Symposium, workshops captivate Calgary collectors

A daylong symposium featuring six numismatic topics plus a workshop on understanding wear on coins and grading banknotes may become an annual event in Calgary after its successful debut at Nickle Galleries.

“The idea for this symposium was to create awareness for this hobby and on the numerous subjects that fall within numismatics,” said James Williston of the Calgary Numismatic Society (CNS). “We are blessed as we have a very strong stable of numismatists to select from. Canada is great this way.”

Titled the “Power, Identity, and Alexander the Great Numismatics Symposium,” the inaugural event held April 29-30 was a partnership between the Calgary Numismatic Society and Nickle Galleries, located at the University of Calgary.

“The idea behind this was to provide an educational event for collectors of all ages and levels of interest,” said Marina Fischer, curator of numismatics at Nickle Galleries. “We had 50 people register for the symposium on Saturday and 30 registered – the maximum – for the Sunday workshops. The numismatic community is very strong in Calgary and it made complete sense to do events like this here at Nickle Galleries.”

“The Calgary Numismatic Society works so well with Nickel Galleries,” added Williston, who also serves on the CNS executive. “This is such a nice partnership.”

After the symposium’s debut, organizers suggested the event may become annual or biennial.

“Even before the event occurred, I had members asking, ‘Why don’t we do this every year,” said Williston, who is also chairman of the committee organizing the 2023 RCNA (Royal Canadian Numismatic Association) convention this July in Halifax. “So, I think we will be doing it every year.”

While the majority of the symposium’s attendees were from Calgary and the area, Richard Beleson and Lee LaBlanc traveled from San Francisco, Calif. Both are members of the San Francisco Ancient Numismatic Society. Beleson said they first heard about Nickle Galleries when Fischer gave a lecture at a symposium sponsored by the American Numismatic Association (ANA). “We invited Marina as a guest lecturer at our October 2022 meeting, and that’s when we learned about the Calgary symposium. Beleson said he and LeBlanc wanted to attend to visit Nickle Galleries and to take in the talks on ancient coins.

The two men also presented, on behalf of their San Francisco club, a donation of $300 US designated for the gallery’s ancient coin collection.

Saturday’s symposium featured six speakers from across Canada while the capacity-filled workshops on the Sunday were presented by Montreal’s Francois Rufiange.

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