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North York Coin Club

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History of the North York Coin Club




As part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations a few interested members have undertaken to help write a history of the North York Coin club.

No particular effort had been made to record the history of the Club before this anniversary. The Club is fortunate that one of our members, Mr. Norman G. Gordon, was able to obtain the collection of monthly Club newsletters assembled by our first president, John K. Curtis. Mr. Gordon has devotedly preserved the newsletters as well as medals, woods and other ephemera in sheet protectors assembled into sturdy binders. He has faithfully added each newsletter issue as it has been produced, resulting in six volumes representing as complete a record of Club activities as could be hoped for.

We are indebted to Mr. Gordon for loaning this material so it may serve as the basis of this Club history.

What becomes very obvious as these historic newsletters are reviewed is that the Club history recorded on these pages is actually built on the initiative of many members who have worked so unselfishly for the North York Coin Club. Therefore, this record is not only about the Club as a whole, but also the people whose initiative brought the Club into being and have kept it going through the many years.

In addition to the newsletters, there is also a small Club archive that had been cared for over the years by Mr. Harvey Farrow, a long-serving Treasurer of the Club. His untimely death and the clearing of his house by the executor created a time of great uncertainty when the existence of the archive was placed in jeopardy. Fortunately, timely communication with the executor allowed for some number of boxes to be saved; which included early financial and other records.

Unfortunately very few pictures of North York Coin Club members or visiting speakers present at these early meetings have survived. Therefore, any pictures or other records, or your recollections that have not been written down, are of special interest to this project. We invite you, no—we urge you—to share with us what you have and what you remember so this history can be made as complete as possible. Contact us here!

 

Club History

Formation

The history of organized numismatics in Toronto had its beginnings in 1936 with the formation of the Toronto Coin Club. That club had matured and grew in strength in the late 1940s and early 1950s with the end of the Second World War By 1954, with the formation of the Canadian Numismatic Associationin 1950, it was vibrant enough to successfully host the first C.N.A. convention. Being the only coin club in Toronto, it drew its membership from the entire city, including from the Township of North York where many future members of the yet to be, North York Coin Club, were resident. These people had been exposed to coin club meetings, organization and operation. Their experience was waiting to be put to good use.

The North York Public Library, with its main branch located at the intersection Yonge Street and Park Home Avenue in the community of Willowdale, was the site of an event that would become a fortuitous catalyst in the formation of the Club. Through their efforts in December of 1959, Mr. Kenneth Bunnett was invited to exhibit his collection of pre-Confederation tokens in one of the building’s display cases in the foyer. Mr. Bunnett was a great enthusiast of the series and used an original Breton catalogue as one of his collecting guides. Many visitors to the Library saw the exhibit, among them Mr. John K. Curtis, a local resident and keen numismatist. Even though they lived only 2.5 km. apart, they had not been aware of their common collecting interest. Mr. Curtis had experience with the Toronto Coin Club and suggested that a local coin club be formed in North York to serve the northern portion of Metropolitan Toronto and its nearby communities.

Mr. Bunnett was quite enthusiastic and together they enlisted the help of Mrs. Louise Graham, then General Secretary to the Canadian Numismatic Association. Mrs. Graham had served the C.N.A. since 1954, and was on the organizing committee of the first C.N.A. convention, serving as Treasurer. She brought her great energy, organizational skills and knowledge of C.N.A. members in the North York area to the formation task.

On Thursday, February 19, 1960, the first formative meeting of the North York Coin Club was called. Fifteen dedicated people braved the start of a blizzard to meet in a small room at the North York Memorial Community Hall, 5090 Yonge Street in Willowdale. The blizzard, one of the worst snow storms of the winter, tested the determination of those who attended. The location was only a few short steps south of the Library building where Mr. Bunnett’s display had appeared and got things started just a few weeks before.

