Starting a Coin Collection Part 3

 In the last 2 articles we discussed the basics on getting started with a coin collection. For those of you who have not had the opportunity to read these (and would like to) please visit a site I put together with many of the articles that have appeared here at www.montrealcoinexpert.com

The last and critical bit of information you need to get started is coin grading. Condition is what makes value with most coins. Beyond value, having a collection of pristine, wonderful looking pieces of medallic art with all of the original details, and shine, is much more pleasurable to look at than a group of worn down ugly slugs.

Why does condition contribute so much to the value? Consider that 100 years ago people used coins even more frequently than now in commerce. Since most coins were made out of valuable materials (gold, silver, copper) no one would ever throw away coins…so many old coins are still around in great quantity. Coin collecting as a hobby has existed ever since they were made (over 2500 years), but was usually just for rich people with too much time on their hands (kings, wealthy merchants, etc). After WWII (lets call it 1950+), coin collecting became popular in Canada. Before this very few people were serious collectors. So in the early 50s people went out and tried to find all the different dates of coins to fill their collections…and they discovered which years were rare, and removed these from circulation. Now if you were one of those folks back then, you could have easily found coins from the 1950s, 1940s, 1930s, 1920s, 1910s, and even Victorian coins in your change. The thing is, since the older coins would have been in circulation the longest these would be the most worn. So fast forward to 2011…and coins from the 1950s and 1960s are really easy to get in new condition (as they were saved by those collectors)..but since virtually no one saved the older ones in NEW condition they are scarce in such state. Consider for example a common year penny…1933. In used but nice undamaged condition it can be found in our 3 for a dollar bin at the store. In new red shiny perfect shape (like it was the day it was made) it is worth hundreds of dollars or more! This is because it is plentiful is used condition, but rare new. This same logic applies to almost all Canadian coins before 1940.

Before embarking on a collection, as mentioned in the previous articles, it is advantageous to have an idea of what your finished collection will look like. Collections where all the coins are eye appealing, and in similar condition are much nicer to look at and will probably give you more enjoyment. Also, from a budgeting point, it will help you plan how much your hobby will cost. Most importantly knowing what you want, will help you know what you do not want. In other words, if you are offered a piece you need but it is not up to your standards you can reject it and wait for a better one.

So, how do you learn to grade a coin? Experience, and looking at a lot of coins. There are companies that will certify that your coin is authentic, and what grade category it would fit…but since grading is part science, and part art, opinions do differ. It is important that you look at a lot of coins, both in certified holders, and loose, to get an understanding of various grades. You can do this by looking at collections your friends have made, going to coin shops, attending coin club meetings, and attending auctions. Most importantly, only buy a coin you like, even if someone else says it is in nice condition…in the end it is your coin.

 

Michael Joffre is owner of Carsley Whetstone & Company Inc. a firm that buys and sells rare coins and related collectables. He is always interested in buying older coin collections. CWC also carries a full line of books and collecting supplies, available in stock in their retail store. Michael can be reached at 514-289-9761, or at sales@carsleys.com. For more information please visit www.carsleys.com

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Starting a Coin Collection Part 2

 Last time we discussed how important it is to focus on a specific area rather than try to collect everything. It was also mentioned that doing some homework on what you are about to collect, and very importantly getting a book or two on the subject (and reading them!) will go a long way.

Next is most likely the most overlooked part of coin collecting, and one that if you plan it properly will increase your enjoyment of your collection many fold…storage and display. Lets face it, you probably started a collection because you like the look of these old shiny pieces of metal…so why not make sure you get the most out of your coin display. The good news is that in the last few years the selection of items available to help you sort, store, and display your coin has expanded greatly.

Again, as mentioned in the previous article, by knowing what your collection is supposed to look like when it is done will greatly help you plan carefully not only your coin purchases, but also how it will be displayed. Here are some ideas based on different types of collections…

If you are collecting Canadian or USA coins by date (this is how many collectors get started), you can purchase pre designed albums with empty slot of each coin. This is a great benefit as many coins can be stored in one book, and the album pretty much guides you as to what you are missing. Usually there is a hole for each coin with a label underneath with the date or variety.

For those collecting only a few select coins perhaps a coin frame would be impressive. You can now purchase frames that will hold a small group (usually a dozen or less) of special items. This will look great on your wall…and you can see your collection everyday! Small collections can also be placed in special trays that can be stacked in boxes. These can be made of plastic, or in more luxurious materials like wood, and velvet.

Ancient, and world coin collectors usually either make their own albums, or store their collections in boxes. Using albums is very simple. 3 ring binders can by purchased at any office supply store (we carry higher end ones with slipcases at our store), and special pages can be inserted inside them to hold your coins. Special cardboard and mylar holders fix the coins in place, and usually allow some space to write a description of each item.

Using boxes is also quite simple. First each coin is put either in a cardboard or mylar holder, and is identified, and put in order in special boxes designed for coins. This is likely the preferred method of storing more expensive items, as these boxes fit quite well in bank safety deposit boxes. Unfortunately, this is the least interesting method from a display perspective, as you can only really look at one coin at a time.

If you are creating your own album, my suggestion would be to go back an imagine your collection complete, and leave spaces for the coins you are missing. This makes it more exciting to as you fill each hole. For those with a creative or artistic touch, filling each empty space with a picture or the specifications of the item you want will make even a mostly empty binder look great. I did this once with a collection of Roman silver coins many years ago. I obtained an image of each coin I was missing and printed it on little cards, then placed them in the empty slots. I had almost as much fun putting together the empty album, as filling it. It also made it clear which items really belonged in the collection, and this made it easier to make purchase decision.

