Money and Calgary: The City’s History of Numismatics

Exhibition Money and Calgary: The City’s History of Numismatics at Nickle Galleries, University of Calgary. Photo: Brittany DeMone.
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There is nothing more fascinating than collecting coins, all history is summed up in them…they are the story of humanity. – W.H. Valentine (1856-1927)

Money and Calgary is a unique exhibition that celebrates the city’s extensive history of numismatics – the study and collecting of currency. Highlighting some of Canada’s earliest and most prominent collections, donors and collectors, the exhibition shines the light on Calgary’s historic Numismatic Society and the University of Calgary’s renowned Numismatic Collection.

Organized numismatics in Calgary had its beginnings in 1949. There were very few coin collecting resources available at that time. Professor A. Reginald Prince, who came to Calgary in 1949 from Nova Scotia to take a position at the Mount Royal College, founded, with a few like-minded collectors, the very first Calgary Coin Club in 1950. Soon after, in 1952, the Calgary club was affiliated with the Canadian Numismatic Association, and became known as Calgary Chapter #2 of the CNA, after Ottawa Chapter. In 1969, the club was officially named the Calgary Numismatic Society.

In 1970, Carl Nickle, one of Calgary’s avid coin collectors, generously donated over 10,000 coins to the University of Calgary, and, together with his father Samuel Nickle, founded The Nickle Arts Museum in 1979, later renamed Nickle Galleries. Since then, through continuous generous donations and bequests from the Calgary’s numismatic community, the Nickle Numismatic Collection has grown to 23,000 objects ranging from the world’s very first coins to modern money, including a unique collection of pre-coinage currencies.

The Nickle Numismatic Collection is used extensively by the University’s students, faculty and its wider campus community. The Calgary Numismatic Society continues to support the Nickle Collection with its generosity, and its many members have gone on to achieve prominence, and are well known in numismatic circles throughout Canada and abroad.

Nickle Galleries would like to dedicate this exhibition to its many donors and benefactors. This numismatic collection – Canada’s foremost – was made possible by the generous donations of Carl Nickle, Lionel Conn, Paul De Groot, S.H. Clute, George Manz, Garth J. Wright, Allan T. Cairns, Bob and Audrey Hetherington, N.W. and L.A. Goodale, Spencer Stevens, and many others who wished to remain anonymous.

The story of money is the story of our history.


The exhibition is curated by Marina Fischer from the Collections of Nickle Galleries and the Calgary Numismatic Society.

Find out more about the exhibition on the gallery’s website.

The collection can also be viewed online here.