RCNA ready for Calgary

By Jesse Robitaille

With registration closed and the convention just around the corner, organizers of the 2019 Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) Convention are ready to welcome collectors back to Calgary for the first time in seven years.

Hosted by the Calgary Numismatic Society (CNS) in the Alberta city commonly called “Cowtown,” this year’s RCNA Convention kicks off July 16 with a handful of social tours followed by the first day of the eight-speaker educational symposium on July 17. The nearly 50-dealer bourse will then open on July 18-20 from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. each day.

“We have dealers coming from all across Canada,” said RCNA Executive Secretary Paul Johnson, who added the last RCNA Convention held in Calgary was in 2012.

“There will be dealers from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Québec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, and there are a number of western dealers – some that don’t normally travel to the eastern shows – so people coming west will see dealers they don’t normally see.”

Along with farming exhibitions, rodeos and oil and gas, Calgary’s history is steeped in numismatics. In fact, from May 10-July 20, the University of Calgary’s Nickle Galleries is hosting a numismatic exhibition entitled, “Money and Calgary: The City’s History of Numismatics.”

“Calgary is a hotbed of collectors, and actually – believe it or not – Calgary has more RCNA members than any other city in Canada,” added Johnson.

Of the nearly 1,300 RCNA members nationwide, about 100 live in Calgary.

This year’s show is being held at the Best Western Premier Calgary Plaza and Conference Centre on 1316-33 St. N.E., which is about 10 kilometres northeast of downtown Calgary.

“The convention plans are going quite well, and everything is coming together like we expected,” said Johnson, who added he speaks with convention chair James Williston, who’s an executive member of the CNS, “every other day or so” for updates leading up to the show this July.

“It’s been very good working with the Calgary club,” which hosts two annual shows, each of which sees upwards of 500 attendees, Johnson said.

“They think most of these people will come to our show this July as well.”


The planned social tours begin July 16 with a full-day visit at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alta., which is about a 1.5-hour drive from the hotel. A centre of palaeontological research, the museum’s collection holds more than 130,000 fossils.

“There are good numbers for most of the tours,” said Johnson, who added the Drumheller tour has about 30 registrants.

On July 17, show-goers are planning to visit the nearby National Music Centre, located about 15 minutes from the hotel in Calgary. It’s home to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, and in 2013, it acquired the King Edward Hotel, which is now renovated and reopened as a restaurant, bar and live music venue.

That evening, from 7 p.m.-10 p.m., the RCNA will host its welcome reception in Suite 1223 of the hotel.

The next day, from 5:45 p.m.-9 p.m., the Canadian Association for Numismatic Education (CAFNE) will host its annual reception at the Nickle Galleries, where the CNS’ archives plus the “Money and Calgary” exhibit will be on display.

“We’ve been working with the Calgary club and the Nickle museum, and we’ll have two buses take people from the convention to the museum that night,” said Johnson, who added the event was almost sold out as of the time of printing.

Meeting throughout the six-day convention are more than 10 numismatic societies, including:

On July 20, from 8 a.m.-9:30 a.m., CCN will also host a “Meet the Trends Editor” session in plaza room five.

Also on July 20, from 10:30 a.m.-noon, the RCNA will host its annual general meeting.

Later that evening, from 7 p.m.-10 p.m., the RCNA Banquet will be held to present this year’s major numismatic awards. The keynote speaker is Calgarian and long-time collector Greg Ingram, who will highlight the evolution of the Hudson’s Bay Company fur trade and its use of tokens. The author and co-author of four books on pre-Confederation tokens, with more books on the way, Ingram is also a member of the CNS.

Pre-purchased tickets are required to attend the banquet.


This year’s educational symposium will be held July 17-18 with four speakers each day.

“As the Canadian collector becomes more sophisticated the demand for numismatic education becomes stronger,” said RCNA Education Chair Scott Douglas, who’s stepping down from that role following this year’s convention.

“For everyone attending the 2019 Convention, the RCNA is proud to offer you this leading educational event. It is an opportunity to connect with people passionate about this hobby and eager to share their knowledge making your numismatic experience that much greater. Remember, knowledge is power.”

This year’s speakers include:

  • Marina Fischer, “Coins of Jesus: Money and Religion in the Ancient World,” on July 17 at 1 p.m.;
  • Robb McPherson, “Collecting Casino Collectibles – Chips, Tokens, Etc.” on July 17 at 2 p.m.;
  • Eric Jensen, “Exonumia – Numismatic Fringe, Revisited,” on July 17 at 3 p.m.;
  • Stan Clute, “Numismatic Research and Writing – Then And Now,” on July 17 at 4 p.m.;
  • Michael Souza, “The Occupation of Hong Kong and the Life of a Veteran,” on July 18 at 1 p.m.;
  • Lisa Dare, “Numismatics 101 – A Spouse’s Guide to Understanding and Living With a Collector,” on July 18 at 2 p.m.;
  • Barrie Renwick, “R. Tait McKenzie, His Life and His Art,” on July 18 at 3 p.m.; and
  • Neil Probert, “Organized Numismatics in Calgary,” on July 18 at 4 p.m.

CCN will be in Calgary throughout the 2019 RCNA Convention with live coverage on social media plus full reviews published in the print edition following the event.

For more information about the upcoming show, visit rcna.ca/2019/index.php.

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