ONA hands out top awards

By Jesse Robitaille

After forgoing its two top awards last year due to the pandemic, the Ontario Numismatic Association (ONA) returned to form with its annual convention this spring.

At the ONA’s April 1 awards banquet, held on the convention’s second of three days, President Sean Sinclair and other officials recognized some of the association’s roughly 260 members and 50 chapter clubs. Among the 2023 awards was the ONA’s highest honour, the Award of Merit, which went to long-time official Lisa McPherson, the association’s current second vice-president and former secretary.

“Although her interest in numismatics has grown within the last number of years, she has been very active, and her presence and commitment have always been strong and positive,” said Sinclair, who called her “one of the few on an important list of people who, almost immediately after joining a club, jumped in and helps whenever with whatever may be required.”

McPherson, who along with her husband Robb has long served as the ONA Convention’s co-chair, has also worked with local and national organizations, including the Waterloo Coin Society (WCS) and Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA), respectively. She had a leading role in the national Coin Kids program before handing the reins to Cassidy Stroud, the RCNA’s national youth co-ordinator and the ONA’s first vice-president.


Robb McPherson received the Bruce Raszmann Award, named after the ONA’s first treasurer, who served in that role for nearly half a century.

A Fellow of the ONA and a former Award of Merit winner, McPherson began collecting coins as a child before joining the WCS in 1989.

“He soon became a director of the club, becoming the president in 2000 and holding the position for 10 years,” said Sinclair, who added McPherson became a WCS life member in 2014.

He served a four-year term as the ONA president beginning in 2013 and has served as the annual convention co-chair since a year earlier.

“When I joined Waterloo in 1989, Bruce was the treasurer of the ONA and of the Waterloo Coin Society, so I worked with and beside Bruce all the way from 1989 until his passing in 2011,” said McPherson. “Many of you that knew Bruce knew he was a character; he was very different – very strict with the way he did stuff, old school – and fought tooth and nail against using computers as the computer age came up. He did all the books by hand in printed ledgers.”

Both Raszmann and Bill English, another WCS founder also involved in forming the ONA, were featured on souvenir treasury notes issued by the Waterloo club earlier this year  (“Waterloo club unveils souvenir banknote set,” CCN Vol. 60 #23, Feb. 14, 2023).

English marked his 100th birthday at the Paris Coin Show this February in Paris, Ont.


This April, Sinclair also named the ONA’s two newest Fellows, Jeff Wilson and Bob Fritsch.

A coin collector for most of his life, Wilson began with an interest in coins and paper money before “friends made along the way helped direct this person into more specialized areas of collecting,” Sinclair said. He has also served many roles with clubs in organized numismatics at the local, provincial and national levels.

“For all of these reasons, Jeff Wilson’s a well-deserving Fellow.”

Sinclair called Fritsch “a numismatist’s numismatist.”

“Everything is read about, collected and displayed; knowledge is freely shared; and more knowledge is learned. There are never enough hours in the day for this person. If there are spare hours, there are always coin rolls to look through and books to be devoured, both numismatic and otherwise,” said Sinclair, who added Fritsch, a member of more than 50 numismatic groups, “has travelled the world and collected the world, both modern and ancient.”

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