A Two-Taled Coin
By Chris Boyer FRCNA # 19007; MCC of C # 3377
This article will tell the tales of one coin—to be precise, its two tales. Even to those familiar with Canadian silver dollars countermarked with the initials “J.O.P.” there is much more here than initially meets the eye. The second tale has taken a little more delving, but has proven to be quite intriguing, especially for those with a penchant for military history.
Tale No. 1: The 1935 “J.O.P.” countermarked dollar Recently, a friend and fellow member of the Waterloo Coin Society, Len Trakalo, offered me his 1935 “J.O.P.” countermarked silver dollar for sale. Knowing of my interest in this intriguing facet of Canadian numismatic history, he felt my curiosity would be piqued. (For more information on J.O.P. countermarked silver dollars, please consult the past issues of The CN Journal or the 2006 Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins.) A price was suggested, but money being a little tight, I initially turned down the coin, though with some reluctance. Len came back with an irresistible price and payment terms, so a private treaty was struck.
When I took possession of the coin in December, he told me that he originally bought the piece at auction a while back, but felt that it would perhaps be more appreciated now by someone passionate about J.O.P. dollars, such as me. He also told me that he spoke to Brian Cornwell about the coin, who had certified it through the International Coin Certification Service in Toronto. He mentioned that Cornwell noted that it was one of very few double-punched coins that he has certified (if not the only one at that time). He also noted that the I.C.C.S. holder made no mention of the numbers and letters crudely scratched onto the surface, so even I.C.C.S. held that those markings had little impact on its value to collectors.
Upon closer examination, the countermark is of the “Type 2” variety, that is, “Initials Small Oval” type, generally considered to be a genuine countermark made by Joseph Oliva Patenaude on Canadian silver dollars between 1935 and 1954. What is more, the countermark appears double-punched, with the second impact slightly to the west of the first, so the impression appears as “J.O.P.P”. Knowing this fact ahead of time made me particularly interested in adding this coin to my collection. For a while now, I and other J.O.P. dollar enthusiasts have wondered about the supposition that if Patenaude were a perfectionist (as is stated in the 2006 Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins), then how can we explain the existence not only of double-punched coins, but coins with other imperfections as well?
I wrote a letter to my long time acquaintance and fellow J.O.P. dollar enthusiast, Edward Doane of Whites Cove, New Brunswick. I told him of my latest acquisition and asked if in his examination of dozens of J.O.P. silver dollars, he had seen any with multiple punches. His reply: “YES!” I went further and asked him what he thought about the fact that Patenaude must have made the odd mistake, and being frugal would have never even considered throwing away any mis-strikes. He replied: “Your theory is sound.”
Badges from early in Logan’s flying career.
Royal Canadian Numismatic Association President Dan Gosling introduced me to J.O.P. dollar enthusiast Roger Grove, who also suspects that there are other imperfect J.O.P. silver dollars out there. Grove is an Alberta numismatist who has not only made an in-depth study of Patenaude the man, but has visited Joseph Oliva Patenaude’s shop in Nelson, B.C., and has come back with some interesting findings. (See The CN Journal, January/February 2010, pp. 32-37). Roger also made the fortunate purchase of a collection of J.O.P. silver dollars, one of which he says has a multiple punch; I look forward to reading Roger’s follow-up article. Grove’s theory is that Joseph Patenaude was getting on in years around the time he sold his jewelry business in 1950, and the precision with which he countermarked coins may have suffered somewhat on some pieces due to old age. I concur, and further contend that the sheer numbers of the coins struck as well as the fact that he was human (and therefore prone to human error) would have made it inevitable that at least some coins would have less-than-perfect countermarks. Edward Doane has also noted that J.O.P. double-punched countermarked coins from latter years (1952, 1953) were “starting to show up”, offering further confirmation of our suspicions.
Given the generally-accepted view that the Type 2 “Initials Small Oval” countermark is genuine, and that is has appeared on an I.C.C.S.-certified double-punched countermark 1935 Canadian silver dollar, I think it is time to rethink the assumption that less-than-perfect J.O.P. dollars are suspect, and in fact must exist in this less-than-perfect world. I feel very fortunate to be its curator.
Tale No. 2—“LOGAN K” and “R123710” crudely inscribed on the coin Barely discernable by the unaided eye, close examination with a hand lens reveals the upper case initials “LOGAN K” scratched by hand with a sharp implement, which appears between the “J.O.P.” countermark and the 1935 date. Below the date is a crudely gouged “R123710”. At first some may find this a worrisome appearance on a coin. However it has proven to be a real challenge to identify just who this “LOGAN K” was and his connection to this 1935 countermarked silver dollar.