This formative meeting was a great success and the North York Coin Club was born that evening. The original Constitution and By-Laws were drawn up and the Club’s first executive committee was formed. The elected officers were:

  • John K. Curtis             President
  • Cecil M. Langille        Vice President
  • Kenneth Bunnett        Secretary-Treasurer
  • Mrs. Louise Graham   Director
  • Herbert Samways       Director
  • Kenneth Beavis          Director
  • Harvey Farrow            Librarian

Along with these first officers of the club the eight others in attendance that evening became chartered members. These charter members, along with their original membership numbers, were:

  • [ 1] John K. Curtis,
  • [ 2] Cecille M. Langille,
  • [ 3] Kenneth Bunnett,
  • [ 4] Mrs. Louise Graham,
  • [ 5] Herbert Samways,
  • [ 6] Kenneth Beavis,
  • [ 7] Harvey Farrow,
  • [ 8] Mrs. Hazel Farrow,
  • [ 9] Mrs. Retta Frampton
  • [10] John Sterling (junior member),
  • [11] R. Blake Graham,
  • [12] Mrs. Ruth Graham,
  • [13] Kaj Rasmussen,
  • [14] Francis Douglas Graham, and
  • [15] Elizabeth Wyn Wood (widow of sculptor and coin designer Emanuel Otto Hahn).

It was also decided that regular meetings would be held on the fourth Tuesday of each month and that meeting space was to be arranged with the North York Public Library.

The way was set for regular meetings to begin Tuesday, March 22.

The First Year

With the organizing meeting now in thepast and the necessary ground work, in the form of a constitution and by-laws in place, the newly appointed executive and charter members were ready to enjoy the fruits of their labour. Although filled with numismatic enjoyment, the first few meetings ofthe club are best described as formative, as the members worked together to build the culture and the routine of the club.

The first regular meeting of the NorthYork Coin Club took place at 8:00 p.m. on March 22nd, 1960, in the viewing room at the North York Public Library, 5126 YongeStreet. This was the very same location which played host to the chance meeting of Curtis and Bunnett some months earlier.

Thirteen of the charter members were present along with a very impressive 22 guests! One of the organizers of the club, Mrs. Louise Graham, provided the evening numismatic entertainment in the form of a filmstrip borrowed from the C.N.A. library entitled “Canadian Currency and Banking.” The commentary to the film, written by numismatic icon J. Douglas Ferguson, was read by one of the guests present, Ronald Scovell.

As a sign of things to come, the executive received an application for membership from 13 of the guests, almost doubling the size of the club at this very first meeting. At the next regular meeting held on April 26th, the club once again grew substantially with 7 more guests submitting an application for membership.

A one-page news bulletin was mailedto the membership after each meeting.This bulletin was issued by the secre-tary, Kenneth Bunnett. It is these very bulletins that now act as the main surviving account of the club’s early years and form the basis for this club history project. During the meeting in April the membership ratified the decision that the NYCC would apply to be a chapter member of the C.N.A. Through the efforts of the John Curtis and Mrs.Louise Graham the official acceptance was published in the May 1960 issue of the CN Journal, (Volume 5, Number 5, page247); with the club becoming Chapter #28.

The meeting held on May 24th saw the first presentation from a visiting numismatist Hamilton Coin Club’s Bruce R. Brace, F.R.N.S. Bruce spoke on “Coin Collecting for the Beginner”; which was especially appealing to the novice collector. He displayed some illustrations of Roman coins and urged new collectors to study this ancient field of numismatics. Not only was Brace the featured speaker of the evening, he also chaired the meeting in the unavoidable absence of both Curtis and Langille. The May meeting took on a more solemn note with the report of the recent passing of charter member #14, Mr. Francis Douglas Graham, on May 20th. The club observed a moment of silence for their departed comrade and husband of Mrs. Louise Graham. In addition to being charter member of the NYCC, Douglas Graham was also an early member, #20, of the Toronto Coin Club.

In the June 28th meeting the club initiated a policy at the forefront of numismatics, that of publishing (in their Bulletin) the discoverer of new varieties. The concept was developed after a talk entitled “Ones Man’s Opinion” dealing with die breaks and other variations that appear on Canadian coins delivered by Ed Knight, an early dealer member. In the discussion following the talk, it was suggested that at future meetings any coins bearing new or unusual variations or die breaks displayed by members will be “recorded by this club, and such items prov-ing to be definite die breaks, or new varieties, be published along with the collector’s name.”

