February Torex Auction brings more than $1M

By Jesse Robitaille

All realizations include buyer’s premium.

Sales at the latest Torex Auction surpassed the $1 million mark according to auctioneers with The Canadian Numismatic Company (TCNC), which offered 1,677 lots across four sessions in late February.

The sale was deemed “yet another success” by auctioneer Marc Verret, of the Québec-based auction house.

“It was a great way for us to start off the 2020 public auction season as the attendance and overall results were more than satisfying to both the auctioneer and the consignors in question,” he added. “With a tremendous variety of material up for sale, enthusiasm was at a high.”

A 1900 Dominion of Canada 25-cent note brought $3,818 as Lot 129 of the recent sale by The Canadian Numismatic Company. It was graded Gem Uncirculated-65 PPQ (premium paper quality) by Legacy Currency Grading (LCG).

Offering Lots 386-835, the sale’s second session paired Canadian decimal with colonial tokens and saw strong bidding, according to Verret.

“Session two was definitely highlighted by a particular consignment of early Victorian and Edward coins that had been purchased and put away for the better part of 30 years. An absolutely fresh array of coins with absolute stunning eye-appeal took the sale to another level with intense floor, Internet and phone bidding.”

Several lots exceeded their pre-sale estimates, and one – a 1951 cent – did so by more than six times.

The George VI penny certified as Superb Gem Mint State-66 Red by International Coin Certification Service (ICCS) crossed the block as Lot 518, bringing $3,867 to top its high estimate of $600.

An 1859 one-cent ‘Narrow Low 9’ variety sold for $3,629 as Lot 487. It was a Gem Mint State-65 Red by ICCS.

The 69-year-old coin had a mintage of 80,430,379, but the example offered this February is the single top-graded 1951 cent, according to Verret.

Paper money also saw spirited bidding, with a 1900 Dominion of Canada 25-cent note (DC-15b) more than doubling its high estimate of $1,500. Offered as Lot 129, the note sold for $3,818.75. It was graded Gem Uncirculated-65 PPQ (premium paper quality) by Legacy Currency Grading (LCG).

Described by Verret as “scarce this nice,” the note depicts the British allegory Britannia seated with a shield and trident as a ship sails in the background. It’s signed by then deputy minister of finance T.C. Boville.

An 1823 British £2 gold coin graded Extra Fine-40 by ICCS sold for $2,856 as Lot 392.

Moving back to coinage, an 1859 one-cent “Narrow Low 9” variety crossed the block as Lot 487. Described by Verret as a “pristine 95 per cent lustrous red issue,” it’s certified as Gem Mint State-65 Red by ICCS. The coin belonged to the Paris Collection, which has been offered by TCNC in four parts since early 2019. It sold for $3,629.50, topping its low estimate of $3,500.

Also among the auction’s highlights was an 1823 British £2 gold coin offered as Lot 392. Certified as Extra Fine-40 by ICCS, it’s designated as having rim damage and “shows some slight flattening on rim, most likely from mounting,” Verret said. It sold for $2,856, nearly doubling its low estimate of $1,500.

In 1823, Britain began issuing £2 gold coins for the first time since the 1750s. That year’s strikes feature Benedetto Pistrucci’s Saint George and the Dragon design on the reverse, with the year in the exergue at the bottom.

A 1936 cent in ICCS Superb Gem Mint State-66 Red crossed the block for $2,856 as Lot 514.

A 1936 cent in ICCS Superb Gem Mint State-66 Red – described by Verret as a “superb 95 per cent red Gem example” – crossed the block as Lot 514. It brought $2,856, topping its high estimate of $2,250.

A total of 8,769,769 one-cent coins were struck in 1936.

An “Upset Die” error on a 1964 five-cent coin – described by Verret as “possibly unique” and the “first one handled by us” – was offered as Lot 482. Certified as Extra Fine-40 by ICCS, it sold for $1,856, topping its high estimate of $1,500.

An upset die occurs when the obverse and reverse dies of a coin are misaligned within 165-195 degrees of one another (differing from a rotated die, which is when the dies are misaligned outside that range).

A 1964 five-cent ‘Upset Die’ error brought $1,856 as Lot 482.


A 1924 $1,000 “bank legal” specimen (DC-37S) was the sale’s top-earning lot.

Bank legals were used by the federal government to move large amounts of money between banks from 1896-1935.

“These were only issued for bank use,” said Verret. “They were never available to the general public.”

Crossing the block as Lot 170, it was graded Choice About Uncirculated-53 PPQ by LCG and sold for $45,530.

A 1924 $1,000 ‘bank legal’ specimen graded Choice About Uncirculated-53 PPQ by LCG brought $45,530 as Lot 170.

An 1888 50-cent “Obverse 2” variety in ICCS Choice Mint State-63 was also offered as Lot 704.

“A very difficult ‘Obverse 2’ makes this an incredible opportunity to acquire what is undoubtedly one of the major key-dates in this limited series,” said Verret, who added its “sharp, cutting-edge brilliance is complemented with light mauve toning.”

It sold for $44,030.

Back to banknotes, an 1871 Bank of Liverpool $5 note (Ch. #400-10-04) crossed the block as Lot 74. Certified by Paper Money Guaranty as Very Fine-30 – the finest-graded example – it sold for $38,675.

An 1888 50-cent ‘Obverse 2′ variety in ICCS Choice Mint State-63 was offered as Lot 704. It sold for $44,030.

Verret called it a “splendid example with only a few light spots preventing EPQ (exceptional paper quality) status on this otherwise outstanding note.”

A 1971 $10 note (BC-49c-i) with a serial number reading “EEP9601827” was also among the top highlights. Offered as Lot 310, it was graded as Superb Gem Uncirculated-66 PPQ by LCG and describe by Verret as an “excessively rare example with only three examples known to date.”

The note offered this February – the finest example known – sold for $30,345.

In 2018, TCNC sold an Uncirculated-62 example for $35,400.

Another high-earning banknote was Lot 105, a 1920 Royal Bank of Canada $5 note (Ch. #630-58-02) that’s “believed to be the only known” example, according to Verret.

An 1871 Bank of Liverpool $5 note certified by Paper Money Guaranty as Very Fine-30 crossed the block as Lot 74. It sold for $38,675.

“This should be considered as a new and extremely rare find,” he added. “This is the first time we have ever come across this issue, and it is not even reported as existing in the CPMS (Canadian Paper Money Society) Report.”

With a serial number reading “034005” and certified as Very Fine-20 by LCG, it sold for $29,750.

Moving onto coinage, a 1916-C gold sovereign brought $29,290 as Lot 408.

Certified by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) as Choice Mint State-62, it’s described by Verret as “a luminous and lustrous example with very few field markings.”

“The 1916-C sovereign is the most elusive for sovereign collectors around the world,” said Verret, who added “most of the original mintage apparently made its way to the U.S. Treasury, where it was eventually melted down.”

Rounding out the highlights is a 1946 $1 in PCGS Superb Gem Mint State-66. Offered as Lot 760, it’s one of three examples certified by PCGS as Mint State-66 (and with none graded higher).

It sold for $26,775.

“Again, we must thank the Torex organization and all the participants, consignors and bidders for securing the realization of another great sale,” said Verret. “We eagerly anticipate assembling another fine sale for the June and October Torex venues and look forward to seeing you all again at both venues.”

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