World Coins

Noted Canadian numismatist Dr. Harold Don Allen dies at 89

Dr. Harold Don Allen, right, utilized education programs including television to promote numismatics.

Image courtesy of the Allen family

Dr. Harold Don Allen, who brought story-teller’s passion to curation of numismatic history from bank notes to milk tokens, passed away at age 89 on July 11.

Dr. Allen achieved a doctorate of mathematics education from Rutgers in 1977 after studies at McGill University and post-graduate work at University of Santa Clara. He taught professionally for 51 years at high school and collegiate levels.

His interest in numismatics began with a fascination for world paper money. He began writing articles in the mid-1950s, including work in the American Numismatic Association publication The Numismatist and later Coin World, the International Bank Note Society’s IBNS Journal, the Canadian Numismatic Journal and the Fare Box, the journal of the American Vecturist Association.

Dr. Allen was active in numismatic societies in the United States and his native Canada for more than 70 years. His achievements included the Numismatic Literary Award from the Canadian Numismatic Association (1977) and the Royal Canada Mint’s Numismatic Education Award (1979).

He was a lifetime or honorary member of the Canadian Banknote Society, American Numismatic Association, Royal Canadian Numismatic Association, International Banknote Society and Society of Paper Money Collectors; a fellow of the Royal Numismatic Society; and a past president of the Montreal Coin Club. He served as chairman for the Royal Canada Mint’s selection committee for the 1983–1984 silver and gold $100 coins.

Dr. Allen was an innovator who sought to bring the hobby of numismatics to a wider audience through the use of television and radio. He and the Truro Coin Club (now known as the Central Nova Scotia Coin Club) had a regular TV program broadcast throughout central Nova Scotia. That effort led to recognition by the American Numismatic Association in the 1970 National Coin Week competition as the club was the only award recipient outside the United States.

Allen is survived by his four children and their families.

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