Ian Laing sole Canadian among ‘top 60’ influential numismatists

By Jesse Robitaille

Long-time dealer Ian Laing, the 43-year owner of Winnipeg’s Gatewest Coin, has earned a spot in Coin World’s Most Influential People in Numismatics 1960-2020.

The only Canadian on the “Top 60” list of numismatics’ key players over the past six decades, Laing was chosen by the U.S.-based hobby publication for his lifelong interest and success as a coin dealer and collector. Since acquiring Gatewest in 1978, Laing has grown the business into the world’s largest dealer of Canadian coins while handling most, if not all, of Canadian numismatics’ major pieces.

“It was interesting,” Laing told CCN about the Coin World honour, “and probably, in many ways, we have earned it.”

With nearly 45 years as the owner of his own business and about 55 years as a coin dealer, Laing never doubted his numismatic interests, something he pursued from childhood.

“A number of different paths can find the road to success, and finding the right one at an early age can be a great advantage,” reads Laing’s citation, which is available with the full digital publication at reader.coinworld.com/mostinfluential.

He first worked with dealer Jerry Boux, who opened a coin store in a Winnipeg suburb in the late 1960s. Earlier in that decade, Boux also served as the president of the Western Numismatic Association, a now-defunct regional group, and as the chair of the Manitoba Coin Club’s annual Coin-a-Rama show.

“He was an Air Force vet and a plaster by trade who went into coins and then opened a store,” said Laing. “He was a collector, too, but then he wheeled and dealed at a lot of the American shows.”

Boux, who died in the early 1980s, served as a memorable mentor to Laing and others, according to the Coin World honouree.

“He basically let us hang around – or he let me hang around – and you would call it the ‘free labour system,’ where he got free labour from me and I got to learn a lot about what happened when you buy and sell this type of stuff.”

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