Iconic ‘dot’ coins to cross block in TCNC’s fifth Prominence Sale

By Jesse Robitaille

The Canadian Numismatic Company (TCNC) is set to return to the auction block this November for the Québec-based firm’s fifth Prominence Sale.

It’s the latest in a series of auctions dating back to November 2020, when TCNC hosted its inaugural Prominence Sale. The fifth iteration will offer more than 1,500 lots across five sessions on Nov. 6-10. The Montréal Collection of Canadian banknotes will be joined by other major collections, including the Moody Collection of Canadian Coins and the second portion of the Little Collection of Canadian copper coins, plus selections from 62 other consignors.

“This fantastic Prominence V sale should make some spectacular moments and active evenings of auctioning,” said TCNC owner and auctioneer Marc Verret. “We expect this to be one of the prestigious numismatic online events of 2021 featuring several rarities never offered to the public.”

Leading the sale’s first session (Lots 1-332) is what Verret called the “holy grail of Canadian coins,” the iconic one- and 10-cent “dot” varieties from 1936.

“The 1936 dot coinage of Canada is the most mystical in the realm of numismatic treasures,” Verret wrote in the auction catalogue. “Most Canadians can identify with the famous dot coins, especially the elusive penny. Many comic book series and general reading magazines spawned many want ads for the famous copper coin. These ads played out from the ’60s thru the ’80s. The mystery of when the existing coins were made and why some survived is still cloudy.”

Offered as Lot 94, the one-cent dot coin is certified by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) as Specimen-65 with a “Red-Brown” designation – tied as the finest-graded example with one other piece residing in the Cornerstone Collection that sold in a fixed-price catalogue beginning in June 2019.

The Bank of Canada’s National Currency Collection also holds a lone example gifted by the LaFortune family.

Maurice LaFortune, a former Royal Canadian Mint employee, previously owned the 10-cent dot coin also offered in the upcoming auction.

The one-cent dot coin was formerly part of the John J. Pittman Collection. It’s expected to bring $450,000 with an opening bid of $385,000.

The 10-cent dot coin, offered as Lot 191, is certified as Specimen-63-plus by PCGS. Described by Verret as having “razor-sharp details with attractive gold, light blue and embers colours on both sides,” it’s one of only six known examples, three of which are held in the Bank of Canada Museum.

“Only three pieces are in private hands,” Verret wrote in the auction catalogue. “One is part of a complete set, which will never be sold separately, and the auctioneer believes that it is extremely unlikely that the other known example will be offered for sale, making this a unique opportunity to acquire this amazing Canadian classic rarity.”

He added it’s a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire one of Canada’s rarest coins ever produced.”

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