce store, www.coinstampsupplies.com.
Another show highlight was an in-depth presentation, entitled “Backdoor Jobs from the Royal Canadian Mint,” by long-time error and variety collector and CCN columnist John Regitko. He explored coin errors known to have been helped along in their production and “escaped” from the Mint undetected prior to the Winnipeg location opening in 1976.
“I used to say I only collect legitimate-struck errors produced at the Royal Canadian Mint. But how do you know?” asked Regitko. “However, if it can happen, I’ll collect it – no matter how billion-to-one the odds are – for the simple reason that if I suspect anything that could be produced, I would have to be suspicious of every double-struck coin, every off-centre, every clip because somebody could have snuck some out the door.”
Regitko said he ranks the Mint among the world’s most secretive organizations.
“As a consequence of that, we will simply have to go by the ‘G.O.K.’ principle,” he said, adding the acronym stands for “God only knows.”
A full review of Regitko’s presentation will be published in a future issue of CCN.
Kirk Parsons, co-owner of the Kitchener-based dealer and auction house Colonial Acres, said the crowds were strong throughout the weekend.
“It was great, and we were pretty busy,” he said, adding he received a few consignments for the next National Postage Stamp and Coin Show in April 2018, when Colonial Acres will present its first sale as official show auctioneer.
The recent show also included a combined coin and stamp auction – for children only – organized by Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) National Youth Co-ordinator Lisa McPherson and her husband Robb, who’s a regional director with the RCNA and a past president of the Ontario Numismatic Association. The husband-and-wife duo also manned the RCNA Coin Kids booth aimed at encouraging young collectors
“Having these ‘Coin Kids’ auctions is finally like having a bit of a dream come true,” said Lisa McPherson.
ENCOURAGING YOUNG COLLECTORS
“The show was great,” said Bhavesh Patel, who’s not a coin collector himself but attended the show with his nine-year-old son Nirav. “Letting kids come in free is great as well.”
Patel said the young collectors booth organized by the McPhersons was “exactly what Nirav was looking for, and it was given at face value, which was amazing for him.”
“The lady and two gentlemen who were there at the table were so nice and helpful as well. I think I will try to come on a Saturday next time so he can get first crack at the album.”
The elder Patel, who said he will “definitely recommend” the show to family and friends, also commented on the encouragement shown by dealers to young collectors like his son.
“That’s appreciated as then someone like Nirav doesn’t feel intimidated asking for some of the smaller items that he’s interested in,” said Patel, who added Ted Bailey, owner of Ted’s Collectables, was one of the more encouraging dealers.
“Nirav takes his list and pulls a few coins out that he needs on his list – just a few within his budget – and Ted gives him a nice deal, once saying, ‘We have to take care of the young collectors.’”
The Spring 2018 National Postage Stamp and Coin Show will be held next April 7-8 at the same location, the Hilton Mississauga. Admission is $3 on Saturday and free on Sunday, and parking is always free on site.
For more information about the biannual show, visit stampandcoinshow.com.