Following on this topic, the July 26th meeting saw a talk on “Why Die Breaks are Caused” delivered by John Shepherd. The following Bulletin published the club’s first highlighted variety, a 1956 10-cent with a dot above the 9 belonging to Kenneth Beavis.

NYCC Reaches Out

August saw the members of the NYCC participate in their first CanadianNumismatic Association convention as aclub. The C.N.A.’s 7thconvention was held in Sherbrooke, Quebec, between August18–20. William Lavell was designated asthe NYCC delegate at the convention. Arthur Lavine, having just become a mem-ber of the club, presented a report at the September meeting on both the C.N.A. convention and the A.N.A. convention, which was held in Boston, Massachusetts.

The August 23rd meeting of the NYCC was highlighted by special guest speaker and visiting numismatic dignitary, R. C.Willey, F.R.N.S., President of the NickelBelt Coin Club and Assistant Editor of the CN Journal. Willey’s topic of the evening was, not surprisingly, early Canadian tokens. Willey was currently involved in authoringa very extensive work on this topic; which was appearing as instalments in the CN Journal.

Perhaps as an indicator of the resolve and determination shown by the early members of the NYCC, a committee was formed during the September 27th meeting to commence organizing their first annual banquet and auction. This organizing committee consisted of Ken Beavis, John Shepherd and Herb Samways; they were tasked with planning the event for February, 1961. This meeting was also the first time a “Lucky Coin Draw” was held. This would later become a standard part of the regular club meetings. Once planning for the Banquet-Auction began to take form, it was realized that February was a little too optimistic and during the November 22nd meeting the date of the event was revised to Saturday, March 4th, 1961.

Another indicator of the energy and devotion seen in this early membership might be the attendance of 24 members and guests at the December 27th meeting, the day after Boxing Day! Although no special programme was planned, the participants spent an enjoyable evening in friendly numismatic discussion and displays by the members. This meeting had a sombre moment with the report of the sudden passing of charter member #8, Mrs.Hazel Farrow, mother of club librarian Harvey Farrow on December 24th. Condolences were also given to Mr. And Mrs. John Shepherd on the loss of Mrs. Shepherd’s mother the day of the meeting.

Another Canadian numismatic legend was guest speaker for the January 24th, 1961 meeting. Mr. James E. Charlton of Canadian Coin Exchange gavea talk on the housing of coins. He brought numerous examples of productson the market. He also displayed examples from his personal collection of odd and curious monies of the world including: plate money from Sweden, Tree money from Japan, Stone money from the island of Yap, Whale Tooth and Wampum.

By the end of the club’s first 12 months in existence not only did the club boast an impressive roster of guest speakers, but its membership had grown to an impressive 50 individuals. This phenomenal growth continued into the club’s second year with membership reaching 88 by the following January. It is this growth, beyond its modest beginnings, which necessitated the club move its meeting place in August 22nd, 1961, to a larger, brighter space in the North York Memorial Community Hall, 5090 Yonge St.

Anyone familiar with the organization of a club will recognize the exceptionally good start the NYCC enjoyed in their first year—to say the least!

New members in 1960:
[16] John Shepherd [34] C. L. Proctor
[17] Ronald Scovell [35] Douglas F. Toogood
[18] Knud A. Rasmusen [36] E. Malezewski
[19] John Mortensen [37] Miss Jean Orr
[20] Edith Young [38] Donald C. Stewart
[21] Norbert Hartje [39] Mrs. Jeanne Morgan
[22] (Karl Hartje) [40] Mrs. Doris Shepherd
[23] William Lavell [41] Mrs. May Bunnett
[24] Joan Lavell [42] R. A. Smith
[25] Mrs. A. C. Rust [43] N. Oleskiw
[26] H. F. Leitch [44] J. Walford
[27] E. D. Knight [45] Arthur Lavine
[28] Frank G. McMahon [46] George A. McLachlan
[29] Gerald Pancer [47] Les Varga
[30] Audrey Conson [48] Edward Denby
[31] Roy Shapiro [49] John Marshall Jr.
[32] J. H. Bleaney [50] Mr. J. H. Mackenzie
[33] G. Laurence Young  

Throughout 1961 the North York Coin Club continued to make further advances. The club’s membership continued to grow. By the summer it was necessary to relocate to a large meeting room, this time in the North York Memorial Community Hall, 5090 Yonge St. The enthusiasm and dedication this early group exhibited resulted in a highly successful show and banquet being organized.

