By Jesse Robitaille
Hosted in place of TCNC’s Torex Auction, which was cancelled along with the Oct. 24-25 Torex show in Toronto, the Prominence Sale will be held online only, with no in-person bidding due to the ongoing pandemic. It’s just the latest of more than 30 auctions, including several major ones, hosted by TCNC since the pandemic began in mid-March.
“Auction results have been really good—actually, better than expected,” said TCNC auctioneer Marc Verret, who’s also the owner of the Québec-based auction house.
With fewer places to “go and spend money,” collectors are eager to view, learn about and acquire new material at online auctions from the safety and comfort of home, Verret added.
“During these difficult times, it can be therapeutic to focus on something that gives us a sense of purpose, challenge and satisfaction.”
This November, bids will be accepted via email, mail, fax and TCNC’s online auction platform – auctions.canadiancoinsandpapermoney.com – through the end of the sale.
The first two sessions feature three collections, including the third part of the Gem Collection, which Verret called an “outstanding selection” of Canadian banknotes. The first and second parts of the Gem Collection crossed the block during TCNC’s June Torex Auction and August RCNA (Royal Canadian Numismatic Association) Auction, respectively.
According to Verret, the “three jewels” of this November’s offering include:
- Lot 106, a French-language face proof for the 1935 Series $100 note (BC-20FP) mounted on card stock and certified as Superb Gem New-68 PPQ (premium paper quality) with an estimate of $7,500-$9,500;
- Lot 135, a 1954 $50 “Devil’s Face” variety (BC-34a) in Gem Uncirculated-66 PPQ with an estimate of $3,000-$5,000; and
- Lot 266, a 1954 $20 Devil’s Face replacement note (BC-33aA) with a low serial number of “*A/E0000274,” a grade of Gem Uncirculated-65 PPQ and an estimate of $25,000-$35,000.
Each of the notes is certified by the U.S.-based Legacy Currency Grading (LCG).
Verret called the $20 low-serial-number replacement note “flashy and attractive,” with “nice centring and embossing.”
“Simply a splendid example, one of unforgettable quality and a highlight of this sale,” he added.
‘FORT MCMURRAY,’ ‘BUTCHER’ COLLECTIONS
The Prominence Sale will also feature the second part of the Fort McMurray Collection of Canadian coins and banknotes.
It was first offered this August as part of TCNC’s RCNA Auction.
The third major collection to be offered this November is the Butcher Collection of Canadian coins, with most of the lots certified by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).
“The Butcher Collection holds a premium selection of carefully chosen, elusive Canadian coins. Most of the coins are graded by PCGS, and each piece has been carefully selected and is attractive and proper for the grade attributed,” said Verret, who added there are “some surprises and attractive issues.”
A 1921 five-cent coin – nicknamed the “Prince of Canadian Coins” due to its rarity – is among the highlights of the upcoming sale.
Offered as Lot 471, the coin is one of only about 400 examples believed to exist after most of the 1921 mintage was melted following legislated to strike a new five-cent piece in copper and nickel. It’s certified as Specimen-66-plus by PCGS.
“This key date specimen example is the solo finest graded by three grades,” said Verret. “It’s unimaginable any will ever come near its vaulted status. A fall interplay of rich colours mixed with a bonding gunmetal tone offer a coin with outstanding eye-appeal.”
It’s estimated at $140,000-$150,000.
From later in the decade known as the “Roaring Twenties,” a trio of 1927 specimen coins will cross the block as Lot 382. Described by Verret as “seldom seen or offered as a set,” it includes a cent in Specimen-64 RD (Red); a five-cent coin in Specimen-67-plus; and a 25-cent piece in Specimen-67-plus. The coins are all graded by PCGS and “should be considered excessively rare as a trio,” Verret added. Two of the three coins are the finest-known examples. The set is expected to bring $85,000-$90,000.
Moving on to Newfoundland, what Verret described as a “stunning” 1885 Newfoundland cent is offered as Lot 354. It’s certified as Specimen-66 RB (Red Brown) by PCGS.
“A beautiful gem example with excellent eye-appeal,” added Verret, whose description includes “deep mirror-like fields with a bluish glow.”
It’s estimated at $15,000-$20,000.
On the more affordable end of the spectrum is a trio of high-grade silver dollars, which were issued in Canada between 1935 and 1967.
Introduced to mark King George V’s silver jubilee, the coins were struck in 80 per cent silver and 20 per cent copper until 1967, when it became a pure nickel coin.
Lot 707 offers a 1965 “Type 3” silver dollar certified as Mint State-67 by PCGS.
“The best of the best, this is a pristine issue with great eye-appeal,” said Verret, who called it “a kicker of a coin” and “razor sharp in all aspects.”
“This example may realize over estimate,” he added.
It’s estimated at $4,000-$6,000.
Another scarce variety, this the 1947 “Pointed Dot,” will cross the block as Lot 681. Described by Verret as a “blast white” example, it’s certified as Mint State-63 by International Coin Certification Service and carries an estimate of $4,000-$4,500.
Rounding out the highlights is Lot 683, a 1948 silver dollar in PCGS Mint State-63. Verret called it an “attractive, mildly toned and lustrous key example,” and it’s expected to bring $3,250-$3,500.
NUMISMATICS AMID COVID-19
While the pandemic is affecting aspects of the hobby – like shows – the numismatic market remains strong, Verret said.
“Our opinion of the market remains positive, and this is supported by excellent results in recent local and overseas auctions, including record prices realized at different major auctions over the last weeks. The market has been really good.”
With the Torex shows cancelled because of COVID-19, Verret decided to use the “Prominence” name “so not to confuse our client base.”
Once the pandemic is over and in-person coin shows and auctions return, TCNC is planning to return to the Torex venue.
“This is temporary,” added Verret.