By Bret Evans
While numismatics is often considered a male-dominated hobby, one southern Ontario club is bucking the trend with three women holding key positions on the club’s executive.
Earlier this year, Cassidy Stroud became president and Lisa McPherson became vice-president of the Brantford Numismatic Society, a first for Canada. They are joined on the executive by club secretary Lindy Smith.
While Louise Graham was president of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) from 1973-75, it is the first time a Canadian club has had women in the top leadership spots at the same time.
For Stroud, however, the women power team is not about women taking over, but more about picking the right talent.
“I need people that are going to get involved and get things done,” she said. “Lisa was one of them.”
Stroud, whose collecting passion is focused on Canadian paper money before 1954 and old world notes, the move to leadership of the club was quick.
Stroud collected as a youngster, but admits it was more of an accumulation than a collection. Four years ago she got involved again as an adult, and attended her first coin show in Brantford.
“I decided to check it out and Lindy was excited to see another woman at the show,” she said.
Stroud joined the club in September of 2012, and the following year became assistant treasurer, then the following year vice-president and in 2015 became the club’s first president. The Brantford club was established four decades ago.
“I hope to do the job for a bit of time,” she said.
McPherson got involved in the Brantford club much more recently. She had earlier been involved with the Waterloo Coin Society and had volunteered with the Ontario Numismatic Association with her now husband Robb McPherson. She even became engaged at a coin event, when Robb proposed during an ONA banquet. She was later named youth coordinator for the RCNA – a job she has done for a couple of years now.
The couple recently relocated to Brantford, and decided to check out the local numismatic scene.
“It was the right move for us at this point in our lives,” she said. It wasn’t long before the topical collector became an active volunteer for the Brantford club, and she was eager to let her name stand for the 2016 executive.
“I think we’re going to get things done here,” she said. “The show has become one of the more important ones.”
The club’s annual show has indeed become one of the go-to events, drawing 400 to 500 collectors with more than 80 tables. It has grown to the point that it had to be relocated to a larger facility, the Branlyn Community Centre. Stroud can take some credit for that, as she’s in her third year as show chairman.
The club itself is described by Stroud as a small group,with about 80 members. Attendance at regular meetings runs on average between 35 and 40 members. Increasing that number means reaching out to the community, but it also means promoting numismatics as a viable hobby. Particularly, Stroud said, to younger people, who may not even be thinking about collecting as an option, since numismatics rarely gets much attention.
Stroud finds potential collectors are not people who have rejected numismatics, they just haven’t thought about it. “When I try to introduce coin collecting to other people, they often just don’t know about it,” she said.
Another area where she sees growth is with women collectors, who may look at the hobby in a different way.
Stroud sees her collection as works of art.
“My heart belongs to the 1937 series,” she said. “I find the history fascinating. Especially with the older European notes I think about the history, what was going on and the people who handled them.”
She admits to being more organized now with her collection than when she first became active. “I have to get more organized,” she said, “but I keep track of what I have and don’t buy as many duplicates as I did before.
“Maybe in the future I will think more about the money value,” the financial planner said. “I may even decide to become a part-time dealer after I retire.”
While men and women may collect differently, one thing both Stroud and McPherson agree on is that gender is rarely an issue in the world of collecting.
Stroud said she rarely realizes that she is often the only woman in the group. Of course that has changed. With three of the Brantford club’s top executive positions being held by women this power team is bound to change more than just a few attitudes.