First Annual Banquet

The first annual show and banquet was held Saturday, March 4th 1961. Sixty-one members and guests attended including visitors from clubs all over southern Ontario.

As part of the show, a number of club members competed in an exhibition of their collections. The display judges for the evening were Bruce R. Brace, Bill English and Mr. Pelkey. Winning ribbons were awarded to:

  • Mr. R. Sauro - English Crowns
  • John K. Curtis - Canadian Currency
  • Ken Bunnett - Canadian Tokens
  • John K. Curtis - Wooden Money
  • Mrs. May Bunnett - British Coronation and Commemorative Medals

At the banquet Mrs. Louise Graham was presented with a Club Honourary Life Membership by President John Curtis in appreciation for her help in the formation of the club and her part in making arrangements for the banquet. The presentation was made in the form of a scroll designed and drawn by Herb Samways.

In addition to the banquet and show, a 90-lot auction was also featured. All in all, the club recorded a very successful first attempt at a show and banquet event.

Commemorative Medallion

1961 was also the year that the club decided to hold a contest to determine a “Club Emblem” and also issue a commemorative medal celebrating the founding of the club. Although it was originally planned to choose the winner from artwork or ideas submitted by members early in the year, the February 28th meeting saw the extension of the contest to the summer with the hope of receiving further submissions. At the time two designs had been received. The September 26th meeting acted as the forum for the announcement of the winning design for the commemorative medal and the official decision on the club’s emblem.

The winning design for the club’s emblem was submitted by Kenneth Bunnet. He chose the central allegorical figure from the obverse of the 1822 Lesslie & Sons 2d currency token, Breton 717, a classic in the Canadian Colonial tokens series. The legend read: “NORTH YORK COIN CLUB” around the top and “EST. 1960” at the base. This design also became the obverse of the commemorative medal.

The Lesslie twopence was selected as the basic design for the emblem and medal because of its local historical significance. The firm of Lesslie and Sons, a druggist and book store business was established in 1822 in the Town of York. William Lyon Mackenzie, the famous journalist and politician turned rebel, is thought to have been an early partner in the firm. Perhaps it is he who contributed to the early use of the name “Toronto” in the legend of the business’ token- a decade prior to the name being adopted. The original token dies were engraved by Thomas Wells Ingram and it was struck by Boulton & Watt in Birmingham, England.

The reverse design for the NYCC founding medal was submitted by John Curtis. It is based on the coat of arms of the Township of North York: a shield split in three sections, at the shields right (dexter) position a sheaf of grain, at the left (sinister) position a set of scales, and at the top (chief) a beaver and a crown. This was surrounded with the words “Progress with Economy”. The club obtained official permission to use the arms of the township.

At the same time as the design was announced, the decision on where the medal would be produced was also announced. Henry Birks and Sons Ltd., of Toronto were chosen to engrave and strike the medal.

A Lead strike of the club medal was shown at the January 23rd meeting, and bronze medals were available for sale, for $3.50 to members and $4.00 to non-members, at the second Annual Banquet on March 31st 1962. The total mintage of these bronze pieces was kept to 100. In addition, silver and gold-filled medals were available on a special order basis. A full set of three medals was priced at $25.00 while silver priced at $8.00 individually and gold-filled at $14.00. A total of 14 sets were ordered and 6 individual tokens in silver. Thus the final tally of medals produced is: 100 in bronze, 20 in silver and 14 gold-filled.

