OTD: Trajan’s namesake born in 53 AD

On today’s date in 53 AD, Trajan, a Roman emperor from 98 AD until his death in 117 AD, was born in Italica (near present-day Seville, Spain) in the Roman province of Hispania.

Also the namesake of the Trajan Publishing Corporation, owner of CCNCanadian Stamp News and Coin & Stamp Supplies, Trajan was the first emperor born outside of Italy “as his family had its origins in northern Italy,” according to the online Ancient History Encyclopedia.

“Known as a benevolent ruler, his reign was noted for public projects which benefitted the populace such as improving the dilapidated road system, constructing aqueducts, building public baths and extending the port of Ostia. Trajan was also a highly successful general and won three major conflicts against the Dacians and in the east, resulting in the Roman Empire reaching its greatest size up to that date.”

Officially declared by the Senate as “optimus princeps” (“the best ruler”), Trajan is the second of the Five Good Emperors who presided over an era of peace and prosperity in the Mediterranean world.

A HISTORY OF TRAJAN PUBLISHING

A sestertius featuring Trajan was also struck in AD 116-117. (Photo by ‘Classical Numismatic Group‘ via CC BY-SA 2.5)

In 1989, partners Paul Fiocca, Anderson Charters and Paul Winkler purchased CCN and CSN, calling their new company the Trajan Publishing Corporation.

But the company traces its roots back to 1963 – nearly six decades – when one of its flagship publications was first issued.

On June 3, 1963, numismatic icon Chet Krause, a long-time resident of Iola, Wisc. (and likely its best-known citizen), launched what was then known as Canada Coin News. The publication’s first editor was Cale Jarvis, who would later write a numismatic column for the Globe and Mail.

In his opening editorial of Canada Coin News (Vol. 1, No. 1), Jarvis said the publication would strive “to be all things” to Canadian numismatics.

OUR ONGOING MISSION

Today, Trajan continues to fulfill Jarvis’ promise to provide “on-the-spot reports of major conventions, in-depth studies of current trends, mint reports, feature stories, club news and introductions to noteworthy personalities of the hobby.”

Since the beginning, the magazine has published its popular pricing guide, which is now known as Trends (and then as the Standard Price Guide). It’s still updated biweekly with a rotating board of guest editors headed by trusted numismatist Michael Findlay, who’s also the president of the Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers.

The inaugural 24-page issue of Canada Coin News has since become a collector’s item—not unlike the sought-after coins that continue to drive the magazine’s content.

But while it was originally typeset and printed in Wisconsin, its writers resided in Canada.

Krause realized in order for the publication to thrive, it needed to operate in its true domain – Canada.

A coin featuring Trajan was found in the Ahinposh Buddhist monastery in Afghanistan alongside coins of Kanishka, an emperor of the Kushan dynasty in the second century. (Photo by ‘PHGCOM’ via CC BY-SA 2.5)

GOING HOME (AUGUST 1963)

By the time the sixth issue of Canada Coin News was released in August 1963, printing, typesetting and office spaces were moved to Toronto, which was then a city of about 675,000 people (about half the size of Montréal at that time).

The magazine was then published biweekly by Krause Publications in Toronto, and Jarvis assumed the role of publisher while Krause stepped back into a consultant role.

COIN, STAMP & ANTIQUE NEWS (1966-76)

By the mid-1960s, a few requests from readers for more stamp and antique coverage became a mountain—and one Jarvis couldn’t ignore.

On Aug. 20, 1966, Canada Coin News became Coin, Stamp and Antique News with Douglas Patrick as the stamp editor and Robert Wilkes as the antique editor.

Almost two years later, in March 1969, Jarvis announced the publication was sold to Offset Make-Up, a Mississauga-based printing and production facility described at the time as “ultra-modern.” Its president Don Thomas became the magazine’s new publisher, and Gordon Froggatt assumed the role of editor.

Born in Scotland in 1937, Froggatt immigrated to Toronto in 1958 and later joined the Globe and Mail. Since Froggatt’s death in 1994, a memorial award named in his honour is handed out annually by the Ryerson School of Journalism to the student “deemed to have shown the most promising newsroom leadership.”

