Skip to content


The E-Sylum (9/29/2013)

Book Content

George Kolbe forwarded a note from Don Bunjevac announcing that Canadian coin dealer and numismatic publisher Jim Charlton passed away on Friday, September 20, 2013, in his 103rd year. -Editor

Don Bunjevac, President, Toronto Coin Club writes:

I am sorry to have to advise that Jim Charlton died. Mr. Charlton was a great figure in Canadian numismatics, and was charter member #9 of the Toronto Coin Club. He lived a long and active life, and was an inspiration to all who knew him.

Tony Hine writes:

Jim Charlton, long time coin dealer and expert and wooden nickel collector died earlier this week. Judy Blackman has provided us with the attached tribute. Jim turned 100 in July 2011 and attended the wooden money meeting in Windsor. Jim chose to have breakfast with the wooden money collectors rather than join one of several other meetings occurring at the same time.

Here's an excerpt from the tribute. I added an image of Charlton from his obituary web page (link below). -Editor

James Charlton James Edward Charlton (July 26, 1911 – September 20, 2013) “Coinman to Canadians” passed away peacefully on Friday, September 20th, 2013 in his 103rd year. James, beloved husband of 68 years to Mary (nee Tyndall), was loving father of James. R. Charlton (married to Pamela), and dear Grandpa of Daniel, Trevor (married to Christa), and Great-Grandpa to Lucas, Dexter and Lillyana.

“James will be dearly missed by members of the numismatic hobby and publishing industry. Scott Douglas shared, “Jim was the epitome of honesty and integrity. Jim Charlton is a numismatic legend. His legacy will live on in all who knew him.” Sean Isaacs shared, “A quiet giant of numismatics, whose contributions to the wonder of coin collecting will leave a permanent legacy. We will indeed miss his wonderful presence at our shows. Sincere condolences to his family.”

James was a Canadian coin dealer and numismatic publisher, and an all around lovely human being. After working as a stationary engineer, he opened a coin store in Toronto. He published his first guidebook, Catalogue of Canadian Coins, Tokens & Fractional Currency, in 1952. Other titles from Charlton Press followed.

Subsequently James sold his store to concentrate on his publications, and later sold his publishing company, Charlton Press, which continues to publish price guides for coins, banknotes and other collectibles.

In 1972, James was recipient of the J. Douglas Ferguson Award for his distinguished services to Canadian numismatics. “As a professional coin dealer for over twenty years, you established a reputation for honesty and integrity that greatly added to the prestige of Canadian numismatics at home and abroad. Your influence was always a steadying factor on the commercial side of our hobby.

Your catalogues of Canadian coins, tokens and paper money have become the accepted standard throughout the world. Such expressions as ‘Charlton's numbers’, ‘Charlton's prices’ and ‘Charlton's grading’ are understood by numismatists everywhere. The publication of your annua1 catalogues has contributed more during the past two decades to the in-creased interest in numismatics as a popular hobby in Canada than any other single factor.

Through your many articles and numerous speeches you have shared your interest and enthusiasm for numismatics with thousands of others. You have always stood for and encouraged the finer aspects of our wonderful hobby. We are proud to present the highest award of The Canadian Numismatic Association to you, James E. Char1ton, for your outstanding contributions to Canadian numismatics.” (signed: Norman W. Williams and Jenny Zubick)

Charlton publications

Scott E. Douglas forwarded a copy of a letter he sent out to the Fellows of the Canadian Numismatic Research Society (CNRS). Thanks.

It is with deep sorrow that I report the passing of Canada’s greatest numismatic ambassador, Fellow Jim Charlton, at 102 years of age. For me to try and recap Jim’s accomplishments here would take forever that’s how extensive they are. Suffice to say that there is scarcely a collector in Canada and many other parts of the world that has not heard of the Charlton name. Jim always represented himself with dignity, honesty and integrity.

I am quite certain there are many, many stories you all have of Jim’s generosity. In my case, on more than one occasion, Jim sent me a letter commenting on whatever article I may have written in the CN Journal or Numismatica Canada. He was always complimentary in expressing how interesting or informative the piece was. I always felt his sincerity and appreciated that he would take the time to show his support.

