Rare ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ materials sold at Torex

By Jesse Robitaille

Billed as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to own pieces of Canadian history, the recent Torex Auction did not disappoint.

Held June 24 and 25 at Hyatt Regency Toronto, the sale saw an abundance of noteworthy numismatic material, including the aforementioned opportunity of a lifetime: Lot 659, a 1921 five-cent coin in Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) Mint State (MS)-67.

Auctioneer Eric Paquet, of The Canadian Numismatic Company (TCNC), described this museum piece as “fully lustrous issue with superb fields.”

“One of the finest examples on the market,” he added. “It’s a fabulous piece – it’s blast white with no flaws – and an almost perfect example of the 1921 issue.”

It sold for $165,200 after a pre-sale estimate of $175,000-$225,000.


Lot 835 (shown above) realized $44,850.

Lot 835 (shown above) realized $44,850 including buyer’s premium.

Another highlight was Lot 835, a 1872H A/V 50-cent piece in PCGS MS-62 (crossed graded by International Coin Certification Service, or ICCS), again one of the finest examples known.

“This is another issue that was basically the best of the best for type, having sold for a hammer price of $39,000 after an opening bid of $35,000,” Paquet said.


Among the top banknote highlights were Lots 181 and 182, a pair of oddly denominated bills issued by Molsons Bank in 1871. The former, a rare $6 note, is “by far” the finest of the three examples known to exist. It sold for $29,500 after an opening bid of $25,000. The latter, an “exceptionally rare” $7 issue with a “TORONTO” overprint, is one of three known to exist (two are in institutions). Described as “one of the rarest notes handled by us in any grade,” it sold for $4,025 after a starting bid of $2,000.

Another rarity, this with a serial number reading “000001”, was Lot 189, a 1930 Bank of Nova Scotia £1 note (CH-550-38-04-02). In Canadian Coin Certification Service (CCCS) About Uncirculated-50 Original, this “museum piece” sold for $31,270 after an opening bid of $15,000.

Another pair of rare banknotes were offered as Lots 201 and 202: a 1938 Royal Bank of Canada $20 bill issued at the bank’s British Guiana (CH-630-38-04) and Trinidad (CH-630-68-04) branches, respectively. The first piece, in Professional Money Guaranty (PMG) Very Fine (VF)-30, sold for $10,925 after a starting bid of $3,500. The second piece, graded VF-25, sold for $10,350 after an opening bid of $5,000.

A series of 1911 Weyburn Security Bank notes were offered as Lots 207-9, each of which sold within or near estimate. The first, Lot 207, was a $5 note (CH-805-10-02) in VF-35. It realized $16,100 after a starting bid of $6,000. Lot 208, a $10 note (CH-805-10-04) in VF-25, realized $19,550 after an opening bid of $10,000. Rounding out the Weyburn pieces was Lot 209, a $20 note (CH-805-10-06) that sold for $27,600 after an opening bid of $12,000.

Another interesting rarity was Lot 235, a 1900 $4 DC-16 note in CCCS Choice Uncirculated-64, with a rare low serial number #000002. This rarity sold for $47,200 after an opening bid of $35,000.

Rounding out session one was Lot 285, a 1935 $20 note (BC-9a) Large Seal with a serial number reading “0000101”. Graded Choice Uncirculated PPQ by PCGS, this “excessively scarce” example sold for $31,565 after a starting bid of $17,500.


Session two, held June 25, included several rarities that realized above their pre-auction estimates, including Lot 619. This 1889 five-cent in PCGS MS-65 was described by auctioneers as a “razor sharp full white example” and “one of the best and finest examples ever handled and seen by TCNC.” It topped its pre-sale estimate of $14,000-$15,000, crossing the block for a hammer price of $16,520.

Another “very scarce” coin, a 1921 five-cent in ICCS MS-62, was offered for Lot 660. This “lustrous white key date issue” sold for $24,150 after a starting bid of $18,000.

Lot 889, a 1939 J.O.P. dollar in ICCS MS-63, also topped its pre-sale estimate of $2,000-$3,000, realizing $3,245.

“Overall several key date and high-end coins and banknotes offered in this sale sold at market and above market prices, making for what seems an appropriate assumption that this was a great offering of Canadian numismatic material with some historic results,” said Paquet.

For more information about the recent Torex Auction, visit canadiancoinsandpapermoney.com.

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