Collectors, clubs should consider commemorative issue for 2017

By Jeff Fournier

Many years ago, a dear collecting friend of mine, a former president of the Nipissing Coin Club, and a true collector, through and through – Bill Caesar – told me something that I have never forgotten.

“We’re collectors and it is our duty to not only collect coins, but also to pass along our interest and enthusiasm to others. … We should all be issuing something numismatic as well … a coin, token, or medal.”

That stuck with me.

And Bill practiced what he preached. He never issued any fancy medals or tokens, but he derived a lot of pleasure from taking a shiny new cent, encasing it in a two-by-two holder and stamping it with the Nipissing Coin Club logo. He would then pass out hundreds of these to fellow club members, to the public when he displayed his collection at the mall or library, or he would simply hand one over to any kid that he thought might appreciate it.

Why am I telling you this? Well, we’re coming up on 2017 – Canada’s 150th anniversary – and we now have the perfect opportunity to issue something numismatic. In my “Numismatic Fringe” column, which covers Canada 150 wooden token issues, you’ll see that the Waterloo Coin Society and the Timmins Coin Club are doing their part to issue numismatic items. And it’s helping to promote our fine hobby! In fact, the Timmins Coin Club’s wooden piece made the local MCTV news, which is aired throughout northern Ontario, from Timmins to Sault Ste. Marie, through Sudbury, to North Bay and at all points in between.

Gerard Feehan has joined the movement by issuing a counter-stamped 1967 silver dollar to mark Canada’s 150th. The coin has been getting a lot of attention out east. It certainly doesn’t hurt Feehan’s business, Citadel Coins, but at the same time, it is definitely promoting numismatics.

Also noted in the same Numismatic Fringe column is the fact that James Williston, a well-known Calgary collector and owner of Canada Wide Woods, is making the Canada 150 logo die available to any coin club that wishes to use it – free of charge – for an issue of woods. What a great idea!

The St. Andrews, N.B. Chamber of Commerce will be issuing a 2017 trade token for Canada’s sesquicentennial and there are a few clubs rumoured to be planning something as well, including my own Nipissing Coin Club here in North Bay (more on this in another issue of Canadian Coin News).

The Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA), under the leadership of Henry Nienhuis, also has a plan in place to help clubs issue a commemorative medal to celebrate Canada’s 150th: it’s sponsoring a die that will be made available to all coin clubs in Canada at no charge. The issuing club simply has to use a current die that resides at the Mississauga Mint to strike a medal, or they can have a die made with a design of the club’s choosing. I’m hoping that many clubs will take the RCNA up on this fine offer.

But things don’t have to stop there. If you are a little more energetic, you might want to approach your local chamber of commerce, visitor information centre, or historical society to see if they might be interested in commemorating Canada’s 150th with the issuance of a trade token or medal, or even by issuing some paper scrip. If you are successful in your pitch, I will certainly help promote any such issues in CCN as a part of my Numismatic Fringe column.

Please consider issuing some type of numismatic item in 2017. It’s good for the hobby, it’s good for the collector and it can be good for your club or your community as well!

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