Nienhuis wins Fiocca Award, other RCNA members honoured

By Jesse Robitaille

Collector Henry Nienhuis, a long-time member of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA), received the group’s highest distinction this October.

Established in 2008 in honour of late CCN publisher Paul Fiocca, the Paul Fiocca Award is presented annually for “long-term meritorious service or major contributions to the RCNA,” according to the association’s officials.

“I was quite honoured and very surprised,” said Nienhuis, a resident of Woodbridge, Ont., and an RCNA member since 2002.

He was among seven award winners and three Fellow inductees announced at the RCNA’s scaled-down annual general meeting (AGM) held via Zoom on Oct. 17. It was the first virtual AGM in the organization’s 70-year history.

Also a member of the Ontario Numismatic Association (ONA), the North York Coin Club, the Toronto Coin Club, the Etobicoke-Mississauga Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Club and the Canadian Error & Varieties Numismatic Association, the latter of which he helped establish in 2007, Nienhuis is currently a director of both the J. Douglas Ferguson Historical Research Foundation and Canadian Association for Numismatic Education. He’s also a Fellow of the RCNA, ONA and Canadian Numismatic Research Society.


The winner of this year’s J. Douglas Ferguson Award – the highest distinction in Canadian numismatics – will be announced at the 2021 RCNA Convention. The Ferguson Award is not an RCNA award despite being “inextricably related” to the association, according to Ron Greene, a member of the independent four-person “Board of Award” overseeing the honour. The award is given annually to a living numismatist who – in the opinion of the board – contributes most to the advancement of numismatics in Canada.

Toronto’s Bill O’Brien was one of three collectors inducted as Fellows of the RCNA this October.


Three RCNA members were also inducted as Fellows of the association at the recent AGM.

Established in 1990, the RCNA fellowship inducts up to five members annually for performing “a worthy service judged to be of a direct benefit to the association.”

This year, Jasmin LaVoie, of Matane, Qué.; Bill O’Brien, of Toronto, Ont.; and Harry James, of St. Thomas, Ont., were all inducted.


Cliff Mishler, of Iola, Wisc., received this year’s Charles D. Moore Professional Numismatist Award.

Born and raised in Michigan, Mishler “has spent a lifetime deeply engaged in coin collecting community activities, having been introduced to the hobby in 1950 at the age of 10,” said Waychison.

A regular attendee of the annual RCNA Convention, Mishler was also an original consultant for CCN when the publication was founded in 1963.

The RCNA’s Professional Numismatist Award was inaugurated in 2017 in honour of past president Charles Moore, who died in 2015. It’s awarded annually to the RCNA member who has “exhibited a willingness to advance the hobby through dignity, integrity, truth and knowledge … over a number of years.”

Cliff Mishler, the winner of this year’s Charles D. Moore Professional Numismatist Award, was an original consultant for CCN when it was founded in 1963.


Four literary awards were also handed out during the RCNA’s virtual AGM this October.

CCN columnist Sean Sinclair, of Kitchener, Ont., won the Guy Potter Literary Award for his article, “Celebrity Coins: The Woman That Could Have Been President,” in the December 2019 issue of the Canadian Numismatic Journal. The award was established in 1978 in honour of past president Guy Potter and is given annually for the year’s best original journal contribution.

For the second year in a row, Wayne Hansen – the Edmonton, Alta.-based editor of The Planchet, published monthly by the Edmonton Numismatic Society – won the Jerome H. Remick III Literary Award for the best article in a club publication. His article, entitled “Wishing Upon a Starr: An Early Athenian Owl Adds Character,” was published in the November 2019 issue of The Planchet. The award was established in 1995 in honour of late CCN columnist Jerome Remick and is given annually to the author of the best numismatic article published in a local Canadian coin club newsletter during the previous calendar year.

Kevin Day-Thorburn, the editor of the Atlantic Provinces Numismatic Association newsletter, won the National Club Bulletin Award while Joe Kennedy, editor of The Planchet, won the Local Club Bulletin Award.


The Calgary Numismatic Society won the Louise Graham Memorial Club of the Year Award for the eighth time in the award’s 34-year history.

The Club of the Year Award was established in 1986 in honour of long-time RCNA general secretary Louise Graham and is awarded annually to the member club that “made the most significant overall achievement on behalf of its members and of the hobby.”


This October, several RCNA members also received Presidential Awards.

They include:

  • Judy Blackman, of Waterloo, Ont.;
  • Alexander “Xan” Chamberlain, of Palo Alto, Calif.;
  • Lisa Dare, of Calgary, Alta.;
  • Dan McCormick, of Dartmouth, N.S.;
  • Lynn Sisco, of Middle Sackville, N.S.;
  • Cassidy Stroud, of Egbert, Ont.;
  • Rob Turner, of Las Vegas, Nevada; and
  • Michael Turrini, of Vallejo, Calif.

The physical presentation of the Presidential Awards will take place at the 2021 RCNA Convention, which is slated for July 20-25 in Ottawa.


More than 20 long-time RCNA members were also recognized at the AGM for various years of service.

This year’s honorees include:

  • Ken Bressett and Lester Adilman, who both joined in 1950;
  • Gordon Kerr, who joined in 1960;
  • John Nolan Jr., David Fauerby, Rob Kinsey Jr., Frank Leardi, Paul Raphael, Ron Rogal, Doug Andrews, James Stewart and Len Trakalo, who each joined in 1980; and
  • William Dancisin, Michael Noble II, Joseph Manzelli, Larry McArthur, Paul Aoki, Bruce Patrick, Henryk Janusz, Victor Shewchuk, Stacey Shewchuk, Konnor Shewchuk, Andy Grecco, Brian Bordyniuk and Michael Findlay, who each joined in 1995.

Officials also recognized several RCNA chapters and member organizations, including:

  • the Bank of Canada Currency Museum, North York Coin Club, Saskatoon Coin Club and Stratford Coin Club, which each joined in 1960;
  • the Brantford Numismatic Society and Canadian Paper Money Society, both of which joined in 1970; and
  • the Canadian Association of Token Collectors and Scarborough Coin Club, both of which joined in 1980.

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