RBCM Archives

Collection PR-2365 - Medals, Tokens and Numismatic Collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Medals, Tokens and Numismatic Collection

General material designation

  • textual record
  • object

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the collection.

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 221 BCE – 2004, predominant 1845-2004 (Creation)
    Provincial Archives of British Columbia

Physical description area

Physical description

5,844 objects,12.5 cm textual records

Publisher's series area

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Provincial Archives of British Columbia (1908-1989)

Biographical history

The British Columbia Archives was established in 1908 with the appointment of the R.E. Gosnell as the first Provincial Archivist. The original name of the organization was the Provincial Archives, later expanded to the Provincial Archives of British Columbia (PABC). The purpose of the archives was to preserve historical records reflecting the history of the province. Although separate organizations, throughout most of the early years of its existence, the archives grew alongside the Legislative Library. The two organizations shared the same vote in the BC estimates until 1943-1944, shared the same building and facilities until 1970, and the same individual held the dual positions of Provincial Archivist and Legislative Librarian until 1974. The archives grew rapidly in the 1970’s and 1980’s. During this time, a number of media divisions were established. These included the Manuscripts and Governments Records Division, Library and Maps Section, Visual Records Division, and Sound and Moving Image Division. Each division described records relating to their media sections and provided separate reference service. However, these divisions were gradually phased out in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and replaced by a central reference service. In 1989, the Provincial Archives of British Columbia was merged with the Records Management Branch of the government of British Columbia to form the British Columbia Archives and Records Service (BCARS). This merger increased the powers of the archives to form an integrated archives and corporate records management program and provide support to all ministries, Crown corporations and agencies within the government of British Columbia. In 1996, BCARS was united with the Information and Privacy Branch of government. The Information and Privacy Branch had been responsible for providing central agency services and support to organizations within the BC provincial government for privacy and information access programs. The resulting organization was called the BC Information Management Services (BCIMS). This was divided into two sections with Information and Analysis Services providing for records management and information and privacy and Archives and Information Access branch representing the traditional archives as it existed before its merger with the records management branch in 1988. This administrative structure lasted for two years until 1998, when the Information and Privacy Branch was removed and the remaining portions were renamed the British Columbia Archives. This structure existed unchanged until 2003 when the British Columbia Archives was merged with the Royal British Columbia Museum as a branch of the Royal British Columbia Museum Crown Trust. As a government division, the archives has reported to many departments in government since 1908. Some of these departments and ministries include: Dept. of Attorney-General, Dept. of the Provincial Secretary, Dept. of Education, Ministry of Provincial Secretary and Travel Industry, Ministry of Provincial Secretary and Government Services, Ministry of Tourism and Provincial Secretary, Ministry of Government Services, and Ministry of Management Services.

Custodial history

This is an artificial collection created by the B.C. Archives. Acquired through numerous direct donations from various private sources, and transfers from private and government textual record series.

Scope and content

There are 4 main types of material in the collection: medals and awards of merit, tokens, numismatic paper, and numismatic coins. The category of “medals” also includes occasional items of jewelry, commemorative objects of various types and militaria, while the category of numismatic paper includes banknotes, tickets, ration books, scrip, coupons, passbooks and paper. Tokens were issued by a wide range of businesses including dairies, bakeries, and transportation companies.

Most of the material relates to British Columbia. There are occasional items (particularly paper and coinage) from other countries.

PR-2365 also includes the H.J. Sceats collection of Chinese, Japanese and Korean coinage (a gift to the B.C. Archives in 1937), and a collection of Roman and ancient British coins from an unknown source.

PR-2365 also includes 12.5 cm of associated textual material such as souvenir coin holders, cases, brochures, and letters of donation. These have been labelled with the same item number as the object to which they relate, and may be found in Container 942609-0025.
The objects have been arranged by category of material (medals, tokens, numismatic paper and numismatic coins), with a few exceptions. Each object has a unique item number. Note that the item numbers in each container are not necessarily inclusive.

All items were re-housed and described as part of a volunteer project which concluded in 2017.

Notes area

Physical condition

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Restrictions on access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

Box list is available: http://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Document/Finding_Aids_Atom/PR-2001_to_PR-2500/PR-2365.pdf
A detailed item list will be available in the Reference Room.

Detailed information about each item may be obtained by consulting staff, who have access to four separate Access database inventories located in R:\Archives\Access\@orcs02(Records Control 12400-13899)\13050-70 Databases\Medals, Numismatic Coins, Numismatic Paper and Token Inventories.

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General note

Accession numbers: 94-2609; 93-6189; 2017.35

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