Executive Elections

Following the requirements of the club’s constitution, an executive election was held at the end of the year. The newly elected executive consisted of:

  • Kenneth Bunnett       President
  • Kenneth Beavis         Vice President
  • May Bunnett             Secretary-Treasurer-Editor
  • Kaj Rasmussen         Director
  • Douglas Foster         Director
  • Laurence Young        Director
  • Harvey Farrow          Librarian

The club ended the year with their regular meeting on December 20th with 40 members attending a pot-luck Christmas party and show-and-tell.

By the February 1962 meeting the club membership had reached 81 members. In March 31st of that year the membership sponsored its second annual show and banquet. The banquet speaker was none other than the numismatic ambassador himself, John J. Pittman. Pittman was the current CNA director for the eastern US district. Among the many numismatic topics he discussed that evening was the legendary 1936 dot Canadian coinage. He also talked about the upcoming joint ANA-CNA convention at Detroit in August 15-18. This was an historic event, the first time the two associations held a joint convention.

Although not becoming a member until April of 1964, another numismatic legend, James E. Charlton (member #172), was an active participant at the NYCC meetings. He spoke on many subjects from his views and highlights of the Florida Coin Convention, the steps in acquiring a collection of coins over time-taking into the collector’s budget, to Odd and Unusual Money.

Current club life-members Paul Petch and Roger Fox, then junior members of the NYCC, spoke at the January general meeting on numismatic topics. Petch talked about the job carried out by Chartered Banks in Canada, while Fox talked about his view of the future of numismatics from the collector’s perspective.

As the club embarked on its fourth year, members began to look at the benefits of membership; the clubs library became a focal point. A special committee was appointed and throughout the year acquisitions and donation were highlighted in the club bulletin. The bulletin itself was also highlighted a few months earlier when Selby O’Brien was made editor in October 1961, which was a newly appointed position. Previously the bulletin had be the responsibility of the secretary.

Boy Scout Badge

In April 1960 a number of NYCC club members- Curtis, Bunnett, Young, Samways, and Hartjes collaborated on a submission to the National Council of Boy Scouts of Canada. The group proposed a Coin Collectors badge be added to the possible achievements a Boy Scout could be recognized for. In January of 1963 the National Council approved such a badge. The wording for the requirements of the badge was based largely on the wording of the NYCC submitted proposal. The Council had invited and received entries from all across Canada. Further, in May the club received a letter informing them their design for the badge had been selected along with examples of the final badge for display to the club membership.

Annual Show and Auction

Saturday March 30th, 1963 was the date of the third NYCC Show and Auction held at the North York Community Hall. No banquet was associated with the show in lieu of a planned summer pot-luck picnic in Woodland Park, sponsored by members Mr. and Mrs. Conson. Over 400 members and visitors paid the 25 cents admission to the show, which along with bourse tables for dealers featured a club sponsored table selling coin supplies. In addition the number of exhibits had grown to a record 44 cases.

The following members won ribbons in their categories:

  • Ed Schroeder - Medals
  • John Curtis - Foriegn Coins
  • Lee Robinson - Junior Exhibit
  • Roger Fox - Best of Show
  • Winfred Mathers - Honorable Mention

The auction consisted of over 100 lots.

The nominations committee, with Cecile Langille as chairman, collected a full roster of candidates for the 1964 executive. The following people we elected by acclamation:

  • Douglas M. Foster       President
  • Kenneth Bunnett         Past President
  • Mrs. Louise Graham    1st Vice President
  • J. H. MacKenzie         2nd Vice President
  • Harvey Farrow           Treasurer
  • Elizabeth Wyn Wood    Director
  • E. W. Watts              Director
  • Dr. J. Stiles             Director
  • Roger Fox               Junior Director
  • Paul Petch              Librarian

The following January, 1964, the club faced its first challenge at the General Meeting. The newly appointed President, Doug Foster, resigned the position citing a heavy personal workload as well as being club secretary and Bulletin editor. The executive was revised to include:

  • Mrs. Louise Graham    President
  • Dr. J. H. Stiles          Secretary
  • Roger Fox                 Editor

As a result of the change in executive, the annual show at the North York Community Hall, was postponed until Saturday, May 2, 1964.