On another occasion Jim sent me some old invoices and statements from the Hamilton Stamp and Stencil Works dated in the 1890’s when he found out I was researching the company for a future article. I know my story is not unique and would encourage everyone to take a moment now to reflect on how Jim may have touched your life.

Jim Charlton is a numismatic legend. His legacy will live on in all who knew him.

Scott included this group photo from the 2011 CNRS meeting in Windsor, Ontario. Jim Charlton (front row, 3rd from the right) was being celebrated as numismatics' newest centenarian. -Editor

Group photo 2011 meeting of CNRS in Windsor, Ontario

Darryl Atchison writes:

This was very sad news for me as I first met Jim Charlton when I was about 18 years old back in 1982. I had just been posted to a base in Toronto and took the opportunity to get an introduction to large 'coin shows' and very large, active coin clubs. At that time, Jim was still living in the Toronto area and I would see him regularly. He sparked my interest in numismatic research and displaying and over the years I have added many coin publications to my library that I couldn't imagine how I would have found otherwise.

He was a gentle, soft-spoken man who exuded charm and grace and he was a genuine pleasure to sit down with and chat about coins and other things that interested him. It cannot be overstated how large the gap in Canadian numismatics will be now that our most famous 'ambassador' has left us. He will be sorely missed and fondly remembered for many, many years.

Dan Gosling writes:

Mr. Charlton lived life to the fullest. He dedicated himself to the benefit of those around him and others as well. He was hard working and highly successful in business and yet maintained the highest moral and ethical standards.

His biography, J. E. Charlton : Coinman to Canadians by H. Don Allen, is a must-read for all numismatists. The book details events relating to the numismatic community during an important time period. There is an excellent article “James E. Charlton Reflects on the Changing Numismatic Scene” in the June, 1998, issue of the North York Coin Club Bulletin

Potter Charlton

The James E. Charlton Junior Award,, was established in 1969 as an annual presentation for the best exhibit of Canadian coins displayed by a Junior member (under 18 years of age) at the Canadian Numismatic Association (CNA) Convention. As a great believer in the importance of encouraging young people to take an interest in our hobby he created an award to acknowledge excellence in exhibits.

James E. Charlton, F.R.C.N.A., F.C.N.R.S., Honourary President of The Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA), and Life Member 6, is often referred to as the “Dean of Canadian Numismatics,” and the “Father of modern numismatics in Canada.”

James E. Charlton was Editor of the Canadian Section of Coin World (1963-1969, 1983-1990); president of the RCNA (1979-1981); recipient of the Royal Canadian Mint Numismatic Education Award (1988); recipient of the Numismatic News Numismatic Ambassador Award (2001); appointed Fellow of the CNA (2002); first recipient of the Paul Fiocca Award (2008), the highest award of the RCNA; and attended 51 consecutive CNA Conventions (1954-2004).

“The Charlton Coin Catalogue and its creator James E. Charlton” is featured at

The October issue of The Canadian Numismatic Journal features an article “Canada's Coinman: Continuing Commitment” by Harold Don Allen and “Reflections of My Father” by James R. Charlton. RCNA members can view this issue now by logging into The CN Journal Online at:

Charlton Gosling 2012 ONA Here's Dan Gosling (left) and Jim Charlton (right). -Editor

Getting to know Mr. Charlton was the singular greatest joy of my numismatic hobby.

When I called Jim on his 102nd birthday on July 26th he reported that he was doing tres bien! His son remarked that his father never spoke a single word of French prior to turning 100.

Farewell Mr. Charlton, you lived your life well. You served our hobby and taught our enthusiasts – a job you did better than anyone I know.

Scott Douglas added (on Saturday):

The funeral service was small and private but very touching. A few of us were able to trade 'Charlton tales' if you will, and the laughter was a tribute to a wonderful individual that left all who knew Jim a better and more enriched person. The trip to the cemetery was an intimate occurrence and I am thankful to the Charlton family for allowing me to be a part of it. I will not soon forget today.

To read the complete obituary, see: James Edward Charlton (

NNP is 100% non-profit and independent // Your feedback is essential and welcome. // Your feedback is essential and welcome.