By Jeff Fournier
The 49th edition of the prestigious J. Douglas Ferguson Award for distinguished service to Canadian numismatics was awarded to Paul Petch at the annual Royal Canadian Numismatic Association’s convention banquet held in Boucherville, Que. on July 22.
The award was established in 1969 and sponsored by Douglas Ferguson who, at the time, was Honorary President of the CAN (Canadian Numismatic Association). This annual award is presented to the living numismatist who has greatly contributed to the advancement of numismatics in Canada by research, writing, publishing, or other means – and who has not previously won the award.
Ferguson set up an independent Board of Award with CNA representation for the award administration. He made the selections for the 1969 and 1970 winners and determined that the board would choose the future winners from nominations made by CNA members.
Ferguson had a Montreal artist design the award medal. He proposed that the award be given only to living numismatists and so the names of early greats such as Breton, LeRoux, Courteau and McLachlan are not on the list of previous recipients.
The J. Douglas Ferguson Award is the highest distinction in Canadian numismatics and is the highlight of every convention.
Ron Greene, who presented the award to Petch, noted that his “contribution to Canadian numismatics has often been behind the scenes, but it is a worthy contribution as it touches almost every collector in some way.”
Petch was responsible for setting up the Numismatic Network Canada and continuing as webmaster, and similarly for the J. Douglas Ferguson Historical Research Foundation, of which he currently serves on the board.
“You acted as the layout editor of the Canadian Numismatic Bibliography, probably the most important Canadian numismatic publication to date. As an editor you have produced the journals and/or newsletters of the North York Coin Club, the Canadian Numismatic Association and the Canadian Paper Money Society,” said Green while announcing the award during the banquet.
In recent years, Petch also took over as editor of the Canadian Centennial Collectors Club bulletin.
“In a more visible way, he served the North York Coin Club in every executive position, and became the president of the Toronto Coin Club and the Ontario Numismatic Association,” continued Greene. “You are a past-president of the Medallic Arts Society of Canada and continue as the treasurer and webmaster.”
Petch was both surprised and humbled by the award and thanked the RCNA for the honour bestowed upon him.
“I am pleased to be in the company of such distinguished numismatists who received this award before me,” Petch told the audience during his acceptance.