By the 50th meeting of the club, on May 26th, 1964, membership in the club had grown to 171 members.

Boom and Bust

Along with the successes the North York Coin Club enjoyed in its formative years came disappointments as well. Paralleling the club’s success, the numismatic hobby as a whole expanded substantially during the early 1960s. One reason for the popularity the hobby enjoyed was a growing trend of non-collecting, speculators entering the hobby. During the January 1965 club meeting, the newly elected president, Mrs. Louise Graham, led a discussion about the popularity of numismatics and the growing speculation. A significant trend indicator was the expanding international speculation in silver that was driving popularity of the collector, “proof-like” sets (containing 1.1089 ounces of silver) produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. In 1964, these sets sold for C$3.00 which was $1.09 (or 30%) over face value. The mint had almost tripled production of the set from 673,006 in 1963 (which already had tripled the previous production in 1962) to 1,653,162 for 1964 in an attempt to meet the exponential demand. At the same time, the sale of silver reserves by the United States treasury held the bullion price of silver at US$1.29 an ounce. Market speculators, expecting the US would soon let the price of silver float on the open market, flocked to the sets forcing the after-market price above $12.00 per set. This speculation culminated in the planned mintage for 1965 mint sets selling out on January 1, the day sales opened; even with restrictions on the number of sets that could be ordered by an individual and a price increase to $4.00 per set. The unprecedented early sell-out led to a debate in the House of Commons, contributed to by the Honourable John Diefenbaker, resulting in the government increasing the mintage to meet demand! The Honourable Walter L. Gordon, Minister of Finance, in a press release dated February 1, 1965 stated, “We shall keep presses running on the 1965 sets for just as long as may be necessary to meet requirements”. At the end, these requirements meant that 2,904,352 proof-like sets were produced, a record which has never been approached since.

As history has revealed time and time again, unbridled speculation results in a “bubble” that will inevitably burst! The proof-like set bubble burst in late 1965 to early 1966 and the numismatic market suffered a wide-spread crash causing a depression which spread throughout the hobby as a whole. Causing an overall decline in participation in organized numismatics, and unfortunately, the North York was no exception; the club’s momentum began to falter.

The NYCC Bulletin for November, 1965, published the names of what was described as a “Strong and Firm Executive” committee acclaimed for 1966. Among the executive members were- Mr. Martin Stocker, President; Mr. Paul R. Petch, Secretary; and Mr. Roger A. Fox, Editor. President-elect, Martin Stocker, introduced the featured speaker for the November meeting, Dr. Marvin Kay, secretary of the Toronto Coin Club. Dr. Kay’s talk was a based on his topical collection “Medical Numismatics” which he had started two years previously.

Unfortunately, the club was struck by tragedy at the outset of 1966 with the report of Martin Stocker’s sudden death forcing Lionel M. Affleck, the 1st Vice President, to assume the presidency at the general meeting in January. In April the club mourned one of the original charter members as Mrs. Louise Graham announced the death of Elizabeth Wyn Wood, sculptress and wife of the late Emanuel Hahn.

The lethargy stemming from the numismatic depression began to affect the club as early as March of that year. A plea for member participation was published in the Bulletin for the first time in the club’s history. The once very popular annual coin show and sale was postponed from March to September 10th. The lack of participation and the dropping attendance resulted in yet another, more detailed, plea published in the November Bulletin by the newly appointed editor, Paul Petch. This lethargy became more prevalent in 1967; an even more urgent plea published in the June issue of the Bulletin expressed concern that the club might fail due to the significant drop in meeting attendance and the cancellation of the annual show and auction.

Special “Coin Carnival” meetings were initiated by the executive in attempt to bolster membership. It was hoped that members who were not able to attend the regularly scheduled meetings on the fourth Tuesday of the month might attend these secondary meetings scheduled on the second Saturday of the winter months. The first of the extra meetings is held on February 8th, 1969 starting a 1:30 to 5:00. The event is very successful; 40 people turned out including three new membership applications. The second Saturday meeting continued the success streak, however, attendance fell off sharply at the third meeting; which was primarily blamed on poor member participation. No further carnivals were held.

