‘King of Canadian Coins’ to cross block at show’s auction

A 1921 50-cent coin – the iconic rarity known as the “King of Canadian Coins” – is expected to cross the auction block for $55,000 during the two-session “Premier Auction” set to kick off the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show tomorrow, a day before the biannual show opens its doors in Mississauga.

The coin, which was certified as genuine by Professional Coin Grading Service (PGCS), is one of more than 1,600 lots crossing the block this weekend during the combined stamp and coin auction hosted by Colonial Acres. The two-session sale begins with lot viewing tomorrow from noon-5 p.m., followed by the first session of the live auction at 5:30 p.m. The second session will be held the following day, March 23.

“As we roll into our third ‘Premier Auction’ event at the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show, we are pleased to say the auction is growing in both popularity and in size with over 1,600 lots up for sale,” said Kirk Parsons, co-owner of the Kitchener, Ont.-based auction house.

“We have received the best to-date response from consignors across Canada and the U.S., and this auction will have many highlights throughout all denominations and categories.”

A 1916-C gold sovereign in PCGS About Uncirculated-55 is expected to bring $32,000 as Lot 158.


As the second decade of the 20th century was drawing to a close, the demand for half dollars—a denomination first introduced to Canada in 1870—was waning.

According to the Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins, the coin had an initial mintage of 206,398 pieces; however, contemporary demand was not present for Canada’s 50-cent denomination, and only about 28,000 pieces were issued between 1921 and 1929.

In 1920, the coin’s silver content was decreased to 80 per cent from its former sterling standard of 92.5 per cent. The following year, demand was so low the entire mintage of half dollars for 1921—more than 200,000 pieces—was held in storage by the Royal Canadian Mint.

The coins remained there for eight years, until 1929, when the need for half dollars was sufficient enough to consider a re-release.

Mint Master John Honeyford Campbell was worried the public would suspect the 1920-21 issues to be counterfeit if they were dispersed in 1929 owing to the large quantity as well as the old year-dates.

The stockpiled half dollars were subsequently melted and recoined into new 1929-dated 50-cent pieces. It’s believed only 75 of the 1921-dated coins survived the melting pot—some through the sale of Specimen sets and others through circulation strikes sold to visitors of the Mint.


The auction will highlight some finest-known examples, some “exceptionally rare items that don’t hit the market often” and “the usual assortment of great coins, banknotes and stamps for all collectors needs and budgets,” Parsons added.

Specifically, bidders can expect strong paper money and Canadian decimal sections consisting of key-date issues and “many better varieties that are highly sought after.”

“The paper money section is strong again with many highlights throughout this category that will be sure to spark some bidding action. The decimal section has some key date coins not offered for sale very often, so we are excited to see the action on these lots as well.”

Other highlights of the March 22-23 auction include:

  • Lot 158, a 1916-C gold sovereign in PCGS About Uncirculated-55 and with a pre-sale estimate of $32,000;
  • Lots 537 and 538, two 1921 five-cent coins in Very Fine-30 and About Uncirculated-50 and with pre-sale estimates of $17,000 and $10,000, respectively;
  • Lot 680, a 1969 10-cent “Large Date” variety in International Coin Certification Service (ICCS) Very Fine-20 and with a pre-sale estimate of $15,000;
  • Lot 714, an 1890H 25-cent coin from the acclaimed Victoria North Collection in ICCS-graded Mint State-65 and with a pre-sale estimate of $12,000;
  • Lot 698, an 1871H 25-cent “Obverse 2” variety in ICCS Mint State-65 and with a pre-sale estimate of $10,000;
  • Lots 1281 and 1282, two 1935 Series $50 notes (one in English and another in French), both of which are in PMG Very Fine-20 and have pre-sale estimates of $5,125 and $7,700, respectively;
  • Lot 1332, a 1954 $2 *Z/Z replacement note in Banknote Certification Service About Uncirculated-50 and with a pre-sale estimate of $5,500;
  • Lot 868, a 1919 50-cent coin in ICCS Mint State-65, one of only six known to exist, with a pre-sale estimate of $5,000;
  • Lot 1169, a 1925 $5 Dominion Bank note in Paper Money Guaranty (PMG) Very Fine-20 and with a Bogart-Nanton signature combination and a pre-sale estimate of $4,800;
  • Lot 284, an 1861 Nova Scotia cent “Large Bud” variety in ICCS Specimen-64 Red, one of only five known to exist, with a pre-sale estimate of $4,500;
  • Lot 624, an 1893 10-cent “Round Top 3, Obverse 6” variety in ICCS Very Fine-20 and with a pre-sale estimate of $4,000;
  • Lot 1457, a 1937 Mirror Specimen set certified by PCGS and with a pre-sale estimate of $4,000;
  • Lot 898, a 1947 50-cent “Maple Leaf, Curved 7” variety in ICCS Specimen-62 and with a pre-sale estimate of $4,000;
  • Lot 307, a rare 1942 Newfoundland cent in ICCS Mint State-65 Red, one of only two known to exist, with a pre-sale estimate of $3,500; and
  • Lot 617, an 1889 10-cent coin in ICCS Very Fine-20 and with a pre-sale estimate of $3,500.


Both evening live-auction sessions on March 22-23 will be preceded by lot viewing throughout the day.

In addition to bidding from the floor, bids will be accepted online before and during the event as well as by phone and mail. Online pre-bidding began on iCollector earlier this month.

Leave a Reply

Canadian Coin News


Canadian Coin News is Canada's premier source of information about coins, notes and medals.

Although we cover the entire world of numismatics, the majority of our readers are Canadian, and we concentrate on the unique circumstances surrounding collecting in our native land.

Send Us Your Event

Running an event? Send it to us and we will display it on Canadian Coin News!

Submit Event →

Subscribe To 26 Issues For Just $59.99/year

Subscribe today to receive Canada's premier coin publication. Canadian Coin News is available in both paper and digital forms.

Subscribe Now

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage.