Don Olmstead, ‘godfather of the numismatic community,’ dies after short bout with cancer

By Jesse Robitaille

Long-time dealer Don Olmstead, who was also a frequent contributor to CCN Trends, died on June 20 after a “short but courageous” battle with cancer.

A long-time member of the Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers (CAND), Olmstead specialized in paper money and served the collecting community since 1976 as Olmstead Currency. Aside from his vast numismatic knowledge, he’s also fondly remembered for his strong ethics, his genial personality and his resolute willingness to help others.

“One of the finest men in our community, Don Olmstead, has passed away today after a short but courageous bout with cancer,” reads a statement published on June 20 by St. Croix Church, which Olmstead attended, in his hometown of St. Stephen, N.B.

“Don has spent a lifetime trying to improve things for others. He will be missed by many people.”

Among the many people with heavy hearts are dealers and collectors in Canada’s numismatic community, which was quick to respond to Olmstead’s sudden death. He was a life member of the Canadian Paper Money Society and Atlantic Provinces Numismatic Association, a member of the International Bank Note Society and the chair of CAND’s dealer control committee.

“What a wonderful man Don Olmstead was,” wrote dealer Jared Stapleton, the owner of Metro Coin & Banknote, in a Facebook post soon after the notice was published by St. Croix Church. “Forget the butterfly effect; if you met Don, you experienced the Olmstead effect. He had such a positive effect on everyone he came into contact with. A man I can never forget, and a man that changed my life for the best for being my friend.”

Later, speaking with CCN, Stapleton said he viewed Olmstead “as a mentor in the business.”

“He provided a lot of great advice, wisdom and suggestions on how to do things, from helping with the coin show to everyday business in the shop,” added Stapleton, who knew Olmstead for about 15 years.

Olmstead is survived by his loving wife and partner, Karen, his daughter Megan, and sons Adam and David.

CCN will publish a major tribute to Olmstead, with extensive accolades from Canada’s numismatic community, in its next issue, Vol. 58 #8, dated June 30.

2 Comments

  • pmcoins says:

    A very sad day for the collectors of the World that Don has passed. Our condolences to the family. When I did business with Don, it was always good business.
    Ursula and Peter McDonald

  • 57Siggy says:

    I first met Don on the bourse floor at the 2006 RCNA Convention in Niagara Falls. I was accompanied by my 11-year old daughter Christine, who was fascinated by the artwork on banknotes. When Don heard this, he took the time to show her some beautiful specimens and to tell her the “secret” of the Devil’s Face notes. She was enthralled and wanted one. Don sold her a nice EF $50 at face value that started her collection. Christine also thought it was cool that Don was from St. Stephen and her great-grandparents were from Milltown (the two now amalgamated). I will miss him greatly.

    Steve Woodland

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