Returning editor Roger Fox published a special report issued by the executive in the May Bulletin indicating that the club was in severe financial distress. Its total cash assets amounted to a mere $53.83. Once again they appealed to the members to help the club by volunteering to participate. By November, 1969, the club was on the precipice of disaster; little interest was expressed by the members to run for executive roles; the club was essentially bankrupt, with the treasury not holding enough money to pay for a December meeting. Members were urged, possibly for the last time, by the Bulletin editor, to attend the November meeting which would be crucial to the club’s future! Reprieve came during this meeting, due largely to the stirring efforts of club director Fred C. Jewett, when a “tremendous amount of enthusiasm” was generated. The club’s future existence was put to a vote, the unanimous result was for the club to continue with the current executive extending their term into 1970. At that meeting one of the original charter members, Mr. R. Blake Graham, re-joined club.

Recovery

As the new decade opened it was clear that the NYCC had successfully weathered the great numismatic depression of the late-1960s. Many clubs unfortunately did not survive the spiraling membership drop-off, lack of interest and rising operating costs. Through the determination of its club members and executive the NYCC managed to survive into its 11th year, celebrating its 10th anniversary meeting in February 1970. The following year saw the resumption of the clubs once popular annual coin show and sale on March 20, 1971.

Beginning with the 1973 executive term the Bulletin fell under the guidance of the new editor, Stanley Clute who expanded the format of the Bulletin to a multi-page publication including photographs, numismatic fact snippets and select articles. In 1975, when Clute became club president, Ted Banning took over as editor. Banning continued to expanded on the numismatic articles reprinted in the Bulletin.

With the renewed interest of the mid-1970s the club’s membership began to expand once again. In January of 1975 the club was pleased to accept the numismatic columnist and lawyer, Robert Aaron as a member. This was actually Aaron’s second time as a member. He had previously joined the club in November of 1970 after being a special guest speaker at the October meeting but allowed that membership to lapse.

February 25, 1975 saw another milestone in the club’s history. It celebrated its 15th anniversary by issuing a novelty note to celebrate this major event. The main vignette of the note featured a pair of beavers that were searching through a bag of coins; a secondary scene, to the left, depicted an ancient coiner to the left and a lady justice figure to the right.

ONA Convention Sponsors

The executive officially revealed the North York Coin club’s intent to sponsor the 1976 Ontario Numismatic Association Convention at the May 1975 meeting. The success in sponsoring a convention of this size relies on a significant commitment by the members of the club to act as volunteers in many areas. This sponsorship was a strong indicator of a revitalized club! In September, Stanley Clute was identified as the ONA convention bourse chairperson, with junior Tom Becket, as assistant bourse chair (Becket had declined the nomination as bourse chair position due to criticism he received because of his age). Unfortunately Stan Clute found it necessary to resign as bourse chairman at the December 18th meeting; he was replaced by Mrs. Graham. Member Paul Johnson acted as display chairman for the convention.

At the annual general meeting in January 1976 the new executive assumed their roles:
  • Mrs. Louise Graham         President (Acting)
  • Paul Johnson         1st Vise President
  • Fred Jewett         2nd Vice President
  • Lucille Colson         Secretary (a post she held since 1973)
  • Ted Banning, Harvey Farrow, Basil Latham         Directors
  • Jon Jones, Tom Beckett         Junior Directors
  • Ted Banning         Editor

Mrs. Louise Graham, acting president, declared that the club was financially healthy once again due primarily to the proceeds of the last NYCC show and sale.

The ONA convention, held at the Westbury Hotel, from May 13-16, was a great success for both the ONA and the NYCC. In true NYCC fashion the reverse of the convention medal depicted the club’s “Lady Justice” logo. The celebrated numismatic auction associated with the convention was catalogued and sold by Frank Rose Enterprises. The auction featured the “Renowned McKay-Clements“ collection which contained many numismatic rarities such as a 1921 50-cent thought to be from a proof-set, rare 10- and 20-dollar pattern gold pieces from British Columbia, a 1907 Trial Run token and highlighted by the first occurrence at public auction of the only known example of the 1911 pattern dollar available to collectors. Mrs. Graham reported that the pattern dollar (lot 2521) sold at the Saturday evening session for $110,000 to buyer Douglas Robins of Corvallis, Oregon. Robins had the dollar on display at his bourse table for $135,000 the following day.

