RCNA Educational Symposium begins today

A two-day education symposium hosted in conjunction with the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) Convention kicked off today in Mississauga.

The symposium opened at 1 p.m., when Canadian Numismatic Research Society (CNRS) Fellow Ron Cheek explored the 200-year-old shipwreck coins from the Admiral Gardner, which sank in the English Channel during the East India Company’s “season of disasters” in 1809.

Cheek has published more than 80 numismatic articles for Canadian and U.S. publications and received numerous awards, including the RCNA’s Guy Potter Literary Award (2013, 2014); the RCNA’s Jerome Remick III Literary Award (2007, 2010, 2013); the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) Award for U.S. Magazines (2013); and the NLG Award for World Coin Magazines (2011).

At 2 p.m., collector and columnist Alan Roy highlighted Canadian numismatic literature. Roy began collecting coins almost 40 years ago, and although he collects a wide range of items, his main focus is Royal Canadian Mint medals. Always seeking to collect something out of the mainstream, Roy became captivated by Canadian numismatic literature about 20 years ago. He now authors a regular column on the subject for the RCNA’s journal, The Canadian Numismatic Journal.

At 3 p.m., retired Presbyterian minister Angus Sutherland detailed Canadian communion tokens. Having long been fascinated with both numismatics and history, Sutherland discovered his vocation and his interests could be combined by collecting communion tokens, which are largely a Presbyterian phenomenon. He began collecting these tokens in earnest in 1990, when he bought 200 Canadian communion tokens from the Norweb collection.

Suterland’s worldwide collection has exceeded 4,000 pieces, and he’s currently working on a book describing his collection and updating or correcting the histories of the various issuing congregations. He’s also the chair of the advisory committee of the Toronto-based National Presbyterian Museum, which boasts an equally large collection of communion tokens.

Rounding out the symposium’s first day was a 4 p.m. presentation by symposium organizer Scott Douglaswho’s also the president of the Ontario Numismatic Association (ONA). He spoke about William Robert McColl, a noteworthy Canadian numismatist in the 19th and 20 centuries.


On Aug. 9 at 1 p.m., long-time collector Geoffrey Bell – a Fellow of both the RCNA and the CNRS – will explore his passion of medals and exonumia with a presentation featuring rarities from his collection. A familiar face in Canadian numismatics, Bell served two terms as president of the RCNA and past president of the CNRS as well as the Canadian Paper Money Society.

At 2 p.m., Canadian large cent patterns and specimens will be highlighted by CNRS Fellow Rob Turner, author of the award-winning book Dies and Diadems. Turner began collecting Canadian decimal coinage as a teenager in Maine during the 1960s. By 1980, he focused his passion on collecting and studying Victorian cents and has assembled multiple sets of these coins, including a Mint State set containing all of the date and obverse variety combinations. Since 2007, Turner has authored four acclaimed books and several articles on Victorian cent die varieties.

At 3 p.m., auctioneer Michael Rogozinski will discuss the history of Canadian specimen and Proof coins. The president of Empire Auctions, which has galleries in Montréal and Toronto, Rogozinski specializes in rare coins as well as fine jewellery, diamonds and watches. A former contributor to the Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins, he has been cataloguing rare coins for auction since the 1970s. Over the years, he has auctioned examples of nearly all of Canada’s 19th- and 20th-century specimens and Proof coins, including the famed 1911 silver dollar; 1921 specimen 50 cents; and an original matched 1875H specimen set.

Closing out the two-day symposium will be a 4 p.m. presentation by CNRS Fellow Ian Speers, who will explore numismatic estate and succession planning. The owner of a Toronto legal practice that specializes in real estate conveyancing and estate planning, Speers is the current chair of the Ontario Bar Associations Real Property Executive. His numismatic interests include Canadian pre-Confederation tokens with an ongoing study of the bouquet sous tokens and 1832 Nova Scotia thistle counterfeit series.

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