The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 24, Number 50, December 12, 2021, Article 6

JAMES W. ASTWOOD (1934-2021)

Howard R. Engel of Richard Stockley Books in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada passed along this note about author J.W. Astwood from Jim Bailie (also of Winnipeg):

"Jim passed away on December 4, 2021. He was a giant of numismatics. Jim received the prestigious J. Douglas Ferguson Award at the RCNA convention in Toronto in 2014. He set a standard for writing tokens books."

  Ron Greene and J. W. Astwood
James Astwood (right) receiving the J. Douglas Ferguson Award from Ron Greene (left).

The J. Douglas Ferguson Award is the highest award in Canadian numismatics and is given annually to the living numismatist who, in the opinion of the Board, has contributed most to the advancement of numismatics in Canada, through research, writing or publishing, or in any other manner, who has not previously received the award.

Jim also passed along the above image from the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association website. Howard added the following observations. Thank you both! Sorry to hear the news. -Editor

I'm shocked and saddened by this news. I know people in the numismatic community across Canada and beyond who also knew and appreciated "Mr. Astwood" as we all knew him (although in his informal and friendly way he always referred to himself as "Jim"), and his many contributions to the hobby, particularly on Manitoba trade tokens. Like you said, Mr. Astwood is a numismatic giant and will leave a huge hole in our community across Canada and especially in his native Manitoba. He was active to the end. The latest issue of Numismatica Canada (vol. 20 no. 4, Dec. 2021, issue no. 80) included the following classified ads from him:

Wanted for my personal collection: Breton 735 and 736 (Illiffe tokens) all varieties. Jim Astwood -, and For those interested in an updated supplement (January 2020) for the An Illustrated Guide To Manitoba Trade Tokens please contact Jim Astwood -

His latest articles in that venerable publication (from vol. 20 no. 2, June 2021, issue no. 78) were:

Marius Cinq-Mars A Scholarly Manitoban.............................Jim Astwood, FCNRS............60
Bank Hotel...............................................................................Jim Astwood, FCNRS............63

Among his many published articles over the years, one of the most memorable and practical was his "Fur Trade Tokens-- Fakes, Fantasies and Copies" published in the Canadian Numismatic Journal, vol. 61 no. 5, July-August 2016, p. 214-217.

Of course, perhaps his biggest claim to fame was his ongoing labour of love and tour de force, An Illustrated Guide to Manitoba Trade Tokens, most recently published in its 10th edition (2018), plus the Jan. 2020 supplement. As you will recall, Mr. Astwood took over where the late, great Donald M. Stewart left off with A Complete Supplement to Trade and Advertising Tokens of Manitoba (1979), a decade after the original work was published by The Canadian Numismatic Research Society in 1969. It remains to be seen if and how this important work may continue in Mr. Astwood's absence.

I know you and Mr. Astwood had an extra special friendship. I appreciate how you often bore eloquent witness to that friendship marked with so much kindness and generosity in the stories you have shared with me over the years. He was a true gentleman and scholar who contributed so much to the hobby for many decades. I'm most grateful to you that you were able to present Mr. Astwood with his 65th anniversary membership (no. 1048) certificate in the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association. He was also the last surviving charter member of the Manitoba Coin Club, serving as its first Treasurer and then as Secretary in 1957. I'm also very grateful to Judy Blackman the editor of the Manitoba Coin Club's official newsletter, Bison Tales, for publishing Mr. Astwood's reminiscences as a Manitoba Coin Club charter member in the October 2020 issue, p. 6-9.

For more on the 2014 RCNA convention, see:
2014 Toronto RCNA Convention : Non-RCNA Awards 2014 (

Here's an excerpt from Astwood's online obituary. -Editor

James William Astwood With his loving wife and children at his bedside, James (Jim) Astwood passed away at Health Sciences Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba at the age of 87.

Jim Astwood was born in the winter of 1934 in Winnipeg in the house that his father, James Clifton Astwood, and mother, Dorothy Helen Astwood (nee Martin), had built on Rosedale Avenue in Riverview.

After attending Kelvin High School, Jim followed in his father's footsteps and entered the accounting profession as an auditor. He was with Price Waterhouse and travelled throughout Canada, working primarily out of offices in Toronto and Montreal. In 1957 he became a Chartered Accountant.

Returning to Winnipeg, he met the love of his life, Margaret Lynne Astwood (nee Bateman), at the Winnipeg Canoe Club in St. Vital – they married in 1961. The Canoe Club became the center of his family life, where Jim, Margaret and their three children, Robert, Marilyn and James spent countless happy hours together and with many family friends. The Canoe Club was one of his great passions, serving as Commodore in 1963 and later helping the Club transition to a public golf course.

Jim was also generous with his time and energy in the community. He served for many years on the board of the Manitoba Opera, and as President from 1995-97, and contributed time and energy to numerous other foundations and charitable organizations. In recent years, he re-discovered his passion for Snooker, and was often seen calculating (and perhaps gambling with a bit of a grin) his next shot. Jim also had a passion for studying Manitoba and Western Canadian History – especially the Hudson's Bay Company period from 1670 through 1874. He enjoyed all things Winnipeg and was last seen reading the Winnipeg Free Press' assessment of the Blue Bomber's chances in the 2021 CFL Western Final.

To read the complete article, see:
James William Astwood (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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