Category Archives: The Coin Collection

Where Were You In 1910?

This is a 1910 Canadian large cent. Pennies were bigger back then and only became the size they are now in 1920.

The Montreal Canadiens played their first hockey game on January 5, 1910 against the Cobalt Silver Kings. The team won, but only barely, squeaking out a tight 7-6 win over the Cobalters.

Maybe this penny was in the pocket of someone who was at the game! Maybe it belonged to Jack Laviolette or Didier Pitre or Newsy Lalonde! Maybe it was in the pocket of one of those scoundrel Cobalt fans.

Montreal Canadiens born in 1910 include Jack Riley, Jean Pusie, Jack McGill, Bob Gracie, and Wilf Cude, and you can be forgiven for not knowing most of these names as Riley played just 10 games in total from 1933 to 1935; Pusie played only 38 games between 1930 and ’36; McGill managed 134 games over three years – 1934 to ’37; and Bob Gracie played just 7 games in a Habs uniform in 1938, although he did rack up about 400 NHL games in total with other teams.

Wilf Cude, however, had more of a solid Habs career. He was a goaltender for the Canadiens between 1933 and 1941 and suited up for 249 regular season games with the club, managing 22 shutouts and a 2.90 goals against average.

Also born in 1910! Mother Teresa, Jacques Cousteau, and Bonnie Parker of Bonnie and Clyde fame.

Great For Habs Fans…Not So Great Elsewhere

The summer of 1965 was a fine time for Habs fans. The team had captured the Stanley Cup that spring by beating the Chicago Black Hawks four games to three, and Jean Beliveau became the very first winner of the Conn Smythe trophy for playoff MVP.

Joyfully, at least for Habs fans, the team would win the Cup again in the next year when Henri Richard scored the overtime winner in game six over Detroit.

Yes, it was a good time to be a fan of the Montreal Canadiens.

It was a good time in many ways. Jobs were plentiful in Canada and the US. One could conceivably quit a lousy gig on Monday and grab maybe a better one on Tuesday. And if Tuesday’s job sucked, then just find another on Wednesday.

Music was bursting at the seams at this time. The Beatles were in full throttle, as were the Rolling Stones and the rest of the British Invasion, and the Americans donated the Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkle, and the sounds of Motown to the pop charts.

Unfortunately, beneath the rosy, smiling setting of mid-1960’s lay a rotting, ugly underbelly. And it stunk to high heaven.

The Cold War reminded us daily that the Russians could obliterate us at any time unless we did it to them first. Vietnam was as brutal as any war in the history of wars. And blacks were treated as third-class folks, sometimes strung from trees, which led to protests and demonstrations which often began as peaceful and quickly turned deadly. Hatred and racism oozed from the pores of those who never knew they had it.

In July of 1965, just when Habs fans were savouring a Cup win and preparing for another, with Jean Beliveau the toast of the town and Henri Richard soon to be, a songwriter in Los Angeles, PK Sloan, penned a tune to describe the times, singer Barry McGuire recorded it, and just like that, an unknown and his song were filling the airwaves.

This is what we listened to at our dances and on our radios as we made our way through the summer of ’65. We even sang along. Take it as a reminder that although now is a deadly and depressing time, other years were too. But sometimes things change and get better if we’re patient and work at changing.

It’s Called “The Eve of Destruction,” and these are the lyrics.

The eastern world, it is exploding
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’
You’re old enough to kill, but not for votin’
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’
And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin’

But you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
of destruction.

Don’t you understand what I’m tryin’ to say
Can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away
There’ll be no one to save, with the world in a grave
[Take a look around ya boy, it’s bound to scare ya boy]

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad feels like coagulatin’
I’m sitting here just contemplatin’
I can’t twist  the truth, it knows no regulation.
Handful of senators don’t pass legislation
And marches alone can’t bring integration
When human respect is disintegratin’
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
You may leave here for 4 days in space
But when you return, it’s the same old place
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace
Hate your next-door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace
And… tell me over and over and over and over again, my friend
You don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Of destruction
Mm, no no, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
of destruction.

It’s Doing Pretty Good…..At Least It Themes Like It

No, the numbers aren’t up there with the big boys, but still, I’ve managed 1580 posts in 875 days and garnered nearly 350,000 hits and 10,500 comments while doing so.

It’s been a recipe of old and new of mostly Habness madness, plus various little stories involving my somewhat nutty and unusual past and somewhat nutty and unusual friends. I get out the blender and throw in chopped and diced pieces of my collection which has been a lifetime in the making, add various 1972 Summit Series ditties, and for good measure I sometimes yell and scream at the Habs for not making me happy at certain times of the year.

