A Coin Collectors Life – In Memory of J. Wray Eltom
J. Wray Eltom – Presidential Mallet (1969-70-71)
(Reprint from the Edmonton Numismatic Society Newsletter V42N10December1996)
Wray Eltom passed away on November 13, 1996 at the age of 81. Wray was an active member of the Edmonton Coin Club since 1967. With almost 30 years as a member of the club, and even more as a collector, you can say Wray was a true numismatist.
As mentioned, Wray joined the Edmonton Coin Club in 1967, and 2 years later became the President.
In all, Wray was president for ten of the past 30 years and has been Past-President for the past 13 years. Many of those occasions were during difficult times in the club, when no one would come forward and take the leadership. I can remember in 1981, just after I joined and the Club moved to Victoria Composite High School, no one was willing to become President. As a new member this was a little disheartening but at the nomination meeting in December, in the interests of the club, Wray once again took up the challenge and helped make it the strong club it is today.
Wray was the President of the club in 1979 when we hosted our one and only CNA Convention in Edmonton. Wray won the design competition for the convention medal, and forever has his name in the record books. He has also won numerous Coin Club show awards in the 60’s and 70’s when the club had an annual show. In 1984, Wray designed our 30th Anniversary medallion, which was minted in Antique bronze, and Gold and Silver plate.
Wray was active at the club meetings and with the executive over the course of the past 30 years, and was involved in all of the “Coin-A-Ramas” that were held in the 60’s and 70’s; Wray’s name is on many of the club trophies for “Best of Show “and Court of Honour. Lub Wojtiw recalls Wray and him going to Winnipeg and Regina shows at the drop of a hat, because he enjoyed travelling and wanted to get as much as he could out of collecting; the biggest part of the hobby he enjoyed was meeting new people.
In November 1965 he was the editor of “Unusual Canadian Coins” (“the magazine devoted exclusively to the variety and oddity collector”), published by Hans Zoell. Several issues were published and are now a part of numismatic history. In 1965, 1967 and 1970, he was a contributor to Hans Zoell’s “Minor Coin Varieties” booklets, which are still sought after today.
In addition to his volunteer work for the Coin Club, Wray was also Past President of ACT (Associated Canadian Travelers) and the Edmonton Self Starters Organization.
Though not well for the past few years, Wray still came to the meetings when he was up to it and was often seen by many club members at his second home at Meadowlark Mall, still wanting to talk about coins and old times over a cup of coffee. This is where I saw Wray last, a chance meeting during an Antique & Collectibles show which I took my son to. Wray made a point of buying me a cup of coffee and some frys, which we shared. He said I was doing a great job for the club, and he praised me for the newsletter. As usual, I don’t take praise that well and I changed the subject, but now it makes me feel good that he still took an interest and was really trying to make sure I continue on, as he had always done.
The last thing I remember Wray doing, was showing the first Christmas post card he ever received as a child, to me and a dealer at the show. The Christmas post card was sent to him from England when he was a baby and he still had it after all these years. The mark of a true collector from the beginning!
He will be missed.
Ms [Michael Schneider]