Jarvis continued to write his “Cale’s Comments” column until March 1970.

Coin, Stamp and Antique News hit a record 88 pages – with what was then an impressive four-colour cover – with its Aug. 31, 1970 issue.

At the beginning of this decade, long-time columnist Stanley Clute, who still writes two regular columns for Trajan, also became a frequent contributor.

THE SPLIT (JUNE 1976)

By 1976, interest in philately grew so much the company decided to separate its content into two publications.

June 19, 1976, marked the final issue of Coin, Stamp and Antique News, which was split into CCN and CSN, the former of which continued to feature a small section named “Canadian Antique News.”

The following year, Thomas sold both CCN and CSN to McLaren Publications, a newly formed commercial printing firm led by Brampton’s Scott McLaren, who served as a consultant for what’s today known as McLaren Press Graphics until his 2019 death.

Described by Thomas as an “eager and aggressive young man,” McLaren began as the publisher with the March 1, 1977, issue.

A decade later, in February 1987, both publications were sold to Metroland Media Group, a division of the Torstar Corp., which is the owner of the Toronto Star, then Canada’s largest daily newspaper.

Lasting only 19 months, Metroland’s stewardship of the publications was the shortest of all five publishers, including their current owner, Trajan Publishing.

TRAJAN (1989-TODAY)

On Sept. 29, 1989, a group of three community newspaper publishers – Paul Fiocca, Anderson Charters and Paul Winkler – purchased CCN and CSN under the banner of the newly formed Trajan Publishing Corporation.

The following year, Bret Evans became the editor of CCN, which he served for 15 years. He was also the editor of CSN for about half of that time.

Fiocca was named the new publisher in 1989, but upon his death in 2007, his shares were acquired by Rick Groom, of Fonthill, Ont., and current managing partner Mike Walsh, of nearby Wainfleet, Ont. Walsh is also the current editor of both CCN and CSN.

COIN & STAMP SUPPLIES (NOVEMBER 2014)

In 2014, Walsh launched Coin & Stamp Supplies out of the company’s former St. Catharines’ headquarters and online at coinstampsupplies.com.

The online shop went live on Nov. 28, 2014, offering Black Friday specials on a range of popular numismatic and philatelic supplies.

Carrying the latest products and with an experienced in-house customer service team, Coin & Stamp Supplies also has a strong presence at trade shows across the country. Since 2014, we’ve manned booths at dozens of shows each year, including the annual conventions of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA); Ontario Numismatic Association; and Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC).

All CCN and CSN subscribers receive a 20 per cent discount on all regular-priced merchandise.

NATIONAL POSTAGE STAMP & COIN SHOW (2015)

After selling the popular International Collectors’ Fair about a decade earlier, Trajan acquired the rights to what was then known as the National Postage Stamp Show from the Canadian Stamp Dealers Association in 2015.

Rebranded as the National Postage Stamp & Coin Show and moved to the popular Hilton Mississauga, the biannual show is now held each spring and fall. It’s become Canada’s largest two-day coin and stamp show with more than 50 dealers on the bourse; a two-session “Premier Auction”; a full slate of seminars; a competitive philatelic exhibition; and a host of family-friendly activities.

Today, Trajan also continues to self-produce and publish CCN and CSN as its flagship magazines. Building on our founder’s commitment and our first editor’s promise “to be all things,” we’ve established ourselves as the premier source of information about numismatics and philately in Canada.

We’re also involved in publishing other hobby-related publications such as the RCNA’s Canadian Numismatic Journal and the RPSC’s Canadian Philatelist.

ROMAN TRAJAN COINS

What’s believed to be Trajan’s image is featured on several ancient coins, many of which feature a heroic and realistic-looking bust.

Because there were no official portraits of Trajan to copy for their engravings, Rome’s celators – the minters – were forced to guess the emperor’s likeness for many of the early coins minted during his first consulship (97-99 CE).

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