1921-dated 50-cent piece to highlight RCNA Auction

By Jesse Robitaille

A 1921-dated 50-cent coin in Specimen-64 condition is expected to bring upwards of $200,000 during the five-session sale held in conjunction with the upcoming convention of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA).

The centrepiece of the 2,285-lot sale, which will be hosted Aug. 8-13 by The Canadian Numismatic Company (TCNC), will be the aforementioned 50-cent piece, commonly known as the “King of Canadian Coins.”

“While it may be inaccurate to state that the opportunity to purchase a 1921 50-cent of this caliber is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the fact remains that hammer prices for these prize rarities do not remain static,” said auctioneer Marc Verret, referencing Toronto entrepreneurs Sid and Alicia Belzberg, who sold their 1921 50-cent piece in 2003 as part of the Belzberg Collection of Canadian Coinage.

The collection included more than 700 lots and realized nearly $3 million US.

“The Belzberg coin, for example, originally sold for $78,200 in 2003 but subsequently realized $218,500 in 2010 and $255,200 in 2015 for the self-same coin.”

Certified by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), the coin to be offered by TCNC this August will cross the block as Lot 1075. It’s described by auctioneers as having “intense eye-appeal” and being “almost free of marks.” Only a few specimen examples are known to exist, and auctioneers believe there are fewer than 75 pieces on the market in all grades. There is a starting bid of $100,000 and a pre-sale estimate of $150,000-$200,000.

TCNC previously sold a Very Good-graded example for $42,550 and a Mint State-65 example for $212,400, Verret added.


Comprised of nearly 20 collections altogether, the RCNA Auction will feature more than 2,000 Canadian decimal coins, tokens and banknotes certified by PCGS; International Coin Certification Service (ICCS); Paper Money Guaranty (PMG); Canadian Coin Certification Service (CCCS); Banknote Certification Service (BCS); and Numismatic Guaranty Corp. (NGC).

“Well over 1,000 certified decimal coins are included in the sale with the majority in Mint State, but there are many other scarce and rare coins in attractive circulated grades,” said Verret. “The emphasis is on Victoria, Edward and George V coinage, but numerous examples of George VI material and silver dollars are also included.”

Coinage highlights include Lot 1064, a 1909 50-cent piece in ICCS MS-64. Described by auctioneers as having “inviting deep sunset tones over full underlying lustre,” this example has a starting bid of $10,000 and a pre-sale estimate of $20,000-$25,000.


The sale will also feature the third and fourth parts of the Wildlife Museum Collection, which consists of “some of the most prestigious and important Canadian five-cent pieces and Bank of Canada notes in private hands today,” Verret said.

Among the top paper money highlights is Lot 396, a 1911 Weyburn Security Bank $20 note (CH-805-10-06) with a serial number reading “28926.” Described by auctioneers as being “Very Fine or better for grade,” this example has a starting bid of $20,000 and a pre-sale estimate of $30,000-$35,000.

Two 1935 Series banknotes issued by the Bank of Canada are also expected to bring upwards of $32,500.

The first, an English $25 note (BC-11) with a serial number reading “A009026” and a grade of PMG Choice Uncirculated-64, will be offered as Lot 93. It has a starting bid of $15,000 and a pre-sale estimate of $30,000-$32,500.

The second note, this a French $25 bill (BC-12) with a serial number reading “F002627,” will be offered as Lot 94. In CCCS Uncirculated-62, this example also has a starting bid of $15,000 and a pre-sale estimate of $30,000-$32,500.

Rounding out the paper money highlights is another 1935 Series note, this a $1,000 bill (BC-19) to be offered as Lot 207. With a serial number reading “A14838” and a grade of PCGS Uncirculated-64, this example is described by auctioneers as “bright and attractive.” It has a starting bid of $10,000 and a pre-sale estimate of $24,000-$25,000.

“In total, over 250 lots of scarce and rare paper money are included in the auction sale,” Verret added.


The Canadian token section includes more than 200 lots of Breton tokens and Leroux medals with a large proportion graded by ICCS and CCCS.

“A number of rarities are also included in this section along with historical medals,” said Verret, who added there will be more than 50 lots of world coinage; a “very nice” selection of Mint sets; gold coinage; and J.O.P. silver dollars.

Named after their producer Joseph Olivia Patenaude – a British Columbia businessman and promoter of Canadian silver mining – the silver dollars feature the now-famous “J.O.P.” counterstamp between the canoe and year-date on the reverse.

Among the J.O.P. highlights is Lot 397, a 1935 $1 J.O.P. counterstamp (Type 2) in CCCS Mint State-65. It has a starting bid of $2,500 and a pre-sale estimate of $4,500-$5,500.

Another J.O.P. counterstamp, this a 1945 example (Type 1) in ICCS Extremely Fine-40, will be offered as Lot 404. Described by auctioneers as “possibly the only known issue,” this example has a starting bid of $1,000 and a pre-sale estimate of $2,000-$4,000.

This year’s RCNA Convention will be held Aug. 7-11 at the Hilton Mississauga/Meadowvale on 6750 Mississauga Rd. Admission is free for RCNA members while daily admission is $6 for walk-ins. The bourse will be open for three days, including Aug. 9-10 from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Aug. 11 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The bourse will include about 65 dealer tables manned by about 40 different dealers.

For more information about the upcoming sale, visit auctions.canadiancoinsandpapermoney.com/auction/64/rcna-auction.

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