Collecting Coins, Stamps, & Shells

Roy was an avid collector his entire life, but he focused his primary energies on building three major collections: coins, stamps, and seashells. Like everything Roy approached, he became intent on completing these collections, and on acquiring the rare and hard-to-find. As a result, Roy's collections were recognized as among the world's most comprehensive.


All types of money were of interest to Roy as a coin collector. One of his early shows involved the participant reaching into a bowl to grab as many coins as they could manage. Very early on, Roy found himself noticing some rare dates in those bags of change that went to the studio, and he began exchanging the coveted coin for another, more ordinary coin. From then on, he found himself picking up currency everywhere he went, hoarding nickels, dimes, quarters, silver dollars, even pennies. Upon his return, he'd spend hours sorting and cataloguing his finds which — with the addition of tremendous research and devotion — grew into an exceptional coin collection over the next fifteen years.

Roy's collection contained many ancient Roman coins, which didn't have significant value, but which he appreciated for their beauty and novelty. His visits to coin dealers inevitably resulted in the addition of gold coins, rare coins, and commemorative coins to his substantial collection. This numismatic collector managed to acquire every type of money and currency you can imagine: gold sovereigns, shillings, florins, and half crowns; silver dollars; world currencies; American, British, and Canadian coins from the 17th century through the 20th century; and numerous commemorative coin sets. He was particularly found of gifting his wife, Shirley, with a rare gold coin or new commemorative set each year.


In the early 1960's, stamp collecting began to vie with coins for Roy's attention. He was intrigued by the beauty and variety of postage stamps. His stamp collection filled many albums with first-day covers and rare stamps from around the globe, not only Canadian, but US stamps and British stamps — including a British Empire collection that was 97% complete. Many quiet philatelic hours were spent sorting old stamps and poring over his burgeoning stamp albums in his home office.


Roy fell in love with seashells on his first trip to Fiji. Stunned by their beauty and infinite variety of form and design, he quickly became an avid collector. Like everything he did, he approached shell collecting ardently. His shell collection was likely the most extensive private collection in Canada, comprising many thousands of different specimens, some of them extremely rare. It included the Golden Cowry, the Glory of the Sea Cone, the Cypraea Guttata, and many other rare shells only seen in leading museums of the time.

After his death, all three collections were broken up and auctioned. Evaluating and pricing the various coins, stamps, and shells and arranging for their sale provided a monumental challenge for Roy's wife and children.