By Jesse Robitaille
Colonial Acres has more than 1,300 lots, including seldom-seen material such as key-date coins, rare banknotes and eye-catching errors, ready to cross the block as part of the Premier Auction this Friday and Saturday.
The two-session sale will take place on Sept. 9-10 with a live bidding floor at Trajan Publishing’s National Postage Stamp & Coin Show plus through iCollector, an online auction platform. It will mark just the second in-person Premier Auction since 2019 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“The National Postage Stamp & Coin Show has always been a biannual favourite for us here at Colonial Acres,” said auctioneer Kirk Parsons, a co-owner of the Kitchener, Ont.-based auction house, which has held 85 sales, including more than 10 Premier Auction events, since 2015. “It is in a prime location in the Greater Toronto Area and draws a good crowd from both the north and south sides of the province. Having the live setup really gives potential buyers the chance to see and hold the items they are preparing to bid on. As good as imaging has become, there is always that extra element of a coin or banknote’s true beauty that can really only be appreciated by viewing in person.”
The previous Premier Auction, held in April, “really set a benchmark of where the numismatic community stands,” Parsons added.
“With some uncertainty about how many people would attend and how well the show would do after being cancelled due to COVID restrictions for the past two-plus years, I think we would all agree it was a great success. We all needed to get out, see familiar faces and enjoy some camaraderie among fellow dealers and collectors.”
Through the pandemic, the numismatic market has remained “exceedingly strong,” according to Parsons, who added Colonial’s sales have seen “record sales and demand for better key-date material.”
“We have a lot of demand from consignors wanting to sell material through our auctions, and the buying community continues to grow through the online platforms. This fall will be another good indicator of where the markets are headed with the increased interest rates and inflation hitting us all. I remain optimistic as in past years, when we saw similar economic situations yet continued to do very well throughout them. This hobby is very resilient through economic uncertainty as people look for ways to invest and diversify their financial wealth outside of the standard markets.”
In the sale’s first session, Lot 226 offers a rare Mint-State (MS) example – the finest known – of Newfoundland’s 1904-H five-cent coin.
Before Newfoundland became Canada’s 10th province in 1949, the former British colony turned dominion used a variety of coinage as currency. With tokens and foreign coins widely circulating by the mid-19th century, colonial Newfoundland planned to introduce its own decimal coinage in 1863. Copper cents, silver five-, 10- and 20-cent pieces plus $2 gold coins were first issued for circulation two years later followed by a silver 50-cent denomination in 1870.
Until 1913, six years after Newfoundland earned dominion status, all of its coins came into being in England, where they were struck at the Royal Mint in London without a mint mark or at the Heaton Mint in Birmingham with an “H” mint mark. The dominion’s last issue included the George VI one-, five- and 10-cent coins, which circulated from 1938-47.
The 1904-H coin on offer this September was one of 100,000 pieces struck at the Heaton Mint, whose “H” mint mark sits near the bottom of the reverse design. In MS-66 from International Coin Certification Service (ICCS), it’s estimated at $3,000 with a starting bid of $1,600.
Other 1904-H Newfoundland issues crossing the block this September include Lot 243, a 20-cent piece in ICCS Very Fine-30 with a $200 estimate, and Lot 248B, a 50-cent piece in ICCS MS-63 with a $1,250 estimate.
Among the sale’s Canadian coins, Lot 589 offers a key-date Victorian issue in MS condition.
The 1889-dated 25-cent coin, certified as MS-63 by ICCS, was one of 66,340 examples struck in England by the Royal Mint, which also produced most of Canada’s coinage from 1858-1907. It’s estimated at $20,000 with a starting bid of $11,000.
Moving onto the silver dollar section, a rare 1948 $1 coin – a key date – crosses the block as Lot 815.
Popular among today’s collectors, Canada issued circulation silver dollars from 1935-67. The 1948 issue boasts the series’ lowest mintage at 18,780 (excluding the 1911 silver dollar, of which only three examples are known).
The 1948 dollar on offer this September is certified as Specimen-65 by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and exhibits a “sharp specimen strike with deep rich toning throughout of indigo blues and violets,” according to Parsons. It starts at $8,250 with an estimate of $13,500.
Among the modern issues, Lot 1000 offers a 2006-P trial strike of that year’s 25-cent “Pink Ribbon” coin in PCGS Specimen-68. Described by Parsons as “ultra rare,” it’s the only PCGS-certified example and starts at $5,000 with an estimate of $10,000.
The Dominion of Canada’s first $5 bill, fondly known by collectors as the “train note,” is expected to draw bidders’ interests in the sale’s second session.
The 1912 $5 note (DC-21c) features on its face a central vignette of a train – rather than a traditional portrait – with the Ocean Limited (now known simply as The Ocean) travelling through Nova Scotia’s Wentworth Valley on the Intercolonial Railway. The issue spans eight varieties based on the seal type, signature combination and signature type.
Lot 1087 offers a “No Seal” variety in Choice Uncirculated-64 “EPQ” (exceptional paper quality) from Paper Money Guaranty (PMG). It features deputy finance minister T.C. Boville’s signature with a serial number reading “B471743-C.” Described by Parsons as a “well-centred note with great eye-appeal,” it starts at $3,850 with an estimate of $7,500.
Among the Bank of Canada issues, Lot 1114 offers a 1935 Series $50 French-language note (BC-14) in PMG Very Fine-25. With a signature combination featuring bank governor Graham Towers and deputy governor James Osborne, the note has a serial number reading “F02110-A.” It’s estimated at $9,500 with a starting bid of $4,950.
Part of the Bank of Canada’s second issue, a 1937 Series $50 note (BC-26a) crosses the block as Lot 1138. In PCGS Very Choice New-64 “PPQ” (premium paper quality), it also features the Osborne-Towers signatures plus a serial number of “A/H0032857.” Described by Parsons as a “scarce high-grade note,” it starts at $15,950 with a $27,000 estimate.
Rounding out the highlights is Lot 1174, a 1954 test note (BC-38bT) with an “E/R” prefix plus a signature combination featuring deputy governor John Robert Beattie and governor Louis Rasminsky. In Choice Very Fine-35 from PMG and with a serial number reading “3818046,” this example includes two numeral annotations, a “10” and a “2,” written on its face in blue ink. Seldom offered for sale, according to Parsons, it’s expected to bring $14,000 with a starting bid of $6,750.
The Premier Auction is set to kick off at 5:30 p.m. (ET) on both Sept. 9-10.
Pre-bidding opens on Aug. 12 with auctioneers accepting bids via the Internet, email, fax, phone or at Colonial’s headquarters in Kitchener, Ont., before 4 p.m. (ET) of the respective auction sessions.
To view the lots, click here.
Lot viewing will be available at Colonial’s headquarters from Aug. 12-Sept. 7, excluding Sundays, and show-goers can also preview the material at the National Show in Mississauga on Sept. 9 from noon-4:30 p.m. and on Sept. 10 from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (ET).
The National Show will run from Sept. 10-11, a day behind the sale, and will be held in conjunction with this year’s Ontario Numismatic Association Convention (“ONA Convention comeback slated for fall Trajan show,” CCN Vol. 60 #9, Aug. 2, 2022).