A tale of two monetary systems

By the end of this year, all of our notes will be printed on polymer, and “paper” money will be fast vanishing, the 1-cent coin will be gone, and virtually all of our coins will be less than 15 years old. I can’t think of a time since the days of Queen Victoria when our physical money underwent such a dramatic change. This is bigger than the switch from the large cent, bigger than the introduction of the loonie and toonie, and even bigger than the switch away from silver to base metal. This could be considered an entire recreation of this country’s currency, something that hasn’t happened since before Canada was a nation. Continue reading →

Circulating penny rides off into the sunset

As I write this piece, the humble 1-cent coin sits silently on death row. By the time you read this, the Royal Canadian Mint and the coin-distribution system will no longer be shipping the coin. Not only that, but they will start recalling them, and business will be expected to round transactions off to the nearest five cents. This change, of course, will only affect cash transactions. All other forms of payment, from cheques to debit and credit cards, will still be accounted to the exact amount. Continue reading →

U.S. Flowing Hair silver dollar tops $10 million

“To be a part of this historical occasion is nothing short of amazing,” said Chris Napolitano, president of Stack’s Bowers Galleries. “Collectors competed with great fervour and energy, resulting in outstanding overall prices realized. The price of the gem 1794 dollar went up and up into the millions, with everyone in the audience on the edge of their seats until at last there was just one bidder remaining. At $10,016,875, a world-record price for any coin had been set. The previous record was $7,590,020 for a 1933 Double Eagle, set in 2002. Continue reading →

Canada’s cent slinks away into the annals of history

It seems that almost nobody had any strong objections. There was no public outcry, no desperate last-minute effort to keep the former workhorse of Canadian coins, and I have not even heard a single complaint at any of the stores where I have transacted business since Feb. 4. It seems that we collectors, who mostly value the coin as a collectible, or as a memento of our early days in the hobby, are the only ones who even seemed to mourn its passing. To me, this means one of two things: either Canadians are smart people, who knew the coin has long since lost its usefulness; or we are sheep who just accept whatever decisions are passed down from Parliament Hill. I prefer to think the former. Continue reading →

1936 dot cent to make rare auction appearance

Heritage Auctions is selling an example of the rare 1936 dot Canadian cent, this one owned by the founder of Canadian Coin News, Chet Krause. The coin, graded PCGS MS-63 Red, was purchased by Krause in 2004 for $207,000 U.S. at Heritage’s 2004 New York International Numismatic Convention sale. Heritage spokesman Noah Fleisher told Canadian Coin News that the coin is expected to sell for between $200,000 and $300,000 when it goes on the block in April. The coin has a remarkable history. At one time it was owned by famed collector John Jay Pittman. It was stolen from the Pittman home in 1964 and later returned (with scratches in the right obverse field) in an envelope with other coins. Pittman managed to own all three known 1936 dot cents all at once. Today all three coins remain in the hands of private collectors. Continue reading →

Canada’s coin-collecting magazine goes digital

While the digital version will be pretty much the same as the print version, except for hot links inside ads and editorial content, I do believe that electronic content offers a much better experience for the reader. I’m not talking about gimmicks, such as virtual reality games that almost nobody plays. I see opportunities for enhanced content, or even content not really suited to print, being connected to these articles. Right now we’re at the early stage of a digital experience, but I’m quite sure it is just the start of a whole new way for you and I to share our love of coins. Continue reading →

Rare bird back test note will go to auction

Some time this year, the first public sale of a Canadian banknote printed on Luminus paper will take place. Brian Bell, of Geoffrey Bell Auctions, confirmed to Canadian Coin News that the note, a $5 bird back, will appear in an upcoming sale by the firm. Although Luminus test notes are known, they appeared in the Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Government Paper Money only in the 2013 edition, and no public sales have taken place to Bell’s knowledge. The note was part of a small collection that had been given to the owner by his mother. “I personally hadn’t known these existed,” Bell said. “Everybody here had to learn fast. “We are really excited to represent the owner of this note,” he added. Continue reading →

Wolf joins growing pack of $20-for-$20 coins

The wraps are off on the seventh coin in the Royal Canadian Mint’s popular $20-for-$20 program, a series of silver coins being sold for face value. The newest coin in the series, the second of this year, depicts a wolf running toward the viewer. The coins are struck on .9999 silver blanks with a weight of 7.96 grams, or a quarter troy ounce. The reverse has the inscriptions “20 DOLLARS,” “2013,” “CANADA” and “FINE SILVER ARGENT PUR 9999.” The obverse has the Susanna Blunt effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. Continue reading →

The transformation of transactions

The truth is, if I had to pick the single most important change in the hobby, it would be the enthusiastic adoption of third-party certification. When I first came to CCN, certified coins were put in slabs, which had a negative connotation. Collectors smirked that coins would get resubmitted until they reached the highest plausible grade. Most numismatists believed that they could grade their own coins, and frowned on the “absurd” claims of graders that a certified coin would be easier to sell. But that is exactly what happened. Collectors, who at first thought that the best grading could do was confirm their opinion, came to respect third-party graders. Continue reading →

War of 1812 worthy of our pocket change

There is no doubt that the conflict was a watershed moment in Canadian history. Before the war, Upper Canada in particular was becoming more Americanized while north-bound trade was steadily growing. Some historians have argued that without the war, Canada would have eventually sought political union with its most significant trading partner. Ironically, the war made that impossible by helping to create, for the first time, a Canadian identity that transcended linguistic and cultural origins. Continue reading →

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