By Jesse Robitaille
For more than six and a half decades, the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA), and its forerunner the “Canadian Numismatic Association” (CNA), have issued at least one medal to commemorate its annual convention.
This year’s six-day show marks the sixth national convention to be held in Calgary in the association’s 66-year history, but it’s the first show back in Cowtown since CNA members ratified the name change to RCNA at the 2008 convention in Ottawa.
It wasn’t until the following year the first convention medal using the name “RCNA” was issued.
That year’s show was hosted by the Edmonton Numismatic Society in the Alberta capital, and the convention medal featured the City of Edmonton steamboat on the reverse with “2009 RCNA CONVENTION AUGUST 12-16” along the bottom edge.
Four years earlier, in 2005, the convention was held in Calgary and marked the 100th anniversary of Alberta joining Canada along with Saskatchewan as the country’s eighth and ninth provinces.
The convention was also held in Calgary in 1995, with a Calgary Stampede-themed medal; 1987, with a medal featuring the city’s skyline; 1975, with a medal marking the city’s centennial; and 1968, with a medal featuring the same central design as the 1975 medal but different inscriptions along the edge.
The 1975 medal was also only the third issue – after Vancouver in 1963 and ’71 and Ottawa in 1967 – to use the popular obverse “Voyageur” design seen on most of the convention medals issued since the late ’70s.
HIGHER DEMAND FOR OLDER MEDALS
There is a demand for these medals among both RCNA members and non-members, according to RCNA Executive Secretary Paul Johnson, who added some older medals are more highly valued.
“Many of the early CNA medals issued in the 1950s and 1960s command a high premium depending on the date and mintage,” said Johnson. “One of my favourite CNA medals was that of 2015, when the convention was held in Halifax, featuring a design of the Bluenose schooner. This was a similar design used for the Canadian 10-cent coin starting in 1937.”
Since attending his first CNA Convention in Toronto in 1972, Johnson has amassed an extensive collection of show medals, many of which were awarded over the years for his service to the RCNA and numismatics in general.
“I have 250 RCNA medals in my collection, although more than 100 are engraved presentation pieces for my work on various RCNA conventions,” he said. “This includes a number of award medals and serving on various committees.”
2019 MEDAL FEATURES ALBERTOSAURUS
This year’s RCNA Convention medal was designed by James Williston, of the Calgary Numismatic Society, which is hosting this year’s gathering. Williston is also the RCNA’s Alberta director and the immediate past president of the Canadian Paper Money Society.
The medal’s reverse depicts an Albertosaurus – “Alberta lizard” – which roamed present-day Alberta about 70 million years ago. Although named by U.S. paleontologist and geologist Henry Osborn in 1905, Albertosaurus was first found in fossil form on June 9, 1884, in an outcrop of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation near the Red Deer River. Leading the charge was Canadian geologist and cartographer Joseph Burr Tyrrell, of the Geological Survey of Canada.
This year’s medal will be struck in copper, silver and nickel with mintages of 210, 60 and 30, respectively.
All main registrants and dealers at this year’s convention will receive a copper medal. Additional copper and silver medals are available for $20 and $55, respectively.