World Coins

Astronomer sets sights on gold coins in book

A new book explores and adds to research about the gold coins of Newfoundland, Canada.

Original images courtesy of Boulder Publications

An astronomer usually focused on the heavens has set his sights on something a little lower: gold coins of Newfoundland.

Harvey Richer authored The Gold Coins of Newfoundland 1865–1888, which was released July 27 by Boulder Publications.

Newfoundland was the only British colony in North America to strike gold coins for general circulation, which may be remarkable given that it was one of the poorest British possessions in North America and had an economy largely based on the barter system.

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This book explores the history of Newfoundland through its coinage. It presents new details for each year that gold coins were minted, the existing distribution of these scarce coins, a survey of the greatest collections ever assembled, and the provenances of the rarest of the gold coins.

Richer is professor of astronomy at the University of British Columbia and has published more than 140 scientific papers. He was the 2014 recipient of the Carlyle S. Beals Award of the Canadian Astronomical Society, given for lifetime achievement.

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“Well-researched studies about early Canadian coinage are few and far between,” according to Paul Berry, chief curator of the National Currency Collection, Bank of Canada Museum. Richer’s book “contributes admirably to filling the void. Despite drawing heavily upon official documents and contemporary newspaper accounts the work is not dry. The combination of historical narrative and numismatic detail interspersed with amusing anecdotes that at times resemble a detective novel make for an informative, pleasant read.”

The hardcover 181-page book is published at $34.95 Canadian.

Order your copy at the Boulder Publications website

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