Mint unleashes Bank of Canada gold coin holdings

The final gold coins in the Bank of Canada’s reserves are being put up for sale. The Royal Canadian Mint has been consigned what it refers to as “a rare collection of Canada’s first gold coins, produced by the Mint from 1912 to 1914.” The coins take the form of almost a quarter-million Canadian $5 and $10 gold coins with 1912, 1913 and 1914 dates. They have been stored at the Bank of Canada for more than 75 years after becoming part of the Government of Canada’s Exchange Fund Account. The non-Canadian gold had been disposed of in the 1970s. The Mint announced that the highest quality of these $5 and $10 gold coins are now being offered for sale to convert the proceeds into quality fixed-income securities. The remainder are to be melted. Continue reading →

Melt softens gold purge’s impact on coin series

However, for the most part, the collecting hobby agreed that there were thousands of gold coins sitting around waiting to be sold. The concern was always what would happen if these ever entered the market. Now using the Royal Canadian Mint makes sense; it is a Crown corporation, so there is no way there can be any sort of preferential treatment given to any company. What’s more, the profits, either through retained earnings or dividends, remain in the public pocket. The other thing that makes sense is that the vast majority of these coins, some 90 per cent, are going to be melted. As one collector remarked, it did feel a bit like burning books, but try to imagine the chaos that would ensue if nearly a quarter-million gold coins were poured into the Canadian market, even if it was done over a period of several months. Continue reading →

Hobby can benefit from penny’s doom

The impending removal of the 1-cent coin from circulation, while inevitable, is still lamentable for coin collectors. For the first time in living memory, an entire coin denomination will cease to exist. It may be a bit of a stretch to compare this with the introduction of decimal currency of the 1850s, but in the more than 150 years since decimal coins became legal tender, there has always been a 1-cent coin. I remember assembling date sets of 1-cent coins out of the family penny hoard. The collection was only worth face value, but it was fun and may in some way contribute to where I am now. It is a memory I am sure most of my readers share. But some of the talk surrounding the coin is just plain foolishness. Continue reading →

Fiji unveils made-in-Canada circulating coinage

The Reserve Bank of Fiji has rolled out the island nation’s newest coins, all made in Canada. The new coins, in values of 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents as well as $1 and $2, are made using the Royal Canadian Mint’s plating process. The coins, for the most part, feature local flora and fauna. The $2 coin replaces the $2 bank-note. The Government of Fiji approved eliminating the note in favour of the coin in 2011. That year it also approved the new coin designs, which are the first Fijian coins to not feature an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. Continue reading →

Mint goes the distance for Arctic expedition centenary

The expedition left Canada’s west coast in August 1913 and quickly encountered trouble. The flagship, Karluk, under the famous Capt. Robert Bartlett, became trapped in ice. The ship was carried west in Siberian waters and eventually crushed with the loss of 11 lives. The survivors trekked over ice to Wrangel Island, a distance of 130 kilometres. Bartlett then travelled hundreds of kilometres across the ice to the Siberian mainland and then returned to Alaska to organize a rescue mission. It was September, 1914 before they were eventually reached. Continue reading →

A tale of two monetary systems

By the end of this year, all of our notes will be printed on polymer, and “paper” money will be fast vanishing, the 1-cent coin will be gone, and virtually all of our coins will be less than 15 years old. I can’t think of a time since the days of Queen Victoria when our physical money underwent such a dramatic change. This is bigger than the switch from the large cent, bigger than the introduction of the loonie and toonie, and even bigger than the switch away from silver to base metal. This could be considered an entire recreation of this country’s currency, something that hasn’t happened since before Canada was a nation. Continue reading →

Circulating penny rides off into the sunset

As I write this piece, the humble 1-cent coin sits silently on death row. By the time you read this, the Royal Canadian Mint and the coin-distribution system will no longer be shipping the coin. Not only that, but they will start recalling them, and business will be expected to round transactions off to the nearest five cents. This change, of course, will only affect cash transactions. All other forms of payment, from cheques to debit and credit cards, will still be accounted to the exact amount. Continue reading →

U.S. Flowing Hair silver dollar tops $10 million

“To be a part of this historical occasion is nothing short of amazing,” said Chris Napolitano, president of Stack’s Bowers Galleries. “Collectors competed with great fervour and energy, resulting in outstanding overall prices realized. The price of the gem 1794 dollar went up and up into the millions, with everyone in the audience on the edge of their seats until at last there was just one bidder remaining. At $10,016,875, a world-record price for any coin had been set. The previous record was $7,590,020 for a 1933 Double Eagle, set in 2002. Continue reading →

Canada’s cent slinks away into the annals of history

It seems that almost nobody had any strong objections. There was no public outcry, no desperate last-minute effort to keep the former workhorse of Canadian coins, and I have not even heard a single complaint at any of the stores where I have transacted business since Feb. 4. It seems that we collectors, who mostly value the coin as a collectible, or as a memento of our early days in the hobby, are the only ones who even seemed to mourn its passing. To me, this means one of two things: either Canadians are smart people, who knew the coin has long since lost its usefulness; or we are sheep who just accept whatever decisions are passed down from Parliament Hill. I prefer to think the former. Continue reading →

1936 dot cent to make rare auction appearance

Heritage Auctions is selling an example of the rare 1936 dot Canadian cent, this one owned by the founder of Canadian Coin News, Chet Krause. The coin, graded PCGS MS-63 Red, was purchased by Krause in 2004 for $207,000 U.S. at Heritage’s 2004 New York International Numismatic Convention sale. Heritage spokesman Noah Fleisher told Canadian Coin News that the coin is expected to sell for between $200,000 and $300,000 when it goes on the block in April. The coin has a remarkable history. At one time it was owned by famed collector John Jay Pittman. It was stolen from the Pittman home in 1964 and later returned (with scratches in the right obverse field) in an envelope with other coins. Pittman managed to own all three known 1936 dot cents all at once. Today all three coins remain in the hands of private collectors. Continue reading →

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