Nick Cowan

History and fun at the drop of a dime

Andre Bertran has collected coins for a quarter of his life.

“I can’t remember the first coin I got but it was my uncle’s coin collection that got me interested,” he said. “I kind of just got started by that.”

His focus, he said, is Canadian nickels from the ’20s.

At 12 years old, Bertran is one of the youngest members of the Scarborough Coin Club (SCC), which held its 14th annual coin show Nov. 6 at Cedarbrook Community Centre.

Ancient coins, mint proofs, paper money and rare coins from all over the world and from various time periods were on display at the free event.

“Coins contain the history of a country, some commemorate events,” said Brian Lawrence, a 40-year collector and SCC member since 2002.

Some collectors, like Nick Cowan, prefer to specialize and focus on collecting coins from a specific country.

“When I was coming to Canada by ship, an American general gave me an almost mint condition 1900 Canadian quarter,” he said.

From that quarter came his hobby, Cowan said, but then he started dealing his spare coins so he could buy rarer coins and ones that fit his collection.

Like Bertran, Peter Machulec began collecting coins at a young age. He started when he was six, inspired by his father’s and grandfather’s collections, he said.

Today he’s the president of the SCC and is using his specialty in Polish currency to write a book illustrating coins depicting Pope John Paul II.

“I go to the [United] States maybe fifteen times a year for other coin shows,” Machulec said.

That determination is shared by Lawrence, who said he’ll never be finished his collection.

“It’s that hunt for that elusive coin that gets me,” he said.

The SCC, founded in 1975 by Ricky Morse, meets the first Wednesday of every month at Cedarbrook Community Centre.