‘Young Collectors’ turn up in full force at Trajan’s ‘National Show’

By Jesse Robitaille

Bidding was fierce between dozens of eccentric juniors vying for nearly 40 lots of material in the Young Collectors Postage Stamp and Coin Auction this March.

Organized by Lisa McPherson, national youth co-ordinator of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) and first vice-president of the Ontario Numismatic Association (ONA), the auction offered 36 lots of material donated by various hobby organizations as well as individual dealers and collectors.

“There’s about $600 worth of material being offered today, and everybody will get something,” said McPherson, who served as the auction runner and added every participant who didn’t win a bid would receive a gift bag.

Serving as auctioneer was McPherson’s husband, Robb, who’s a regional director for the RCNA and past president of the ONA, while the winning bids were recorded by Cassidy Stroud, secretary of the ONA and past president of the Brantford Numismatic Society. The team divided $1,000 in play money among the nearly 40 bidders, each under 18 years old, and sent the adults to the back of the room so there was no unfair guidance.

“We give out a number because that’s who we identify you with,” said Lisa McPherson prior to the auction. “We don’t take a name; we take a number. If there’s an item you want, put up your number when the auctioneer starts and keep it held high.”

All bidders also received an auction catalogue for their perusal during the sale.

“This will tell you what each item is and what it’s worth,” said McPherson before offering a rundown on the bidding process.

“First, the auctioneer will give you some information – he’ll say, ‘Lot 1 is so and so,’ – and then he’ll start the bidding at $5,” she said, adding all of the Young Collectors and affiliated “Coin Kids” auctions start the bidding at $5 and increase in $5 increments.

“If you like an item, you’re going to put your number up for the $5 opening bid. When the auctioneer says $10, somebody else will put up their hand and then the item’s not yours anymore. If you want it really bad, then you bid a bit higher, and that’s how it goes. After the first few lots, you’ll all have it under your belts.”

Budgeting is also an important auction skill, McPherson said.

“If you want something that’s later in the sale – like Lot 30 – but you bought something at the beginning and spent $500, remember you’d only have $500 left,” she said, adding it’s important to prioritize the items you want and need for your collection.

“Some of the regulars know if they really want an item, they can jump up; if the auctioneer yells out $5, you can yell out $50.”


The auction’s first item included a six-piece set of legal-tender Great Sioux Nation coins, a hand-drawn postcard and piece of art plus a hand-hewn arrow tip produced by Sioux members.

“This is actually legal tender for the Sioux Nation,” said McPherson, of the First Nations people with significant populations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan as well as nine U.S. states.

Nearly half of the room contended for the set as bidding climbed to $500 – half of each bidder’s total allotment.

“That’s half of your money, so remember you’ll only have $500 for anything else that’s left on that table,” McPherson reminded the enthusiastic bidders.

As the bidding reached $700, one bidder called out $1,000 to receive the lot.

“He just jumped up to the maximum, so he’s going to get the lot for $1,000 because no one has more than that here,” said McPherson to thunderous applause from the roomful of budding collectors.

“Now he can’t buy anything else because he’s out of money.”

The item was donated by the Bradford Exchange and had a value of $250.

A set of Canadian Tire money and a limited-edition Canadian Tire token was also among the numismatic highlights.

“Did you know Canadian Tire money is printed at the same place that all Canadian money is printed? The same printer does both, so this is just like your real currency – except you can only use this at Canadian Tire,” said McPherson.

Offered as Lot 17, the set of 10 consecutive Canadian Tire notes and token were contested by several youngsters who pushed the bidding to $375 before the gavel hammered down.

A coin album for U.S. Presidential dollars was also offered to boisterous bidding before crossing the block for $500.

“Just like our loonie, the Presidential dollars are supposed to circulate in the U.S., but the Americans don’t like to use it; they still like their paper money, but the coins are around,” said McPherson.

As the final lot, a $20 gift certificate to Coin and Stamp Supplies’ booth was offered amid excited bidding. It eventually sold for $1,000 to close out the sale.

“If you go to the table with all the supplies out front the bourse, this is like having a $20 bill; you can buy something and it might cost you nothing,” said McPherson.

The next Coin Kids-affiliated junior auction will be held Saturday, July 20, from 2 p.m.-4 p.m., in conjunction with the 2019 RCNA Convention in Calgary, Alta. A youth-only sales table with discounted material will also be on the bourse of the convention, which runs from July 16-21.

For more information, visit rcna.ca/coinkids.php.

The popular auction will also return to the Fall Show of the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show, which will be held the weekend of Sept. 7-8. The young collector’s auction will be held, as usual, on Sunday.

With free admission to the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show, no cost for the youth auction and discounted material at the ‘Young Collectors’ sales booth, collectors aged 17 and under are given an affordable avenue into numismatics and philately. The Young Collectors program owes its success to partnerships with Trajan Publishing Corp.; the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association; the Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers; the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada; and individual dealers and collectors.

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