OTD: ‘Dean of Canadian Numismatics’ Jim Charlton born in Toronto

On today’s date in 1911, James Edward Charlton, the “Dean of Canadian Numismatics,” was born in Toronto.

Charlton began collecting coins in 1926 – at the age of 15 – when his brother gave him an 1863 U.S. “Indian Head” cent. His nascent numismatic interests remained with him, and Charlton 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.

“Jim Charlton probably did more to popularize the coin hobby than any other individual in the last 50 years,” Geoffrey Bell, the president of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) from 1983-85 and again from 2001-03, told CCN in 2013.

“He was a man of integrity, honesty and always asked fair prices when dealing. He encouraged new ventures that I personally experienced when we opened our auction house. He was generous to a fault that mirrored his Salvation Army faith. He will be greatly missed at our annual conventions. Jim rest in peace knowing you left the world a better place than when you entered it.”

Charlton died on Sept. 20, 2013, at the age of 103.


Charlton was president of what was then known as the Canadian Numismatic Association (now the RCNA) from 1977-79.

In 1972, he received the J. Douglas Ferguson Award, the highest distinction in Canadian numismatics, for his dedicated service to the hobby.

In 1988, he was named an honorary president of the CNA. He was named a Fellow of the CNA in 2002, and he was the first recipient of the association’s Paul Fiocca Award – named after a former CCN publisher and awarded for distinguished service – in 2008.

Before his death, Charlton was also named a Fellow of the Canadian Numismatic Research Society.

In 2011, the RCNA honoured his 100th birthday with a special tribute during its awards banquet held in conjunction with its annual banquet.

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