Calgary coin convention hears tips on living with a collector: ‘Some people go pretty much crazy’

Nick Vorsin wasn’t sure what he’d find when he stopped in at the Calgary Coin Gallery, but he ended up buying a couple of nice surprises: two 1967 Canadian Centennial coins.

One was a 50 cent piece, featuring an image of a howling wolf, along with a silver dollar featuring a Canada goose.

“It’s in really good condition,” Vorsin said. “And I just like the look of it.”

The 13-year-old Calgarian has been collecting coins for the past two years.

“I’m just into coins,” Vorsin said.

That’s a sentiment shared this week by about 200 visitors to the city, as Calgary hosts collectors from all over North America at the 2019 Annual Royal Canadian Numismatic Association’s Coin Convention.

The event runs from Thursday to Saturday at the Best Western Premier Calgary Plaza and Conference Centre.

The owner of the Calgary Coin Gallery, Robert Kokotailo, is looking forward to displaying his wares at the convention.

“A lot of coins in that room,” Kokotailo said. “Some very rare things.”

But Kokotailo cautions people against hoping that any rare and valuable coins might show up in their pocket change.

“Your odds of winning (the) 6/49 (lottery) are probably higher,” Kokotailo said.

The coin convention features talks on a wide range of topics, including one called “A Spouse’s Guide to Understanding and Living With a Collector.”

Kokotailo isn’t involved in presenting that session, but it’s a subject he’s become familiar with in his 35 years as a coin dealer.

“If a person’s a born collector they just have to collect and if they’ve got a spouse that won’t let them collect they’re going to be miserable,” Kokotailo said. “It’s going to cause friction — I’ve seen it many times.”

“Yeah, ’cause some people go pretty much crazy!” Vorsin said. “They spend all their life savings on a certain coin.”

“I’ve seen marriages broken up over this issue,” Kokotailo said.

“Life’s too short to split up over coins,” customer Sue Dawkins said.

Kokotailo pointed out that it’s a hobby that’s never caused problems between him and his wife.

“I don’t actually collect coins,” he said. “I buy and sell coins for a living.”

And while Kokotailo won’t be making a convention presentation on the potential conflicts over coins, he does have some advice for collectors and their spouses.

“You have to accept the other person for who they are,” Kokotailo said. “If they’re a collector, you’d better accept it, because if you try and turn them into a non-collector you’re just going to make them miserable. It’s the way people are.”

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