Auction review: Canada’s first gold coins highlight Colonial Acres Jan. 8 sale

Earlier this week, a trio of hand-selected gold coins struck in the early 1900s highlighted an estate sale hosted by Colonial Acres Coins.

The Kitchener, Ont.-based coin dealership and auction house hosted the 750-lot sale featuring estate collections; over-stocked items; gold and silver bullion; and paper money on Jan. 8.

The first highlight was Lot 14, a $10 gold coin struck in 1913 and then hand selected and issued by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2013. This “premium hand-selected” coin sold for $1,076 plus a buyer’s fee of $193.68 (for a total of $1,269.68).

Lot 15 was a 1914-dated “premium hand-selected” $10 coin also issued by the Mint in 2013. It crossed the block for $1,094 plus a buyer’s fee of $196.92 (for a total of $1,290.92).

Rounding out the trio of highlights was Lot 16, a 1913-dated “hand-selected” $10 gold coin, this issued by the Mint in 2012. It realized $900.01 plus a buyer’s fee of $162 (for a total of $1,062.01).

Lot 14 (shown above) crossed the block for $1,269.68. (Photo by CAC)

CANADA’S FIRST GOLD COINS

From 1912-14, the Royal Mint’s Canadian branch in Ottawa produced $5 and $10 gold coins with a purity of 90 per cent (as well as sovereigns for the British government with the now-famous “C” mint mark). Because there was little demand for these coins, they were kept out of circulation at the beginning of the First World War as the government accumulated gold reserves to finance the war effort.

The coins were stored at the Bank of Canada for more than 75 years as part of the federal government’s Exchange Fund Account. The non-Canadian gold was sold in the 1970s; however, in 2013, the Mint announced its 1912-14 $5 and $10 gold coins would be offered for sale to convert the proceeds into quality fixed-income securities. The remainder were melted. About 30,000 coins were retained in the same proportion as the Bank of Canada’s holdings.

“The 1912-14 $5 and $10 Canadian gold coins are at the source of the Royal Canadian Mint’s reputation as a world-class refiner and producer of gold coins and we are delighted that these pieces of our history are back in the spotlight after a nearly century-long absence,” said Ian Bennett, then-president and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint. “By creating this unique opportunity to purchase Canada’s first gold coins proudly displaying national emblems, the Mint is excited to share these important artifacts with Canadians and collectors worldwide with the help of the Bank of Canada and the Department of Finance.”

PREMIUM HAND SELECTED vs. HAND SELECTED

The Mint offered the coins in “premium hand-selected” sets of all six denominations produced from 1912-14 in addition to selling “hand-selected” single coins. The proceeds of this sale, less a fixed management fee, was returned to the Exchange Fund Account for the purchase of high-credit quality, marketable fixed-income securities in compliance with the fund’s mandate. According to the Mint, most of the gold for the coins came from the Klondike region in 1912 and from Ontario in previous years.

Rounding out the trio of gold highlights was Lot 16 (shown above), which brought $1,062.01.

A total of 18,950 “hand-selected” 1912-, 1913- and 1914-dated $10 coins were issued by the Mint for $1,000 each. Among these coins was Lot 16 of the Jan. 8 estate sale.

A total of 4,869 “premium hand-selected” 1913- and 1914-dated $10 gold coins were issued as singles by the Mint for $1,750 each. Lots 14 and 15 could have been among these coins; however, they also could have been issued in one of 140 six-coin sets also comprised of these “premium hand-selected” coins.

A total of 140 six-coin premium hand-selected sets, each of which included a $5 and $10 coin struck in 1912, 1913 and 1914, were also issued for $12,000 each.

All of the premium coins were hand chosen by Mint personnel for maximum eye-appeal and nearly pristine quality. Their lustre is described as exceptional and the quality of their strike as superb.

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