1889 La Banque Jacques Cartier $10 note to be offered

This 1889 $10 note may be the only example of its kind featuring two signatures. It has been graded PMG Very Fine 25.

A possibily unique note from La Banque Jacques Cartier will be offered for auction March 28. The sale, being conducted by The Canadian Numismatic Company (TCNC), is their first appearance at Nuphilex, being held March 27 to 29 at the Complexe EVO, 420 Sherbrooke West, Montreal. The note is believed to be the only one of that year and series issued by the bank, which failed in 1889, before being reorganized a year later. The 1889 $10 note has been graded PMG Very Fine 25. Marc Verret, of TCNC, said it is the only example he knows of which has two signatures, and was actually issued to the public. Continue reading →

Coins come and go, but the people make the memories

After nearly 25 years as editor of Canadian Coin News, this is my last column. Not bad for a job that I originally figured would be fun for a year, maybe two, before going back to regular journalism. I still find it hard to believe that it was 1990 when I first sat down and wrote my first coin articles. Not the very first, but one of them, was about the possibility of the one-cent coin being withdrawn. It took a while, but I finally saw that happen. Among my other early stories were the challenges involved in spending non-circulating legal tender, the proliferation of new issues, worries about the lack of new collectors, and various debates on third-party grading. Some things, it seems, never change. Yet the numismatic world of today is very different than it was back then. Continue reading →

More sizzle than steak in new law

The new Collectible Coin Protection Act, signed into law just before Christmas, promises to give the numismatic community in the United States more powers to fight counterfeit coins and fake third-party holders. Frankly, I’m not that impressed. The new law does back up the already existing Hobby Protection Act, and it is hard to speak against any new law, but if we take a peek under the hood we find little that will change the world. Continue reading →

Convention planning, Big Nickel anniversary marked summer of ’14

The Big Nickel turned 50 in 2014.

The summer saw collectors on both sides of the border preparing for their annual conventions. The Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) and the American Numismatic Association (ANA) announced that they had joined forces to promote their two events, with a hands across the border theme. With the two conventions being held just a week apart, and relatively close together, the collaboration saw the organizations share the duties of honorary co-chair, and participate in each other’s events. Continue reading →

Protect yourself with good information

While generalizations can be both risky and inaccurate, I would say this has been a good year in numismatics. The bullion market has remained a driving factor, while that market has cooled down a bit, the bottom hasn’t fallen out, and trading remains brisk. The lower values means that the RCM probably won’t have the sort of year it had in 2013, but it will still post a profit that is quite large. In fact, the numbers we look at now make it hard to believe that in the 1990s the corporation’s goal was to manage a profit of $10 million. Much of the RCM’s vitality comes from a powerful market for collector and gift coins, which the RCM calls numismatic to distinguish them from circulating coins. Continue reading →

Record sales, major discoveries kick off 2014

Alice Munro recited a passage from The View from Castle Rock at the Royal Canadian Mint’s launch of a silver collector coin celebrating her Nobel Prize in literature.

Silver sales, hoards, discoveries, and record sales were the tale of the first half of 2014. A year which also saw the Royal Canadian Mint continue its meteoric rise to a multi-billion dollar business. Silver prices started the year at $19.71 an ounce, about 36 per cent lower than the start of 2013. Even with lower prices, the market was strong, largely fuelled by the speculation that always surrounds silver. Bullion continued strong throughout the first part of the year. Bullion sales, combined with robust demand for collector coins, saw the Mint post higher revenue and profits than in 2013. Continue reading →

Economic volatility keeps Mint on its toes

very once in a while, there is talk of selling off the Mint, since the Crown corporation has become pretty good at turning a profit. The talk started back in the mid-’90s, shortly after the federal government sold off the Canadian National Railway Company. The last time the idea was looked at seriously, it was determined that the Mint was better off being government-owned. The logic was, and it made a lot of sense, that much of the Crown corporation’s business is a direct or indirect result of being owned by the Government of Canada. Being a national mint gives the RCM sustainability, and many foreign governments would prefer to deal with a mint that answers ultimately to a federal cabinet minister than one driven purely by the winds of profit. Continue reading →

Caribou took decades to make it to circulation

The caribou circulating coin has inspired two commemorative issues.

The Caribou 25-cent piece is one of the iconic coins of the Canadian decimal series, having graced that denomination, with few exceptions, since the great coin redesign of 1937. However it has a history going back much longer, to the earliest days of the Royal Canadian Mint. In 1910, just two years after the Mint, then classed as the Ottawa Branch of the Royal Mint, started operating, a new Currency Act was passed by Parliament. That law saw a coming of age of the RCM, as it called for the striking of gold coins, a silver dollar as well as the more common dates already being produced. The dollar coin had been kicked around as an idea for some time, and preparations were begun that year for a striking of 1911 silver dollars. Eventually, the decision was scrapped and only a few patterns were produced. Only three are known to collectors today, one silver and one lead pattern are in the National Currency Collection, and a single silver pattern, which is in the hands of a private collector. Continue reading →

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