Specimen sets, scarce varieties, paper money highlight Premier Auction

By Jesse Robitaille

With many of Ontario’s COVID-19 restrictions still in place, Kitchener’s Colonial Acres is gearing up for its third virtual Premier Auction this April.

It will be Colonial’s seventh Premier Auction since 2018, about three years after the coin-dealing company entered the auction business. But since last spring, just as the pandemic was beginning to take hold, the firm has been forced to host all of its sales, including the twice-yearly Premier Auction and its regular monthly auctions, online.

“Consignments were more difficult this past year as we didn’t have the standard means of approaching people and discussing consignments in person, but over the years, we have acquired more people that have been consigning more and more to our Premier Auctions,” said auctioneer and Colonial co-owner Kirk Parsons.

The upcoming April 9-10 auction will offer 1,385 lots, topping the 1,295 lots offered last fall and nearly matching the 1,388 lots last spring, when the Premier Auction was held online only for the first time. While last spring’s auction was held in April, Colonial was accepting consignments at coin shows and its store before mid-March, when the cancellations and social restrictions began.

“We had one consignor provide us with some choice decimal coins that I feel will do very well,” said Parsons, who added he’s “very confident and optimistic” for the interest in the April sale. “There are some great 10-cent, 25-cent and 50-cent coins that are both better grades, and some better dates. As always, our paper money section is also strong again this year. We always strive to bring a broad spectrum of material that will attract all collectors and all budget levels.”

Many lots’ starting bids begin at 50 per cent of their Trends valuations “or very close to that,” Parsons added.


Among the top highlights are a pair of specimen sets, including one from 1908, when the British Royal Mint opened its Ottawa Branch, which later became the Royal Canadian Mint.

Lot 1271 offers Canada’s 1908 five-coin specimen set, struck in Ottawa, with its original presentation case. The coins – in one-, five-, 10-, 25- and 50-cent denominations – are all certified as either Specimen-65 or Specimen-64 by International Coin Certification Service (ICCS). The lot is expected to bring $4,850 with a starting bid of $3,250.

The following lot – 1272 – offers another “Ottawa Mint” specimen set, this one a six-piece set from 1950. The coins were taken from their original case and since certified and slabbed by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) as part of the Cornerstone Collection, which was sold in a fixed-price catalogue for more than $5 million altogether beginning in 2019.

The $1, 10-cent and five-cent coins are certified as Specimen-66, the 50-cent coin is certified as Specimen-65, the cent is certified as Specimen-65 Red Brown and the 25-cent coin is certified as Specimen-64.

The lot offered this April is expected to bring $5,000 with a starting bid of $3,575.

The set also sold for $5,000 as part of the Cornerstone Collection.

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