‘Superb’ 1838 Queen Victoria coronation medal captivates Torex bidders

Realizations do not include buyer’s premium.

By Jesse Robitaille

A 181-year-old Queen Victoria coronation medal highlighted the recent Torex Auction hosted in conjunction with the long-running show in Toronto.

Offered by The Canadian Numismatic Company (TCNC) as Lot 79, the 1838 gold medal was certified as Mint State-62 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. It realized $16,100, more than doubling its pre-sale estimate of $8,000.

Described by auctioneers as “a superb and incredibly beautiful high-relief example,” the medal was designed by Italian engraver Benedetto Pistrucci for the coronation of Queen Victoria on June 28, 1838.

“The ceremony took five hours and suffered from a lack of rehearsal,” reads an article published by Westminster Abbey, which has been Britain’s coronation church since 1066. “No one except the Queen and Lord John Thynne (Sub-Dean of Westminster acting for the Dean), knew what should be happening. The coronation ring was painfully forced on to her wrong finger and Lord Rolle, an elderly peer, fell down the steps while making his homage to the Queen. A confused bishop wrongly told her the ceremony was over and she then had to come back to her seat to finish the service.”

Despite these mishaps, in one of her many journals, Victoria wrote of the events as being “the proudest of my life.”

The obverse of the 1838 coronation medal depicts a draped bust of Victoria wearing a bandeau while the reverse depicts an enthroned Victoria receiving her crown from Britannia, Hibernia and Scotia.


Other auction highlights, these among the paper money offerings, included two “new finds” that sold for “well above their set estimates,” auctioneer Eric Paquet said.

The first example was an 1860 Commercial Bank of Canada $2 note (Charlton 155-12-20-04) offered as Lot 149. It was certified as Very Fine-20 by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), which designated the note as “CH-155-12-04P”; however, it’s “definitely not a Proof note,” Paquet said, adding it “should be considered as possibly unique and of the highest rarity.”

It realized $17,500, more than doubling its high pre-sale estimate of $7,500.

The second new find – described by auctioneers as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” – was an 1836 Bank of Montreal $1 note (Charlton 505-14-04-10) in PCGS Very Fine-25.

The 2019 Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Bank Notes lists no examples outside of institutional collections, and the Canadian Paper Money Society registry lists no known circulated examples, Paquet said.

“This example should be considered as a new find, possibly unique and of the highest rarity,” he added, of Lot 157.

From the Plate D printing and with a serial number reading “9560,” this example realized $10,350, more than doubling its low estimate of $4,500.


Several $1,000 notes brought “extremely strong prices,” Paquet said, with Lot 268 hammering down for nearly $30,000.

From the Bank of Canada’s 1935 Series, a $1,000 (BC-19) with a serial number reading “A15847” was offered in Paper Money Guaranty Gem Uncirculated-66 EPQ (exceptional paper quality).

Described by auctioneers as “simply a splendid example, one of unforgettable quality and a highlight of this sale,” this example brought $29,325, topping its low pre-sale estimate of $25,000.

Another $1,000 note (BC-44b), this from the Bank of Canada’s 1954 Series, was offered in PCGS Gem Uncirculated-66 PPQ (premium paper quality) as Lot 365.

“This note bears the scarce signatures of Beattie-Rasminski,” said Paquet, who added this example was “the best example ever handled by us.”

With a serial number reading “A/K0095373,” this lot brought $13,800, topping its high estimate of $12,500.

Rounding out the paper money highlights was Lot 413, an experimental $5 note (BC-62A) produced by the Bank of Canada for internal use only. Inadvertently released in March 2002 during the launch of the Canadian Journey Series’ $5 note, this example has since been held in a private collection.

“The note comes accompanied with accurate documentation on how the note came to be in private hands as well as a signed document from the Bank of Canada confirming its existence and its error in issuing the note itself during the event,” said Paquet, who added this is the only privately owned example.

With a serial number reading “JHS2912607,” this lot sold for $17,250, topping its low estimate of $15,000.


“In coins, we had some pleasing and refreshing surprises,” said Paquet.

Among the top highlights was Lot 799, a 1969 10-cent “large date” variety in PCGS About Uncirculated-58. Described by auctioneers as being “among the best examples known,” this elusive variety brought $21,850.

An 1892-dated 50-cent “Obverse 4” variety in International Coin Certification Service (ICCS) Mint State-64 was also offered as Lot 919.

The highest-graded example from ICCS, this lot realized $45,000.

Rounding out the highlights was Lot 1031, a 1967 $1 “upset die” variety in ICCS Mint State-66.

One of only seven certified examples, it is “without a doubt the best one seen to date,” Paquet said.

It realized $14,375.

The Feb. 22-27 sale kicked off TCNC’s 2019 auction season “with a bang,” Paquet said. Altogether, more than 2,600 lots were offered across five sessions.

“A superb variety of Canadian and world banknotes, coins, tokens and more were presented and offered to over 500 registered bidders,” he added.

“As always, we must thank the numismatic community, consigners and participants in making this a successful venue,” Paquet said.

The auction house’s next major sales include the summer Torex Auction in June and the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association Auction in Calgary this July.

For more information about TCNC, visit canadiancoinsandpapermoney.com.

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