By Jesse Robitaille
A Canadian coin auction also featuring U.S. coins is offering ‘fresh material’ that collectors south of the border are showing a lot of interest in.
“I’ve been doing this for 40 years, and nothing comes close,” said Charles “Chuck” Moore, president of Moore Numismatic Auctions and Fellow of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association.
Moore, who attended last month’s Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Convention, said a Canadian auction has never featured so many U.S. coins.
“We went to the FUN Convention and brought about 100 catalogues with U.S. material in it,” he said. “We ran out in 2 days. Usually we’d expect about a dozen or two dozen bidders, but for this, we could get 100 to 200 U.S. bidders.”
Session One includes almost 200 lots of “well over 1,000” U.S. coins and tokens from the Landon collection, which has been “locked away from the collecting public for 100 years” with conditions ranging from culls to Gem MS-67. The finest examples have been graded by PCGS.
He said the Landon collection is “probably the most significant collection of U.S. material to ever surface in Canada. Dealers and collectors often talk about fresh material — coins that haven’t been on the market for very long — and these have never been available.”
Landon, who was a prodigious collector of Canadian and U.S. numismatic materials and an early member of the American Numismatic Association, died in 1916. His collection was passed down through his family before being bequeathed to the Church of the Advent and later consigned to Moore Numismatic Auctions for public sale.
Landon was a true numismatist who specifically enjoyed copper coins and often purchased large quantities in the year of issue, Moore said.
“There was a large crossover at the turn of the century, when many, many Canadians collected U.S. coins and vice versa,” he said. “Several of the American Numismatic Association presidents were Canadian, including G. F. Landon. The real numismatists who studied it were on both sides of the border.”
Moore said the U.S. pieces drawing the most attention are Landon’s large cents.
“There are well over 1,500 U.S. large cents — many of them with near-full red lustre, and that’s very unusual,” he said, as most copper coins eventually turn brown due to oxidation. But these coins haven’t tarnished, he said, as they’ve been stored specifically to protect against air and damage.
While this quantity and quality of U.S. coins has never been seen before, Moore said the Canadian material is also incredible.
“The hordes of Canadian coins are very unusual, going back to the Victorian era,” he said. “Occasionally, 20 pieces would show up of a penny dated 1901, but in this case, there are probably 1,500 Canadian Victorian-era pennies in Mint-State condition,” he said.
“It almost doubles the known population of many of these issues.”
The Canadian Legacy Sale II, presented by Canadian Coin & Currency and Moore Numismatic Auctions, starts tomorrow in Toronto Hilton Hotel’s Osgoode Room, where more than 3,200 lots and $6 million in coins, tokens, medals and banknotes will be auctioned.
The four-day auction represents what the two firms are describing as ” a colossal selection of quality coins, tokens and banknotes from three landmark collections, as well as numerous other superb consignments”.
The sale runs with live and online bidding starting each day at 5:30 p.m. Lot previews begin today at 11 a.m. (but 10 a.m. every other day) and run each day until 5 p.m.
SESSION ONE (Feb. 11)
Session One starts with a small group of Dominion of Canada banknotes and is not to be overlooked as it contains several premium pieces, including an 1897 $1 DC-12, BCS AU-50. An offering of more than 200 lots of Canadian tokens follows, including an E.A. Cardinal Numismatic token — one of only 11 struck — in Uncirculated condition.
The first session’s main course and the topic of many conversations is the Canadian coinage, particularly the selection making up the estate of George F. Landon, a Winnipeg carpenter and collector who, in the late-19th and early-20th century, amassed an astonishing collection of high quality Canadian coins and tokens as well as a significant quantity of U.S. coins., including a rareLiberty Seated 25-cents 1870-CC. After his death in 1916, this collection was handed down through Landon’s family before being bequeathed to the Church of the Advent by his grandson.
It would seem Landon had a great affinity for cents, and with the benefit of having brand new coins available to him at the time of issue, he was able to select and set aside coins of unparalleled beauty — and in sizable quantities. The centrepiece of the Landon collection is this piece in the 10 cents section: a staggering 1893 round top (one of only two graded by ICCS as MS-64).
SESSION TWO (Feb. 12)
Session Two of the sale presents the Victoria North Collection, a handpicked and near-complete assemblage of ultra high-grade Canadian coins as well as hundreds of ancient and world coins sharing the same dazzling eye-appeal.
Compiled over the past 20 years by a prominent Canadian businessman, the collection is one of the most significant in recent memory. When selecting these coins, the collector maintained a stringent set of standards, passing over inferior pieces in pursuit of perfection. Acceptance into this collection meant a coin wasn’t just one of the finest graded examples — it had to be well struck, entirely problem-free and, most importantly, it needed superb eye-appeal. This labourious process resulted in a consistently beautiful and breathtaking collection.
The centrepiece of the Victoria North Collection is the stunning Gem Uncirculated-65 1921 50 cent, formerly of the collection of John J. Pittman and one of the finest examples known to exist. The estimated value of this phenomenal coin is $175,000 (with bidding expected to start at $120,000).
Although auctioneer and Canadian Coin & Currency president Steven Bromberg sourced some of the Victoria North coins himself over the past two decades, seeing the entire collection together for the first time was an experience beyond his expectations.
Bromberg said after nearly three decades in the coin business, it’s “unusual for my jaw to drop in awe when viewing a collection. While the rarities are amazing, it is the consistent dazzling quality and eye-appeal of the collection that takes your breath away.”
SESSION THREE (Feb. 13)
Session Three offers even more selection, much of which was absent from the first two sessions. Tokens are in good supply with a rare and interesting Weir & Larminie encased postage token(Breton -568), a MS-62 Magdalen Island token (Breton-520) and a nice array of world coins and U.S. gold.
Silver dollars are presented in rare form, with roll-quantities of King George V coins in Gem Uncirculated condition offered up in lots from five to 20 pieces each. A stunnng Specimen 1947 Maple Leaf dollar (PCGS SP-67) is shortly followed up by the solo finest example of the 1951 Arnprior in PCGS MS-66.
Error coins and specimen sets round out the third session, including a stupefying 1992 $15 flip strike error that incorporated the designs of two different coins.
SESSION FOUR (Feb. 14)
The fourth and final session of the sale is comprised strictly of paper money. At the outset is an intriguing 1795 $1,000 U.S. treasury certificate, followed by Canadian scrip and municipal issues, including a group of exactly 400 Alberta Prosperity Certificates.
A complete 1937 specimen set in Choice Uncirculated condition highlights the more-than-150 lots of Bank of Canada issues, leading into the final offering of chartered bank notes, which also includes the second instalment of the Ron Greene Collection, the first portion of which set records at last year’s Canadian Legacy Sale I.