Californian’s bag search nets $2,000 for CAFNE

The Canadian Association for Numismatic Education (CAFNE) recently added more than $2,000 to its funds, all thanks to some diligent digging through coin bags.

Due to what’s being called a “special opportunity,” four Californian coin enthusiasts were given coin bags, each weighing either 11.3 kilograms (25 pounds) or 22.6 kilograms (50 pounds), to search through.

“Working either as a team or individually, we searched, coin by coin, and set aside the Canadian five cents, dimes and quarters, and even loonies and toonies,” said Fred van den Haak, second vice-president of the Northern California Numismatic Association (NCNA).

“It takes hours.”

Van den Haak was joined in the bag search by NCNA Treasurer and Editor Michael Turrini, who’s also a CAFNE director; NCNA Secretary Donald Hill; and Vallejo (California) Numismatic Society President George Locatelli.

“The no-longer-minted cents were segregated, too, for giving to young Canadian coin hobbyists at a future time,” added van den Haak.

Their effort generated $732 in Canadian coins, and while on a recent road trip to British Columbia, van den Haak trekked the heavy poundage of rolled coins to a branch of TD Canada Trust, where he deposited every cent into the CAFNE account.

“The branch must have felt it was the biggest ‘coin deposit’ in years, and it covered the entire teller’s counter space,” van den Haak said.

“But the branch accepted the deposit.”

Turrini, who said advanced collectors might look down on bag searching as “childlike or novice,” added he hopes “to continue this opportunity when the chance to search bags becomes available again.”

“Yeah, it’s really fun, and your hands get black, too.”

Among the coins searched were two 1920s-era ‘Large 5’ five-cent varieties plus older Canadian coinage from the “teens” of the 20th century, 1910-19.

“You never know what country or year or long-demonetized denomination that we found,” added Turrini.


Coupled with this effort, Alexander “Xan” Chamberlain, a noted numismatic error expert and well-known CAFNE benefactor, not only matched a separate donation to CAFNE from a Canadian non-profit organization based in Winnipeg – he topped it.

“When I learned that it was $1,000 in Canadian, I added $100 and made it U.S. dollars, which converted to about $1,400 in Canadian,” said Chamberlain, who added it is “something to advance our hobby, on either side of the border.”

Altogether, the bag search and Chamberlain’s matching donation earned CAFNE just over $2,000 Cdn.

Now in its 10th year, CAFNE is dedicated and committed to enhancing and enlightening Canadian numismatics. With a mandate for education, CAFNE grants funding and provides financial assistance to various local coin clubs and numismatic events. Funding for CAFNE’s efforts are raised via donations, including the aforementioned offerings from Chamberlain.

CAFNE also sponsors a fundraising reception at the annual Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) Convention, where it’s now become a major, well-attended event year after year.

“We are certainly happy with our American compatriots. Their generosity proves that our ‘world of money hobby’ does not have borders,” said CAFNE Chair Scott Douglas.

“We hope that Don, George, Michael, Fred plus ‘Xan’ will attend the RCNA Convention next July 2020 in Halifax, N.S. We might share a soft drink, joking, and certainly the happiness that is our hobby. Their enthusiasm is most appreciated.”

For more information about CAFNE, visit

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