RIP John Powers, ‘Butterfly Man’

Known as the “Butterfly Man” for his diverse interests in numismatics, philately and lepidopterology, long-time collector John Powers died on Nov. 5 at the age of 69.

About a year earlier, at the April 2018 convention of the Ontario Numismatic Association, Powers displayed a 30-cabinet exhibit combining butterflies and banknotes that was 30 years in the making (“Massive exhibit combines three diverse interests,” CCN Vol. 56 #7). A total of 120 countries were represented by a complete collection of 150 uncirculated banknotes issued by the Franklin Mint in stamped philatelic covers (also known as envelopes) postmarked in the capital city of its issuing nation.

A real butterfly from each respective country was also held within the cabinets alongside the word for “butterfly” in the respective country’s official language as well as other relevant information.


“I’ve always had an interest in coins and stamps, but growing up, butterflies were free; coins and stamps cost money,” Powers, a long-time resident of Cambridge, Ont., told CCN last spring.

“We didn’t have an allowance when we were kids, but my dad gave me a butterfly net and said, ‘Butterflies are free.’”

Born on Feb. 28, 1950, Powers was also the founder of the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory.

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