Paper money highlights Fall Coin Expo auction

By Jesse Robitaille

Canadian paper money continued to show its vitality with the final instalment of the Covered Bridge Collection offered by New Brunswick’s Geoffrey Bell Auctions this September.

“The final instalment of the Covered Bridge Collection was successful but proved that the paper money market, although healthy, has become rather saturated with the offerings this year,” said auctioneer Brian Bell, who also owns The Coin Cabinet in Moncton, N.B.

“I think we’ve touched the year-highs on most product and expect a bit of softness over the next quarter, or until people have caught up with the purchasing they’ve made over the last six months. There were few surprises; most notes sold for fair market value, some a little more, some a little less.”

Among the top trophy note highlights was Lot 1328, a French 1935 Series $50 note (BC-14) in Paper Money Guaranty (PMG) Choice Uncirculated-64 EPQ (exceptional paper quality). Rarely offered in such a high grade, this example realized $18,500. (All prices listed do not include buyer’s premium.)

An 1885 $1 note issued by the Peoples Bank of New Brunswick (CH 585-14-02) was offered as Lot 1522. The finest-known example of the 15 notes known to exist, this lot realized $18,000.

Lot 1346 was a 1937 Series $1,000 banknote in PMG Choice Uncirculated-64 EPQ. Featuring the signature of Sir Wilfred Laurier and a low serial number of “A/K0000042,” this note was a “nice surprise” for auctioneers when it sold for $17,500.

A 1905 Sovereign Bank of Canada $10 note (CH 685-10-08) in PMG Fine-12 was offered as Lot 1543. With only two examples known to exist (and with one in an institutional collection), this “superb trophy note” realized $15,500.

A 1954 Series $1 replacement note (BC-37cA) in PMG Choice Uncirculated-63 EPQ was offered as Lot 1370. With a rare “V/V” prefix and a “V/V3000000” serial number, this scare million number note sold for $10,000.

“We are very pleased with the result,” added Bell.

A 1908 80-cent Newfoundland government cash note (NF-4h) in PMG Fine-12 was offered as Lot 1456. This example resided “for a decade or more” in a private Newfoundland coin and banknote collection in the U.S. This September, it realized $7,750.

Rounding out the paper money highlights was Lot 1111, a 1690 Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) cheque.

“It is not common to see a cheque over 327 years old,” said Bell. “It is certainly not common to see a cheque connected to the Hudson’s Bay Company of that age. And to think it has a Canadian connection.”

The cheque was written by HBC banker Stephen Evans, who was elected as the company’s governor in 1692. The note is endorsed by its guarantors, all shareholders in the HBC, and is payable to William Potter, who was the company’s accountant.

This centuries-old example realized $4,600.

COOPER COLLECTION

Bell said another area of interest was the final instalment of the Richard Cooper Collection.

“The finale of the Richard Cooper Collection garnered a lot of attention, mainly the post-Confederation lots at the beginning of the sale.”

A “very rare” 1973 Province of Nova Scotia $1.50 bronze token was offered as Lot 6. Measuring 23 mm, this uniface token issued for use on the Canso Causeway realized $675 after a pre-sale estimate of $200-$300.

Lot 9 was a collection of 57 Nova Scotia tokens from Halifax and Glace Bay that sold for $525 after a pre-sale estimate of $150-$200.

A collection of 141 Nova Scotia milk tokens from across the province was offered as Lot 12, which sold for $475 after a pre-sale estimate of $200-$300.

Lot 13 was a 75-piece collection of Nova Scotia tokens, including 33 casino tokens from Sydney and Halifax, that sold for $450.

Lot 18 was a 26-piece collection of Prince Edward Island tokens from Charlottetown and Alberton. They included 18 dairy tokens from the aforementioned towns; five trade dollars from New Glasgow; and two scarce Ewen McLeod five-cent tokens. They sold for $825 after a pre-sale estimate of $100-$150.

Another collection of Prince Edward Island tokens, this with 32 pieces, was offered as Lot 19. It realized $425 after a pre-sale estimate of $100-$150.

Lot 22 was a 71-piece collection of rare New Brunswick merchant tokens that greatly exceeded expectations, selling for $1,600 after a pre-sale estimate of only $200-$300.

Rounding out the large lot collections was Lot 25, a 58-piece collection of New Brunswick tokens from Saint John, Sussex, St. Stephen, Stickney and Woodstock. They sold for an astounding $2,600 after a pre-sale estimate of only $150-$200.

According to Bell, this portion of the sale combined “treasures” with more common material to “move the whole collection at reasonable prices rather than isolate individual tokens.”

“This required expertise that GBA has proven to provide time and time again, not only with the Cooper Collection but also with the Temple and O’Connor Collections,” said Bell.

“It’s an important part of the business that the Bells provide that other auction firms in the country struggle with. I’m certain Mr. Cooper was very pleased with the overall results.”

For more information about the recent sale, visit gbellauctions.com or auctions.gbellauctions.com/Toronto-Coin-Expo-Fall-Sale-2017_a30939?m=all.

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