Souvenir note marks J. A. Moisan Grocery sesquicentennial

Located at 699 Saint-Jean St. in Québec, Qué., J. A. Moisan Grocery was founded in 1871 by Jean-Alfred Moisan.

Since continuously operating over the past 150 years since its founding, Moisan Grocery holds the honour of being the oldest grocery store in all of North America. It stands in the Saint-Jean-Baptiste neighbourhood, just west of Vieux-Québec (Old Québec), which the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization declared a World Heritage Site in 1985. That year, Moisan Grocery was also established as part of Québec City’s historical patrimony.

The fascinating story of this ancestral grocery, its founder and its various owners is of particular interest for numismatists for the fact that from 1982 to 2013, it has, on a few occasions, issued its own private money in form of coins or notes.

Now, with the authorization of the store’s current owner Donna Willett, the Institut Québécois de Numismatique (Québec Numismatic Institute) has launched a new souvenir note marking the store’s 150th anniversary. Designed by GraphX, also of Québec, Qué., the note measures 15.2 centimetres by seven centimetres. The note has no legal value at the store.

The note’s face, based on notes issued from 2011-13, shows the portrait of the store’s founder at the right. The back presents the building where the store is located flanked by the portraits of the founder and his wife, Laetitia Clavet.

The back of the souvenir note depicts the building in which Moisan Grocery is located. It’s flanked by the portraits of Moisan and his wife Laetitia Clavet.

The Québec Numismatic Institute issued 150 notes numbered from “0001” to “0150.” Aside from three special serial numbers, the notes are offered for $8 each (plus $2 postage) with buyers restricted to ordering a maximum of two notes.

The three notes numbered “0101” (a two-digit repeater), “0110” (a two-digit radar) and “0123” (an ascending ladder) are offered at $25 each. If more than one buyer expresses an interest in those special serial numbers, the Québec Numismatic Institute will host an auction for those notes.

The group will accept orders until Nov. 30, and the notes should be available in mid-November.

To place an order, contact Yvon Marquis, the general manager of the Institut Québécois de Numismatique, at yvonmarquis48@gmail.com. Payments can be made by either e-transfer or by cheque sent to C.P. 42, Succ. Lévis, Lévis, QC  G6V 6N6.

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