OTD: ‘Dean of Canadian Numismatics’ Jim Charlton born

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

Charlton began collecting coins at the age of 15, when his brother gave him an 1863 U.S. Indian Head cent. This numismatic interest stayed with the young Charlton, who 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; in fact, the 71st edition of the Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins was released last week.

“Jim Charlton probably did more to popularize the coin hobby than any other individual in the last 50 years,” Geoffrey Bell, who was RCNA president 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 Sept. 20, 2013, at the age of 103.


Charton was president of what was then known as the Canadian Numismatic Association (now the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association, or RCNA) from 1977-79. He had received the J. Douglas Ferguson Award for service to Canadian numismatics in 1972.

In 1988, he was named honorary president of the CNA. He was named a Fellow of the CNA in 2002, and he was the first recipient of the the association’s Paul Fiocca Award for distinguished service in 2008. He was also named a Fellow of the Canadian Numismatic Research Society.

In 2011, the RCNA honoured his 100th birthday with a tribute during the association’s awards banquet.

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