‘Triple variety’ error note brings $21K at Torex

By Jesse Robitaille

Prices include buyer’s premium.

Described as “exceptionally rare and possibly one of a kind,” a 1972 $5 “triple variety” error note from the Scenes of Canada series hammered down for more than $20,000 at auction this October.

Offered as Lot 305 of the Torex Auction, the replacement note (BC-48bA) featured a cut-off size as well as a high-range serial number.

“All the known high-range notes are rare, but we have never seen one with an error,” said auctioneer Eric Paquet, of The Canadian Numismatic Company (TCNC). “The very process of printing a third error makes this virtually impossible since the high-range replacement notes, which end in ‘000,’ ‘499,’ ‘500’ and ‘999,’ are replacing defective/error notes and are specially hand cut.”

For the high-range notes, the Canadian Paper Money Society population report includes only three examples; however, there are no errors listed for these high-range notes, Paquet added.

“Also, there are no errors among the other high-range notes for all denominations and prefixes in the multi-coloured series. TCNC has never seen one either in the 1954 or 1967 series. We are very confident in saying that this note is possibly the only known example.”

The realization of $21,240 was “impressive to say the least,” Paquet added.


The recent sale – one of three Torex Auctions held each year – took place Oct. 26, 27 and 29, and auctioneers said the market “proved to be active yet unpredictable with numerous surprises that outdid our expectations.”

The auctions were held during Canada’s longest running coin show, Torex, which featured  “Canada’s finest” numismatic dealers from across Canada. The two-day coin show, held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Toronto, is operated by Brian Smith.

“Another October Torex Auction has come and gone, and now we face the long cold winter months ahead,” said auctioneer Eric Paquet. “But before the cold gets here, we managed to get a bit of warmth through three interesting and very busy auction sessions.”

Other paper money highlights include Lot 264, a 1935 Series $50 note (BC-14) in Paper Money Guaranty (PMG) Choice Uncirculated-64 EPQ (exceptional paper quality). Described as “a lovely example with great colours” and “very rare in this condition,” this lot realized $40,250.

The previous lot offered another 1935 Series note, this a $25 denomination (BC-11) in PMG Gem Uncirculated-65 EPQ. This “excessively rare and desirable Gem example” brought $28,750.


Moving on to coinage, highlights include the solo highest-graded 1884 five-cent “Far Blunt 4” variety, which brought $47,200 as Lot 623. The 134-year-old coin was certified by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) as Mint State-65 and described by auctioneers as “excessively rare in Mint State condition.”

Another “excessively scarce and sought after” piece – a 1921 five-cent coin in International Coin Certification Service (ICCS) Mint State-64 – was described by auctioneers as being a “superior, fully lustrous white example.” It realized $34,810 as Lot 669.

An 1886-dated 10-cent “Large 6, Pointed 6” variety in PCGS Mint State-64 was also offered as Lot 743. Described as a “superior example with great lustre and fields,” it brought $21,850.

Another 1886 coin, this a 25-cent “Obverse 5” variety, was offered as Lot 810. Certified by ICCS as Mint State-65 and seldom seen above Extremely Fine condition, this example brought $14,375, which “demonstrates the interest and market potential for all Canadian numismatic rarities,” Paquet said.

The third session “brought some great results,” he added.

A 1965 “Small Beads, Pointed 5” cent in ICCS Mint State-66 Red sold for $890, almost four times its pre-sale estimate, as Lot 1229D.

“The Canadian market remains strong and very active,” Paquet said. “As per usual, Internet activity and bidding was overwhelming, and with the numerous mail bids and floors bids all competing for the available lots, it made for an entertaining and enjoyable sale. None of this is possible without the fantastic consignments offered through the year, and we take great pleasure in thanking all those who have entrusted us with their collections,” said Paquet. “Thanks to all the staff, and great appreciation to the Torex show for permitting us to run these great auctions.”

For more information, visit canadiancoinsandpapermoney.com.

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