Another RCNA Convention for the Books

The 63rd annual convention of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA)—Canada’s show for money collectors—was held in Ottawa from 20–24 July 2016. And, judging by visitor turnout, the smiles on dealers’ faces and feedback from attendees, the event was a tremendous success. It seems that Ottawa always delivers a spectacular show for convention-goers.

Every year, the Bank of Canada Museum is invited to present a display at the RCNA convention. One of the Museum curators provides a quality exhibit that usually focuses on the numismatic history of the host city. In the past, whenever the convention was held in Ottawa (most recently in 2000 and 2008), the curators did not prepare a display because visitors could attend a reception hosted by the Bank of Canada and see most of Canada’s numismatic treasures in person at the Currency Museum. But with the Bank’s head office under full renovation, we decided to set up a display at the convention.

Demonstrating how the Queen’s portrait was prepared for the Polymer series.

Design evolution of the back of the Canadian Journey series $10 note.

How the belted kingfisher came to be on the back of the Birds of Canada series $5 note.

This year, for the RCNA’s educational symposium, I gave a presentation on the evolution of Canadian bank note design. Objects that were part of my talk, as well as other interesting examples from various series of Bank of Canada notes, complemented the presentation. The significant changes in the design process over the past 80 years were well illustrated by these artifacts.

In addition to producing informative labels to identify the exhibits, the Museum’s graphics team designed backdrops that greatly enhanced the display. The team also created a beautiful booklet of the contents—a souvenir from the Bank of Canada Museum that visitors could take home with them (Designing Canada’s Bank Notes Booklet ). Have a look at the images below; they illustrate the fabulous work of the graphics team.

A collection of portraits and vignettes for the Scenes of Canada series.

Concepts from artist Charles Comfort with versions of Queen Elizabeth’s portrait and the progression from photo to engraving.

Proposed designs for the first series of Bank of Canada notes.

The convention was also an occasion for the curators to attend meetings of the various numismatic organizations, give presentations (Paul and Raewyn also spoke), acquire material for the National Currency Collection and, best of all, reconnect with old friends. The coin-collecting community is full of interesting personalities, and each of them has a story to tell or a bit of insight to share. Without them, the National Currency Collection would be deprived of a great resource of knowledge and experience. We always look forward to the next convention to see our old friends, meet new people and learn what’s happening with collecting. Next year, the convention will be in Boucherville, Quebec, on Montréal’s South Shore across the river from Montréal East. Talk to you then!