More variety at Coin Expo sale with two auctioneers

By Jesse Robitaille

For the first time, the Toronto Coin Expo Fall Sale will feature an auction partnership offering bidders an increased scope of numismatic material over two days.

Alliance Coin & Banknote, based in Almonte, Ont., will conduct the sale’s first session on Sept. 30. Geoffrey Bell Auctions (GBA), based in Moncton, N.B., will handle the second session on Oct. 1. Both online auction sessions begin at 6 p.m. (ET), and pre-bidding opened via iCollector on Sept. 13.

“This partnership offers more variety for the collector,” said Coin Expo owner and organizer Jared Stapleton, who also owns Metro Coin & Banknote in Toronto’s west end. “That’s why we did it. Alliance is known for having eclectic items – some fairly unique stuff – and the Bells are strong, steady and true in having a great auction every time, with something for everyone. No one is going away; we’re just offering more for the collector.”

In the opening session, one of the lots generating early interest is the first 1996 “beaded toonie” to go to auction. One of only a handful of known examples, the $2 circulation coin features a full ring of beads around the rim of both the obverse and reverse.

Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), whose population report records only four beaded toonies, certified the example on offer this fall as About Uncirculated-55. While PCGS deems the coin a trial strike, some collectors believe it’s a variety.

“I first had that coin in my hands about 15 years ago,” said Alliance owner and auctioneer Sean Isaacs, “and that it has now come back to us after all these years as a consignment is just great.”

It’s expected to bring $6,000-$8,000.

In the second session, the top GBA highlights come from the collection of late numismatist Harold Don Allen, who died in July 2020. One of the Allen Collection offerings, a group lot of 1954 “Devil’s Face” replacement notes, “is the finest lot that we’ve handled,” according to GBA owner and auctioneer Brian Bell.

“These notes have pristine paper quality with full embossing and great colour,” Bell added, calling the grouping “a top-tier investment opportunity.”

The lot includes:

  • a 1954 $1 replacement note (BC-29bA) certified as Gem New-66 PPQ (premium paper quality) by Legacy Currency Grading (LCG) with a serial number reading “*A/A0016721” and an estimate of $7,000-$7,500;
  • a 1954 $2 replacement note (BC-30bA), described by Bell as “superb rare trophy note, rarely seen,” certified as Very Choice New-64 PPQ by LCG with a serial number reading “*A/B0009082” and an estimate of $8,000-$8,200;
  • a 1954 $5 replacement note (BC-31bA), described by Bell as “a trophy note that is rarely seen in uncirculated condition,” certified as Gem New-65 PPQ by LCG with a serial number reading “*A/C0004344” and an estimate of $20,000-$23,000; and
  • a 1954 $10 replacement note (BC-32aA) certified as Choice New-63 PPQ by LCG with a serial number “0000909” and an estimate of $10,000-$12,000.


The second session is filled with Canadian banknotes from the Allen Collection, which also offers the iconic J. Douglas Ferguson Award medal Allen received in 2003.

“We’re very strong in paper money this time around and anticipate prices to match,” said Bell.

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