Of course, when the boys are having a good day and grab two big points, I find myself saying very nice things and forgetting all about those times when I was yelling and screaming.

Finally, in trying to make a more delicious blog meal, I add a sprinkling of themes – the old scrapbook, the coin collection, Brief Bee Hive moments, various contests and quizzes, and that bastard Gaston.

In the end, out comes some sort of concoction that some people like and others can do without. But I remind myself that not everyone was fussy about Julia Child’s recipes either.

Now, onward we go, and today the quiz raises it’s odd-shaped head.

Can you identify where the postcard is from, and what team this is from the signatures?

Hit ‘Em When They Least Expect It; “Coins” Makes A Sudden Return

Like Cassius Clay landing a big blow to Sonny Liston’s nose and then quickly landing another, I respond just one day after the debut of  “The Coin Collection” with a quick one-two and do it again.

Can’t let people get too comfortable or set in their ways. Gotta keep em on their toes.

I’ve checked and checked, got the magnifying glass out, and it’s not there. I’ll probably check again in a few years to see if it suddenly decides to appear.

If this 1936 Canadian penny had a little dot under the date, I might be lighting cigars with twenty dollar bills right now. There are only three or four known, and at auction could sell for several hundred thousand bucks.

The 1936 dot penny was actually made in 1937, but a King thing happened and threw everybody off guard. Edward Vlll abdicated the throne so he could marry an American gal, Wallis Simpson, and so at the beginning of 1937 there was no King’s image to go on the penny. So they continued putting 1936 on the new ones, only with a dot below the date.

When King George Vl was finally made King, the mint melted these dot pennies and they did a good job of it because like I say, there’s only a few around anywhere.

The Habs of 1936-37 were a good but not great team, and although they won the Canadian division, lost in the semi-finals to the Detroit Red Wings. 1936 was the year Howie Morenz made his emotional return to Montreal after playing in Chicago and New York, but in January of 1937, just around the time the Canadian Mint was making 1936 dot pennies, Morenz got a foot caught on the boards and fractured his leg and would eventually pass away on March 8, 1937 from reasons ranging from medical complications to a broken heart.

Morenz would be gone just two months before George Vl’s coronation and the Mint making 1937 pennies for real.

Montreal Canadiens born in 1936 include the great Henri Richard, plus Andre Pronovost, Ab McDonald, Ted Harris, and Dick Duff, along with Claude Laforge who played five games for the team in 1957-58, and Reg Fleming and Murray Balfour who played three and five games before they were shipped to Chicago where they blossomed into stars.

Others born in 1936 – Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones, actors Burt Reynolds and Dennis Hopper, and one of my favourites, right-handed pitching ace Don Drysdale of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Introducing The Coin Collection

I ‘ve carried around a certain amount of pride for much of my life – that I was one of the youngest paperboys in Orillia with one of the biggest paper routes.

Religiously, after school, I would push and ride my bike up and down hills, putting first the Toronto Telegram and later the Toronto Star and Orillia Packet and Times, between doors. I’d collect weekly payments from the stay-at-home moms and I also enjoyed that the older women took a liking to me and gave me big tips and chocolates at Christmas as a thank you.

I also developed a habit when I was a paperboy. I began to look closely at the change, and ended up with a nice little coin collection.

In 1920, as a result of people having sex in 1919, many babies were born, including Mickey Rooney and the great saxophonist Charlie Parker. Prohibition raised its ugly head that year,and it’s a sad thing indeed when we see old clips of the feds in their fedoras pouring illegal booze down drains.

My father was also born in 1920. He’ll be 90 in October.

In the news that year, Babe Ruth was sold by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees for $125,000 which must have sucked in a big way for Red Sox fans, and Canada introduced a 1% Federal sales tax.

In hockey, the Ottawa Senators beat the Seattle Metropolitans in 1919-20 to win the Stanley Cup, and in 1920-21, those same Senators won the Cup again by beating the Vancouver Millionaires.

The 1920 Montreal Canadiens iced a fairly respectable team with Newsy Lalonde, Georges Vezina, and Didier Pitre in the lineup, but they ended up third overall behind the Ottawa Senators and Toronto St. Pats and didn’t make the playoffs.

Curiously, I could only find three Montreal Canadien players born in 1920 – Jack Adams, who played just one year in the NHL in 1940-41, Marcel Dheere, a left winger who managed 16 games for the Habs in 1942-43, and the great Emile “Butch” Bouchard. (Although there seems to be some confusion with both Dheere and Bouchard, who may have been born in 1918 and 1919 respectively. My dates come from Claude Mouton’s book, The Montreal Canadiens.)