Numismatics’ tangled web uncovered by research, writing

By Jesse Robitaille

This is the first story in a four-part series exploring numismatic research and writing through the centuries.

Numismatic history dates back to at least the Renaissance (1300-1600) and possibly even to ancient times.

Through the centuries, numismatics’ backbone has been research and writing, which remain at the forefront of the hobby today. Research and writing are how seasoned collectors break new ground – the inexorable march of numismatic progress – but it’s also an avenue for beginners to enter the hobby.

“The opportunities and resources for numismatic research have never been greater, nor has the amount of numismatic material to be researched—but neither have the potential pitfalls,” said long-time CCN columnist Stan Clute, of Calgary, who has been researching and writing for the past five decades.

“However, if you use common sense and caution, it can be an enjoyable and satisfying endeavour.”

Clute is the latest recipient of the J. Douglas Ferguson Award – the highest distinction in Canadian numismatics – which he received at last year’s Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) Convention in his hometown of Calgary.

The annual honour is presented to a living numismatist “who has greatly contributed to the advancement of numismatics in Canada by research, writing, publishing or other means,” according to Ron Greene, of Victoria, B.C., who’s one of four members of the RCNA’s board of award.

Clute’s citation references his “surprising breadth” of writing in the Canadian Numismatic Journal, the RCNA’s official journal, as well as CCN, to which he has contributed regularly since 1973 with only a few years’ break.

“This is an amazing longevity,” said Greene.

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