Having a little experience with collecting police and militaria items, I suspected that the lower inscription was some sort of military regimental number. (Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, for example, usually have a five-digit regimental number, which is assigned at Depot.) I contacted an R.C.M.P and militaria expert, Don Klancher, who is a fellow member of the Military Collectors Club of Canada. His initial research indicated that perhaps the number was related to the naval reserve, but had no further information to offer. He did, however, refer me to an Ottawa-area military researcher with whom I had worked before, Arnie Kay. Arnie had researched my grandfather’s and great-grandfathers’ war service records for me, as well as a former R.C.M.P. officer’s service file, after I acquired the member’s R.C.M.P. Long Service and Good Conduct medal for a numismatic exhibit.
Arnie was keen to take on the research but could offer no promises, as there were sometimes gaps in military service file information. What is more, it is not always possible to obtain full information on veterans, especially if they have not been deceased for twenty years or more. For those deceased less than twenty years, family members may apply for information, but third-party researchers (such as Arnie, on my behalf) would only be entitled to “vetted”, or information censored of private details, and that with proof of death. (For veterans who are still living, written permission for access to service files must be obtained.) What was also uncertain was if we were looking for a “K. Logan” or a “Logan K.” It seemed for a time as though I may have reached a dead end, but hope was not abandoned.
Happy news! Some days later, Arnie had found that a “Logan Ross KENNEDY”, who was enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force Reserve and had the regimental number R123710, had been located in his initial records search. Kennedy had been commissioned as an officer in the R.C.A.F. and his officer’s regimental number was J87439. I waited impatiently to receive the service file and to find out what I could about this man. In the mean time, I conducted an Internet search and found one entry for Logan Ross Kennedy, regimental number J87439: the Legion Magazine had a “Last Post” entry, that Flying Officer Logan Kennedy had passed away on July 21, 1999 at the age of 75, had seen service in WWII with the R.C.A.F., and that his Legion Branch was in Saskatoon.
Medals upon discharge
A few days later, Arnie’s envelope arrived from Ottawa with a few photocopied pages, most with a number of black marker lines where personal information had been “vetted”. Even so, an interesting story emerged.
Flying Officer Logan Ross KENNEDY engaged in the R.C.A.F. at Winnipeg on September 10, 1941. His schooling (“Junior Matriculation”) appears to have been done in Manitoba. His parents were David and Elsie Kennedy, his language was English, and was probably single at the time (as his father was listed as next of kin). He was commissioned to the rank of Pilot Officer on December 13, 1943. At the time of his enlistment at Winnipeg, he was part of the R.C.A.F. Reserve and held the non-commissioned rank of “Aircraftman 2”. Kennedy moved up through the ranks of Corporal, Sergeant, Warrant Officer II, Pilot Officer and finally Flying Officer. He spent some time in Canada in various units and locations including Lachine, QC; Halifax, NS; Brantford, and Oshawa, ON; Saskatoon, SK; Edmonton and Claresholm, AB; and Winnipeg, MB, before heading overseas to the U.K. During the war he attended the Pilot Course as a pupil in the fall of 1942 and was awarded his “Pilot’s Flying Badge” on February 5, 1943. At the time of his discharge on September 14, 1945, he not only had his pilot’s wings, but a War Service Badge (No. 232699) as well as the Canadian Voluntary Service Award (C.V.S.M.) and clasp, indicating overseas service, and the Defence Medal.
While it will be another few years before I can apply to have the un-vetted service file, there aren’t too many details that remain to make a full picture. The question arises—just how did Flying Officer Kennedy get his J.O.P. dollar?
Logan Ross KENNEDY, Discharge certificate.
A survey of his postings shows that Claresholm, AB is just across the Rocky Mountains from Nelson, B.C., where the J.O.P. dollars originated. Was Kennedy on leave at Nelson and obtained his dollar there? Or did it come to him in circulation from Nelson to Claresholm? Time may tell, since information on his leave, casualties, and other sensitive details will remain confidential until 2019. It is somewhat romantic to imagine that Kennedy carried his initialled J.O.P. dollar with him throughout his war service. The coin does show some wear and even has an edge nick where it may have dropped at one point.
And so we come to the end of our two tales—for the time being, at least. Before the final details of his file become available, we will also have to wonder about what he did after the war. We may presume that he settled in Saskatoon (given his Legion Branch designation). Did he have a bride and children? Are there any living relatives in Saskatoon or elsewhere, who might have his photo, relics, and other interesting information? Time may tell. For now, we know a little about this coin’s original owner, and it is an interesting provenance indeed.
Previously published in the ENS “The Planchet” Magazine Vol-57 Issue-02