By Jesse Robitaille
While its top awards and annual convention are postponed until next year because of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the Ontario Numismatic Association (ONA) is still planning to hand out some of its yearly awards sometime later this year.
Initially slated for March 31, the nomination deadline for the ONA Club of the Year Award is extended to May 31. The ONA’s Presidential Awards and the President’s Literary Award are awarded at the sole discretion of the association’s president, Scott Douglas, who’s planning to announce the recipients’ names in mid-June.
“We will have most of the awards for 2019 announced by June and presented in person when the appropriate time comes,” said Douglas. “I will not just ‘put them in the mail’ or marginalize the importance of an award winner. The award is that much more effective with all of the pomp and circumstance that goes along with it.”
The ONA’s awards are a “very important aspect of recognizing our outstanding volunteers,” said Douglas, who added, “It is my duty to make sure this happens in the best possible way.”
“It is so important to provide a positive experience in our hobby whenever possible.”
CLUB OF THE YEAR, PRESIDENTIAL AWARDS
All ONA member clubs are eligible for the Club of the Year Award.
To nominate a club, send an email to ONA Club Services Chair Steve Woodland at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 31 with a summary of the club’s activities and accomplishments over the past year. Submissions are judged based on a club’s means and abilities, and the winner will receive an engraved plaque plus a monetary prize.
For more information, visit the-ona.ca/coty.php.
Established in late 2017, the President’s Literary Award recognizes the best article published in the ONA’s bimonthly journal, The Ontario Numismatist, during the previous year.
Several special Presidential Awards, recognizing anything from volunteer service to “outstanding performance by a dealer,” will also be presented in person.
AWARD OF MERIT
Both the Award of Merit – the ONA’s highest honour – and the Fellow of the ONA “recognize numismatists who have made contributions towards the advancement of numismatics, either throughout Ontario or at the local club level,” according to Chris Boyer, chair of the ONA’s awards and exhibits committees.
While these honours are postponed for this year, in the past, recipients have been chosen by the ONA awards committee, which includes “four well-known numismatists who have previously received the Award of Merit and the president of the ONA,” Boyer added.
The ONA launched its Award of Merit in 1962. It includes a certificate plus a silver medal featuring the ONA crest on one side and the recipient’s name and year of presentation on the other. Winners also receive an engraved metallic nameplate identifying their earned honour.
Until the 1970s, the original Award of Merit medals were made of 10-karat gold; however, it later changed to a gold plating as the cost of gold increased.
The first medal was donated by Molson’s Brewery and awarded to late numismatist Robert Willey, who was among the first 25 charter members of the ONA.
Since 1962, the award has been handed out each year—except 1968.
“It was suggested that all ONA members and clubs exercise their nominating privilege for this highest honour in the coming year,” reads an article, “1968 Ontario Numismatic Association Attracts 1000 Collectors,” published in the November 1968 edition of The Ontario Numismatist.
Since launching its fellowship in 1994, the ONA has inducted at least one new fellow – often as many as three – each year.
The Fellow of the ONA honour recognizes outstanding service to numismatics at the local level.
“This includes their work with the local coin club and promoting numismatics in their community,” according to the ONA website, the-ona.ca.
All Fellow of the ONA inductees receive an engraved medal, an engraved pin-back metallic nameplate and a framed certificate.