Educational symposium, workshop coming to RCNA Convention

The Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) will again host a two-day educational symposium in conjunction with its annual convention, which will run from Aug. 7-11 in Mississauga, Ont.

Continuing in a two-day expanded format, this year’s symposium will include eight prominent numismatists presenting a wide range of topics, including shipwreck coins; communion tokens; large cents; exonumia; the legacy of James E. Charlton; numismatic literature; and estate and succession planning.

“As the Canadian collector becomes more sophisticated, the demand for numismatic education becomes stronger,” said symposium organizer Scott Douglas, who’s also the president of the Ontario Numismatic Association (ONA). “For everyone attending the 2018 convention, the RCNA is proud to offer you this leading educational event. It is an opportunity to connect with people passionate about this hobby and eager to share their knowledge making your numismatic experience that much greater. Remember, knowledge is power.”

The symposium will open on Aug. 8 at 1 p.m., when Canadian Numismatic Research Society (CNRS) Fellow Ron Cheek will explore the 200-year-old shipwreck coins from the Admiral Gardner, which sank in the English Channel in 1809. Cheek has published more than 80 numismatic articles for Canadian and U.S. publications and received numerous awards, including the RCNA’s Guy Potter Literary Award (2013, 2014); the RCNA’s Jerome Remick III Literary Award (2007, 2010, 2013); the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) Award for U.S. Magazines (2013); and the NLG Award for World Coin Magazines (2011).

Later that day at 2 p.m., collector and columnist Alan Roy will explore Canadian numismatic literature. Roy began collecting coins almost 40 years ago, and although he collects a wide range of items, his main focus is Royal Canadian Mint medals. Always seeking to collect something out of the mainstream, Roy became captivated by Canadian numismatic literature about 20 years ago. He now authors a regular column on the subject for the RCNA’s journal, The Canadian Numismatic Journal.

At 3 p.m., retired Presbyterian minister Angus Sutherland will highlight Canadian communion tokens. Having long been fascinated with both numismatics and history, Sutherland discovered his vocation and his interests could be combined by collecting communion tokens, which are largely a Presbyterian phenomenon. He began collecting these tokens in earnest in 1990, when he bought 200 Canadian communion tokens from the Norweb collection. His worldwide collection has exceeded 4,000 pieces, and he’s currently working on a book describing his collection and updating or correcting the histories of the various issuing congregations. He’s also the chair of the advisory committee of the Toronto-based National Presbyterian Museum, which boasts an equally large collection of communion tokens.

Rounding out the symposium’s first day will be a 4 p.m. presentation by Jim Charlton Jr., who will remember the legacy of his father – the iconic collector, dealer and publisher James E. Charlton.

Charlton Jr. was born in Ottawa in July of 1946. Only months later, he was adopted by James and Mary Charlton and spent his early days in Chalk River, Ont., before the Charltons moved to Toronto’s “Beaches” neighbourhood.

The elder Charlton, who died in 2013 at the age of 103, began collecting coins in 1926, when his brother gave him an 1863 U.S. Indian Head cent. This numismatic interest stayed with him, and he eventually became a beloved dealer, auctioneer, author and publisher. A string of catalogues considered to be “the Bible” of Canadian numismatics continues to be published under his name.


On Aug. 9 at 1 p.m., long-time collector Geoffrey Bell – a Fellow of both the RCNA and the CNRS – will explore his passion of medals and exonumia with a presentation featuring rarities from his collection. A familiar face in Canadian numismatics, Bell served two terms as president of the RCNA and past president of the CNRS as well as the Canadian Paper Money Society.

At 2 p.m., Canadian large cent patterns and specimens will be highlighted by CNRS Fellow Rob Turner, author of the award-winning book Dies and Diadems. Turner began collecting Canadian decimal coinage as a teenager in Maine during the 1960s. By 1980, he focused his passion on collecting and studying Victorian cents and has assembled multiple sets of these coins, including a Mint State set containing all of the date and obverse variety combinations. Since 2007, Turner has authored four acclaimed books and several articles on Victorian cent die varieties.

At 3 p.m., auctioneer Michael Rogozinski will discuss the history of Canadian specimen and Proof coins. The president of Empire Auctions, which has galleries in Montréal and Toronto, Rogozinski specializes in rare coins as well as fine jewellery, diamonds and watches. A former contributor to the Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins, he has been cataloguing rare coins for auction since the 1970s. Over the years, he has auctioned examples of nearly all of Canada’s 19th- and 20th-century specimens and Proof coins, including the famed 1911 silver dollar; 1921 specimen 50 cents; and an original matched 1875H specimen set.

Closing out the two-day symposium will be a 4 p.m. presentation by CNRS Fellow Ian Speers, who will explore numismatic estate and succession planning. The owner of a Toronto legal practice that specializes in real estate conveyancing and estate planning, Speers is the current chair of the Ontario Bar Associations Real Property Executive. His numismatic interests include Canadian pre-Confederation tokens with an ongoing study of the bouquet sous tokens and 1832 Nova Scotia thistle counterfeit series.


A one-day workshop event entitled “An Introduction to Paper Money Grading and Preservation” will also be held by Banknote Certification Service (BCS) President Steven Bell and professional conservation consultant Susan Maltby at the upcoming RCNA Convention.

Made possible through a grant from the Canadian Association for Numismatic Education (CAFNE), the workshop will be held from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on the first day of this year’s convention. The $95 registration cost includes admission to the workshop as well as coffee, tea and parking. Each student will receive an RCNA certificate of participation at the conclusion of the course.

The morning session, to be headed by Bell, will explore paper money printing theory, including security printing methods and anti-counterfeiting measures, and the practical aspects of grading Canadian paper money. The material presented will focus on the fundamentals of accurate and consistent grading – knowledge, technique and objectivity. Important grading tips and methods used by experienced graders will be explained.

The afternoon session, to be headed by Maltby, will discuss coin and paper money preservation. A former employee of the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa, Maltby will offer participants a practical learning session for the proper care and conservation of numismatic collections, including coins, tokens, medals and banknotes. Topics will include cleaning, care and handling of numismatic material; storage and holders; agents of deterioration; and environmental monitoring techniques.

The instructors will supplement their topics with PowerPoint presentations, demonstrations, hand-outs and displays of numismatic material. Participants are urged to bring examples from their personal collections for examination and class discussion.

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