1965 test token tops estimate

A 1965 copper-nickel test token nearly doubled its auction estimate this August during a sale by the New York-based Classical Numismatic Group (CNG).

The token’s obverse features the conjoined, crowned busts of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth designed by English sculptor Percy Metcalfe for a medal marking the monarch’s royal visit – the first to Canada – in 1939.

The reverse depicts three geese flying to the left alongside the year-date, country name and the words “TWENTY FIVE TOKENS.” Because of the token’s 24-millimetre, 5.21-gram size – similar to that year’s 25-cent coin – it may have been used to test that denomination with vending machines. At that time, Canada and many other countries decreased the silver content of their circulating coinage.

“The Mint conducted experiments on various alternative metals, including cupro-nickel,” James Haxby wrote in his 1986 book Striking Impressions. “But it was not until 1966, the year originally proposed for the transition, that a government committee was formed to decide on a new coinage alloy.”

As Lot 299 of CNG’s Keystone Auction #8, which closed on Aug. 23, the Uncirculated token brought $120 US (about $155 Cdn.) on an estimate of $75 US (about $100 Cdn.).

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