RCNA conventions offer smorgasbord of opportunities

The first annual convention of the Canadian Numismatic Association (now known as the RCNA) was held in 1954, when the association was only four years old. It has been held every year ever since.

The early conventions were only two days long and featured a bourse, auction and competitive displays. In 1957, however, it was decided to host a three-day convention and in later years, grew to be a four, five and now a six-day event.

RCNA conventions have morphed into much more than what they were in the beginning. Current conventions have become meeting places for provincial, regional and national associations such as the Ontario Numismatic Association, The Canadian Tire Coupon Collectors’ Club, the Canadian Paper Money Society, the Canadian Centennial Collectors’ Club and the Canadian Association of Token Collectors. Many of these clubs use the RCNA conventions to hold their annual general meetings, for example.

Meetings are held at the conventions by various committees such as the RCNA exhibit judges. Fellows of the Canadian Numismatic Research Society hold an annual breakfast/get-together, meeting in a more informal setting, as do others.

Educational forums and seminars on such subjects as grading and preserving coins have been held throughout the years as well.

The social aspects of the RCNA convention should not be overlooked. For many, this is the one time each year to meet up with fellow collectors from across Canada, and indeed, the whole of North America, to re-kindle friendships, exchange information about your chosen interest and to trade coins, tokens and medals with other like-minded collectors.

The RCNA conventions have also become famous for offering enjoyable tours and unique outings that allow convention goers to take in the sights of the convention city and to learn more about it. This year, for example, a tour of the Royal Canadian Mint is on the agenda, among other worthwhile adventures.

Numismatic dealers from across the country set up shop and offer a varied and interesting assortment of material, suitable for all pocket books and tastes. While most local shows feature dealers from the general area only, the RCNA’s ability to draw in dealers from all corners of Canada – and occasionally from the United States – offers collectors an opportunity to acquire material that is not readily available to them elsewhere.

The RCNA auction, which has been held at the annual convention since 1954, usually features many scarce items that only appear at this national event. Geoffrey Bell Auctions – the official RCNA auctioneer for this year rendition of the RCNA – will be offering a fine assortment of quality numismatic collectibles in Ottawa.

But there’s more … the annual RCNA convention offers competitive and non-competitive exhibits. A banquet where the hobby’s brightest and hardest working collectors are presented with awards, is another highlight.

Some say that conventions are “old rope” or that they are no longer relevant in this day and age; but I say, “not true”. EBay, email, and the Internet in general are good, but they cannot replace the many benefits – some mentioned here – that a convention offers. The face-to-face contact with other collectors is certainly one of the biggest benefits.

I would hope that all CCN readers will consider making the trek to Ottawa this July to take in the annual RCNA convention. If you have been to a convention before, you’ll understand its allure and if you haven’t attended one, I think you will be surprised by the pleasure and many benefits that you will derive by attending this wonderful event.

For more details on the RCNA 2016 convention, visit rcna.ca/2016.

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