I recently received a group email from Willard Burton reminding dealers of the Spring Rotary Coin Show.
That reminder sparked me to realize how fortunate our numismatic community is to have individuals like Willard, who give of their time and talents to support collectors and dealers. But for Willard and his fellow members of the Brampton Rotary Club, the Coin Show has a very important benefactor: children.
Profits from the show, which occurs three times every year, go to support children’s charities in Brampton and through Rotary International.
For example, young patients at the William Osler Health System now have access to more than 200 current children’s books thanks to a recent donation the Brampton Club made to the Brampton Library, who curated and purchased the books for the hospital’s library. Rotary is also known worldwide as a leader for improving the lives of children and families, including its international fight to eradicate polio.
It was Willard, a partner at B&W Coins in Brampton and a past president of the Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers, who first proposed the coin show as a fundraiser to his club.
“It’s one of our top five fundraisers,” current Rotarian President Matt Samatas told me in an interview last year, when the club honoured Willard and his wife, Sandra, with Rotary’s highest individual award – a Paul Harris Fellow.
“It’s really gained a lot of steam,” Samatas added. “It grew from 16 to 18 dealers at the first show to more than 24 dealers,” Samatas said, with attendance at the Sunday-only shows averaging 200.
Carole Berry, who was the club president when the Burton’s received the Paul Harris Fellow, shared this insight about the couple:
“Willard and Sandra exemplify service above self. The coin shows have raised extensive amounts of money for the club which has been designated mostly to children’s charities.”
The Burton’s certainly deserve the recognition and our thanks for shining the light on our collecting community, as there were no previous organized coin shows in Brampton. They, along with the Rotary club, deserve our gratitude for this philanthropic endeavour as well.
I have been hearing concerns that decreasing or static attendance at coin shows in the past year or so may be driven by collectors switching to auctions and online sites to buy and sell materials for their collections.
While I believe the internet and auctions can draw more people to the hobby, we also need to do our part to ensure coin shows remain strong and viable. Willard and the countless other individuals across our community who work so hard to put on these shows do so with the goal of supporting and growing our hobby.
“It’s important that we all work together to make the hobby as viable as possible,” Willard told CCN in a profile story in 2004. Though his comment was made 11 years ago, it holds very true to this day.
So the next time there’s a coin show in your community, make every effort to support it as it helps to benefit our hobby, collectors, dealers and, like Brampton, the communities in which they are held.
The Brampton Rotary Club’s “Spring into the Coin Show” will be held on Sunday, April 26, 2015 at the Century Gardens Recreation Centre, Brampton. For further details, check out the listing in CCN’s Show & Bourse Calendar.