Junior Rights Controversy!

One of the major successes the club enjoyed during its first 15 years was the ability to attract and hold the interest of junior members. This success built on the policy of involving juniors in club affairs, resulted in the installment of a new office, that of Junior Director, in 1964. In April of 1975 the club held its first “Junior Night”; where juniors replaced the executive positions during the meeting. The April meeting was chaired by Jon Jones who was the junior director. The event was a huge success, over 60 members and guests attended with a great deal of interest expressed by the younger members present. At the time it was decided to make this a twice per annum event with the November meeting chosen as the second junior night.

Often great success brings great disappointment. A major controversy began to overtake the club starting at the end of 1975 and fuelled by constitutional reforms planned to be addressed in the January general meeting in 1976. This controversy centered around the rights of the junior members, specifically with respect to their right to vote on club matters. The club executive, led by Mrs. Louise Graham, felt that juniors were not experienced enough to have a vote on issues addressing the club and that they should be satisfied with the ability to gain experience by helping in the normal activities of the club.

At the general meeting the planned constitutional amendments opened considerable debate and after much discussion the majority of the changes were deferred on a motion from the chair. Two of the planned changes concerning junior members were adopted. The two changes were: the age of eligibility for a regular member was raised from 16 to 18, and the number of junior director positions was increased to two.

A letter to the editor published in the February, 1976, Bulletin was the first indication of the dissatisfaction the club’s junior members felt with the outcome of the debate which took place at the general meeting. The letter written by Jon Jones, the junior director, reveals the point of contention to be that the vast majority (what is claimed to be 83%) of juniors felt that they were cheated of their constitutional rights at the general meeting by being denied the right to vote. There was no such restriction on the junior member rights identified in the constitution in effect. Jones expressed concern that his efforts and that of the other juniors were not being recognized, that in fact they were only observers, working to gain experience but with no voice.

The Bulletin reveals that the controversy came to a head at the February meeting. The Bulletin Editor, Ted Banning, addressed the chair on a point of information, asking if junior members were to be allowed to vote at club meetings. Upon Mrs. Graham’s answer of no, member Robert Aaron rose to present a motion to the chair that junior members should be given the privileges outlined in the club’s constitution and be allowed to vote accordingly. After a lively debate, member John Regitko made a motioned to the chair to defer the decision until an upcoming executive meeting to consider Aaron’s motion; Mrs. Graham deferred the motion to the executive meeting on March 18th. At that meeting, the executive voted to suspend Robert Aaron’s membership in the club. It also resulted in the executive developing what they considered a viable compromise position on the junior vote issue.

The controversy spurred strong feelings on both sides. It escalated to the national association, the CNA, and beyond, eventually culminating in the legal courts in February, 1977. Ultimately, by agreement among the parties, Aaron’s membership was restored by the executive, following which he resigned from the Club. In the end the unfortunate incident effected organized numismatics, both locally and nationally, as well as the individuals who were directly involved. The constitutions of both the NYCC and the CNA were modified to clarify the rights of juniors; with the position of the NYCC executive winning out. The phenomenal junior participation in the club suffered; it was never the same again.

- by Henry Nienhuis and Paul Petch
(revised October 26, 2015)


  Meetings are held every 4th Tuesday of the month at Edithvale Community Centre, 131 Finch Ave. West, North York, M2N 2H8
  Club Contact Information:
  Address: 3888 Duke of York Blvd, PH34, Mississauga, ON, L5B 4P5  
  Phone: 416-897-6684
  Email: info(at)northyorkcoinclub.com 


  This page and website were first created on August 4, 2008 at 11:39 AM; last updated on Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 11:57 PM © 2008-2013 North York Coin Club

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