Complete 1937 Series specimen set brings $15K

By Jesse Robitaille

All realizations include buyer’s premium.

Staying in line with recent market trends, paper money highlighted the Toronto Coin Expo Fall Sale hosted by Geoffrey Bell Auctions in September.

Among the sale’s frontrunners was a complete specimen set of the Bank of Canada’s 1937 Series, including each denomination from $1 to $1,000. Described by auctioneers as being in About Uncirculated/Uncirculated condition, the eight-piece set brought $15,000 as Lot 1142 of the sale, which also featured the largest offering of ascending and descending ladders as well as solid and million serial number notes ever assembled.

“For anyone following banknote trends, it’s likely no surprise some of the exquisite fancy serial numbered notes did extremely well,” said auctioneer Brian Bell, of the New Brunswick-based auction house. “This is a part of paper money collecting that has really come into itself in recent years and hasn’t shown any side of letting up.”

A 1954 Series $1 modified note (BC-37b) with a serial number reading “N/N10000000” realized $8,400 – double its pre-sale estimate – as Lot 1076 of the 1,486-lot sale held Sept. 27-28.

Similarly, Lot 1087 was a 1954 Series $5 modified “10-million-numbered” note (BC-39a) that brought $7,500 after a pre-sale estimate of between $3,000 and $4,000.

“Most of the single-digit radars also finished above their estimates,” added Bell.

Other paper money highlights include a 1919 Dominion of Canada $5 note (DC-21c) offered as Lot 1363. In Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) Gem New-66 PPQ (premium paper quality), this note brought $11,700.

“Hard-to-find Dominion of Canada banknotes also continue to realize nice prices,” said Bell, referencing one note that sold for “well over” its catalogue value.

Lot 1344, an 1878 $2 note (DC-9a), brought $6,600 after a pre-sale estimate of $5,000-$6,500.


Among the “elite offering” of tokens was a rare “Wood 28” clipped Blacksmith token offered as Lot 444. Bringing $3,720, this piece hammered down for more than $1,000 above its pre-sale estimate of $1,500-$2,000.

“Scarce and rare tokens have also continued to get results,” said Bell, who added a “seldom seen Robert Cunningham and Son private fur trade token also exceeded the auctioneer’s expectations.”

Offered as Lot 425, the 23-millimetre brass Cunningham and Son token brought $1,050 after a pre-sale estimate of $700-$750.

“History continued to prove popular,” Bell said, adding a “beautiful Fenian Raid medal” also exceeded expectations.

Offered as Lot 610, the Canada General Service Medal was awarded by the Canadian government to both imperial and Canadian forces for duties related to the Fenian raids between 1866 and 1871. The medal was not issued until 1899, when nearly 17,000 medals – including 15,300 to members of Canadian units – were awarded. The obverse of the medal bears the head of Queen Victoria with the legend “VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX” while the reverse depicts the Canadian Red Ensign surrounded by a wreath of maple leaves with the word “CANADA” above.

Awarded to Lieutenant William Warren Lynch, of the 52nd Battalion (and later Honourable Judge Lynch), the example offered in Toronto brought $1,080 against a pre-sale estimate of $500-$600.


“Canadian decimal, sometimes the weaker part of numismatics in recent years, did quite well,” said Bell. “High-grade key-date pieces in nearly every denomination delivered.”

Some examples include a 1947 “Pointed 7” silver dollar with dot and double “HP” brought $1,440 as Lot 378 against a pre-sale estimate of $1,000-$1,100.

A 1904-dated 50-cent piece in International Coin Certification Service (ICCS) Extremely Fine-40 brought $900 as Lot 343 after a pre-sale estimate of $500-$600.

An 1858 cent in ICCS Mint State-62 Red and Brown brought $960 as Lot 189 after a pre-sale estimate of $800-$900.

“Of course, we need to note how desired JOP silver dollars remain with a 1935 easily surpassing its estimate,” added Bell, referencing Lot 363, a “Type III” J.O.P. counterstamp that brought $1,680 after a pre-sale estimate of $800-$1,000.

“Many lots exceeded their pre-sale estimates,” Bell said, adding “it’s worth taking a closer look at those that did to see if those examples are providing an indication of how our hobby is performing, perhaps even foreshadowing growth areas. The sale was expertly crafted to provide something of quality for every genre of collecting, with some areas outshining others.”

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