ONA Convention delivers

By Jeff Fournier

The 55th annual Ontario Numismatic Association Convention is history now.

And if you were in attendance, you will know that in order to have taken in all that it had to offer, you would have had to go at a break-neck pace. In fact, it would have been nearly impossible to attend all of the events and meetings that took place in Kitchener-Waterloo from April 21-23. From the educational forum held on Friday afternoon, to the final meeting of CAFNE on Sunday, there was plenty to do for any collector and little time to get bored.


The convention got underway at 1 p.m. Friday with the educational symposium. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the symposium this year, and according to organizer Scott Douglas, I missed something pretty special.

“Mike Hollingshead opened things up with his presentation entitled, ‘The Dual Monetary System of Cuba: Pesos Nacional and Convertible Pesos,” explained Douglas.  “His usual entertaining style kept everyone interested and glued to him.”

“Mike’s presentation was followed at 2 p.m. by Steve Bell who spoke on, ‘How to Grade Paper Money’. It was pretty obvious that paper money is ‘hot’. There was a ton of interest in Steve’s presentation,” added Douglas. The afternoon wrapped up with Ron Cheek who spoke on ‘The 1860 Visit to North America by the Prince of Wales, and its numismatic legacy’.

“Ron is super knowledgeable and brings a wealth of experience with him to every presentation he gives,” says Douglas. “All in all, I’m very pleased with how it all went. I’m looking forward to next year’s symposium.”


One of the benefits of being an ONA registrant is the fact that it affords you an opportunity to browse through the dealers’ stock before the general public arrives.

A bourse floor preview took place between 4 and 6 p.m. on Friday and again from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. on Saturday.  Then the public arrived. It’s common at some collectible shows to charge a huge premium for early bourse previews, but at the ONA convention, such is not the case. It’s all a part of the registration package.

Of course, anyone who did happen to find an early bird treasure hopefully realized that throughout the weekend, the dealers were constantly acquiring new materials and some of these were put out on the tables just after purchase. So the lesson here is to check back often with the dealers.


One of the greatest joys of attending a convention is in meeting other like-minded collectors and the Friday evening reception is just the place to do that. Here, old acquaintances and friendships were rekindled and continued on at the hospitality suite once it opened on Saturday and stayed open through Sunday as well. Although there were plenty of specialty group meetings throughout the weekend, these informal settings were every bit as enjoyable and informative for the attendees.


While at your workplace, you may cringe at the thought of sitting through a meeting, but that certainly was not the case at the ONA specialty group gatherings.

The specialty groups in attendance were the Canadian Centennial Collector’s Club (CCCC); Canadian Tire Coupon Collector’s Club (CTCCC); Canadian Association of Token Collectors (CATC); Canadian Association of Wooden Money Collectors (CAWMC) ; Canadian Association of Numismatic Editors and Writers (CANEW) and Canadian Association For Numismatic Education (CAFNE).

These meetings gave collectors a chance to meet face-to-face, to discuss the state of the hobby as well as to share stories, ideas and to buy, sell and swap numismatic specialty items.

Some of these groups, such as the CCCC and the ONA, used the convention to hold their annual general meetings.

At the ONA AGM, attendees were given a run-down of the club’s finances and club delegates were able to voice any concerns and share information from clubs scattered throughout the province. Meetings for the RCNA executive and the ONA executives were also conducted.


Brian Thomson chaired the meeting of the Canadian Centennial Collector’s club. He also conducted an auction of centennial items which saw a number of scarce 1967 pieces change hands, including a 57 mm Britannia medal which was hammered down at an astronomical price of $420! A Richmond Hill 1967 municipal medal changed hands at $90 and a silver ‘Les Voyageur’ medal went for $45.

The CCCC was formed in 2013, when a small group of numismatists began to discuss the possibility of forming a formal organization that would focus primarily on the collecting and study of medals, tokens, wooden ‘nickels’, scrip and other numismatic items issued in or for Canada’s centennial year in 1967. It was also hoped that such a club would aid in promoting the hobby of centennial collecting to the numismatic community and the general public.

Jeff Fournier, Paul Johnson, Len Kuenzig and Brian Thomson were responsible for organizing an initial meeting to work toward this goal.  On Aug. 16, 2014, at the Annual Royal Canadian Numismatic Association Convention in Toronto, approximately two dozen people attended the inaugural meeting of the Canadian Centennial Collector’s Club (CCCC).


The Canadian Association of Numismatic Editors and Writers met at the ONA convention. It was only their second meeting since forming at the RCNA convention last July. The group, led by Serge Pelletier, aims to help writers and editors to improve their craft and to mentor others. The group will be meeting at the 2017 RCNA convention and will be holding a workshop for aspiring writers/editors.

Thanks to generous donations from the Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers (CAND), individual dealers and from private collectors, a Coin Kids’ table was, once again, opened for business. And a lively kids auction was held as well. Each kid was given $1,500 worth of auction money to bid on items. Thanks certainly goes out to Lisa McPherson who chairs the Coin Kids program and to Chris Boyer for his role as the auctioneer.


Several keen collectors entered competitive displays at the 2017 ONA convention and their efforts were rewarded.

In Category A (Canadian Coins and Tokens), Judy Blackman took home first place for her exhibit entitled, “Dinosaurs Lived in Canada”.

In Category B, “Celebrating Canada’s 150th 1867 – 2017”, Colin Cutler earned first place as did his exhibit in Category E, “Kang Youwei (1858-1927) – A Radical Chinese Reformer in Victoria.”

Brett Irick took Category C as well as best of show for his display, Canadian Medals, Decorations and other numismatic items not media of exchange.

Finally, in Category D (Non-Canadian Coins and Tokens), Colin Cutler took top honours for his exhibit, “Egypt, King Tut and Cleopatra – Cancelled and Error Coins”.

Exhibition award winners were presented with engraved ONA medals.


Master of Ceremonies Rick Dupuis led an evening filled with great food, a fantastic keynote speaker and a host of annual awards.

Congratulations goes out to all of the award winners including the Award of Merit recipient,  Judy Blackman; Fellows of the ONA: Monina McCullough-Regitko; Frank Baka and Bill English; and the Bruce H. Raszmann Award winner, Henry Nienhuis.

Scott Hopkins enthralled all attendees with his optimistic view of how technology can be used to enhance the numismatic hobby.

The banquet was also a time to pass along the baton, so to speak, as outgoing president, Robb McPherson handed the gavel over to incoming president, Scott Douglas.

“In this President’s Message, my pledge to all of you, both as individual members and member clubs, is that I am here to listen to your thoughts and ideas and yes, even your criticisms,” explained Douglas, “in order to offer the services of the ONA to everyone in the best way possible so that we may continue to experience this hobby together as the greatest passion of your life! I will not say that my door is  always open to you because there is no door! I want and need to hear from you.

The 2018 ONA convention is now less than a year away. The 56th annual event will again be held at the Holiday Inn Kitchener Waterloo Conference Centre from April 20 to 22nd. Why not plan to attend?

For more information, visit the-ona.ca.

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