RCNA to offer popular coin grading, preservation workshop

The Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) will offer its popular one-day workshop event, “An Introduction to Coin Grading and Preservation,” with seasoned instructors Susan Maltby and Bob Forbes on Oct. 21.

Following the introductory course, the workshop will delve deeper into the technical aspects of coin grading, counterfeit detection, fakes and alterations, authentication plus coin and paper money preservation. Although not a prerequisite, participants would benefit from taking the previous course. This course educates collectors about the technical side of grading Canadian coins. The two highly qualified instructors will supplement their discussion with slides, demonstrations, handouts and displays of relevant numismatic material.

The class size is deliberately kept small, allowing the students to interact one on one with instructors to understand the material presented more clearly and to deal with other issues of interest to the students in the instructors’ areas of expertise.

Paul Johnson, RCNA executive secretary, will act as the moderator for the workshop.

Each participant will receive a special RCNA “Certificate of Participation” after the course.

The day-long course will include 45 minutes for lunch, when participants can dine at the Humber College restaurant. The lunch cost is each individual’s responsibility. Morning and afternoon coffee breaks are also scheduled, with complimentary coffee and tea available.


8:30 – 9 Registration – Complimentary coffee
9 – 9:10 Introduction
9:10 – 12:10 Coin Grading
Instructor: Robert Forbes
12:10 – 1:00 Lunch Break
1 – 4  Coin & Paper Money Preservation

Bob Forbes gave a coin grading workshop at this July’s RCNA Convention, which was well attended.


Forbes, of Toronto, Ont., is a past president of the RCNA and a director of the Canadian Association for Numismatic Education (CAFNE).

He is also chair of the J. Douglas Ferguson Historical Research Foundation. He was the 2011 recipient of the RCNA President’s Award (relating to the creation and organization of CAFNE), 2015 Fellow of the RCNA Award Winner, and 2016 winner of the Buy Potter Literary Award and Platinum level annual donation contributor to the RCNA and CAFNE. At the 2023 RCNA Convention, Forbes also received the J. Douglas Ferguson and Paul Fiocca awards — the highest two honours in Canadian numismatics.

Forbes is a collector of Canadian, Newfoundland and Maritime decimal coinage, royal portrait coinage of New France, 2010 winner of the PCGS award (Best New Set) for PCGS Set Registry (Complete Newfoundland 50-cent  and Newfoundland Type Set), winner of the PCGS Gold Award in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 for “Newfoundland Complete Set – Circulation Strikes 1865 – 1947) and holder of several “Finest Sets of All Time” designations in the PCGS Set Registry. He is an expert in grading Canadian coinage, having graded thousands of coins during and is often asked by dealers and collectors to consult on coin grading matters.

The morning session explores technical aspects of grading Canadian coins, including market grading and the use of professional grading services. This session will focus on the practical aspects of grading Canadian decimal coinage. The material covers the three fundamentals of accurate and consistent grading: knowledge, technique and objectivity. Important grading tips and methods experienced graders use will be explained, including “market grading” and using various coin grading services. A detailed discussion of the fine points that distinguish one grade from another is also included, as well as a close-up look at “coin problems”, specifically those cleaned or altered coins.

This course is intended for students who know the basics of grading coins, have some grading experience, and recognize those areas where they lack grading skills. All students are encouraged to bring examples of coins for class discussion. This course will help students resolve the confusion that sometimes accompanies grading coins.


Proper handling and storage is one of the most important aspects of preserving coins, tokens, and paper money.

Collections can deteriorate with time if not stored correctly. Find out what you can do to ensure minimal reduction in the value of valuable numismatic material. This advanced course offers the collector an opportunity to learn, in a practical “hands-on” manner, more about the proper care and conservation of numismatic collections (i.e. coins, tokens, medals and paper notes).

Topics discussed will include:
– agents of deterioration
– environmental requirements for numismatic collections
– environmental monitoring techniques
– establishing a controlled environment
– storage
– holders
– cleaning, care and handling of numismatic material

Components of a great coin/bill holder, how to choose a good holder, materials and holders to avoid, environmental requirements for different kinds of material (i.e. different metals, paper, “exotic materials) will be addressed, and tips on good care and handling will be offered.

One of the demonstrations that will be included, because of its importance to determining the content of storage materials, is the Beilstein Test, used to determine whether a plastic contains PVC or polyvinyl-dene chloride…and will explain which is safe, which is not and why.

Participants are urged to bring along problem pieces for examination and discussion.

Susan Maltby is the founder and CEO of Malby and Associates and will give an afternoon workshop on coin and banknote preservation.

Maltby is a columnist and professional conservation consultant. She has given seminars and presentations on numismatic conservation to various numismatic groups during the past few years. Susan was a member of the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa staff before starting her own conservation consulting firm.

The moderator for the seminar is RCNA Executive Secretary Paul Johnson, and  Henry Nienhuis, a past RCNA president, will look after the audio-visual logistics during the workshop.


The cost of this workshop is $95 for registrants. Send a cheque, along with your contact information, to:

Royal Canadian Numismatic Association
5694 Highway #7 East, Suite 432
Markham ON Canada L3P 1B4

Participants will receive confirmation of their acceptance into the course and detailed directions to the Humber College location in Toronto, Ontario (Community Room).

For more information, contact the RCNA’s Paul Johnson at 647-401-4014 or info@rcna.ca.

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