Your enjoyment of the hobby will be vastly improved by getting a good loupe (special magnifying glass). Most coins are small, and the details even more so. Do not be cheap here! Buy the best quality you can afford. My suggestion is a 10X magnification with a reasonably sized lens. You will need this to identify and grade your coins. Loupes can cost between $10 and $200, with decent quality ones usually in the $30-$50 range.

Ok, so now you have figured out what you want to collect, read some books on the subject, did a bit of research on the web, purchased some coin supplies, made or bought an album, and are ready to fill it up…so off to make coin purchases right? No. We still have some more ground to cover before making those big acquisitions. Next time in Part 3.

Michael Joffre is owner of Carsley Whetstone & Company Inc. a firm that buys and sells rare coins and related collectables. He is always interested in buying older coin collections. CWC also carries a full line of books and collecting supplies, available in stock in their retail store. Michael can be reached at 514-289-9761, or at sales@carsleys.com. For more information please visit www.carsleys.com

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Starting a Coin Collection Part 1

 For the next few weeks, lets rewind a bit and get back to basics. Many clients come to see us who would like to start a collection but are unsure how to go about it. Doing a little homework and planning beforehand will go a long way to make sure you get the most enjoyment out of collecting, and get the best value for your limited collecting budget.

The biggest problem most collectors (beginners or advanced) face is that they do not know what to collect. Numismatics is a very vast field, and there are many ways to go about things. Here is a tiny example of areas you could focus a collection on…Canadian Coins (many will focus on one denomination, pennies, nickels, etc), Canadian Tokens (this is a huge area on its own), Canadian Paper Money (Government, and private bank issues, or merchant script…), other specific countries, ancient coins (Roman, Greek, Byzantine). People can also focus on a topic. For example some collect coins from the various Olympics (this is a fun one), or coins with trains on them, or coins issued by famous historic figures like Napoleon. Some of our customers only like to collect gold coins, and get one from each country. We even have a few very brave souls who try to get one of every coin type (design…not date), from every country on the world!

Here is my suggestion based on decades of collecting coins…do not try to collect everything. This will be fun for the first week, and then lead you to a boring unfocused, and meaningless accumulation of coins. The best way to get started is much the same way you might plan a trip overseas…do a bit of research before you fly. Firstly, how much are you willing to spend on your hobby? If your resources are limited, this will also limit what you can collect. Secondly, what do you like? Perhaps you have an interest in the country your parents came from, or you remember a jar of coins from your youth, or a certain period in history appeals to you, or new coins from 2011 is where you want to start…

Next, once you have an idea or two of what you like…do not buy any coins! First buy a book on the subject you are interested in…..and READ IT. This is a very important step, because it will help you make a checklist of what will be in your collection when it is finished (some collections never get completed…but that is the fun of the hunt), and lets you know what is a fair price to pay for the coins you will be looking for. Where do you get these books? Coin shops (like ours!), local books stores, or even online. When you get your references, make sure they are the most recent editions. Old coin books often contain old information which (especially for pricing) may not be correct.

Regardless of what you decide to collect, always buy the best quality you can afford. Very few people enjoy looking at damaged, cleaned, or heavily worn coins. There is a reason these will be much cheaper than the good quality stuff, and they will likely be only worth the same (and is a lot of cases much less) if one day you decide to sell them. The reason for this is that in the case of older coins (before 1940), very few were saved brand new, and stored by collectors. Many however exist (as most people do not throw away money) in not saved condition…circulated. Therefore collectors are always competing to get the best examples, and there are rarely enough to go around. By owning great looking items, you will both enjoy your collection more, and have little problem when it come time to sell.

 

So now you have decided on an area you like, purchased a reference or two on the subject, read them cover to cover, poked around online to see what is available, and made a preliminary checklist of what your ideal collection will look like. Time to go shopping right? WRONG! There is more to do… Wait for our write up next week in Part 2.

Michael Joffre is owner of Carsley Whetstone & Company Inc. a firm that buys and sells rare coins and related collectables. He is always interested in buying older coin collections. CWC also carries a full line of books and collecting supplies, available in stock in their retail store. Michael can be reached at 514-289-9761, or at sales@carsleys.com. For more information please visit www.carsleys.com

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The Coin Summer Season….Big Conventions

 While you are cleaning out the pool, or setting up the BBQ for the summer season, consider too, that summer is indeed a great season for coin collecting. Now it certainly is true that long winter nights are a great opportunity to sort and examine your collection, but nothing beats going out to one of the large summer conventions.

 

In Canada each year the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) hosts a wonderful coin show. Each year it is hosted in a different city, and is a neat opportunity to explore Canada. At one of these shows you can meet other collectors, attend learning workshops with experts, meet the folks from the Royal Canadian Mint, and of course find that missing item for your collection. This year the convention is in Windsor, Ontario. It will take place July 14th to 17th. At each convention there are often auctions with rare Canadian coins and tokens. This year is no exception with 2 large auction houses planning to hold sales. Of course, there are also special dinners, and excursions to local sites of interest.

 

If you do not mind travelling south of the border you will be greatly rewarded. The really big show…is the American Numismatic Association annual convention, which is titled The Worlds Fair of Money, held this year in Chicago, August 16th to 20th. This will be a monster sized show with over 1,200 coin dealers in attendance (yes over 1,200 dealers!!!). Several auctions with some of the finest US Coins will be held, and tens of millions of dollars worth of rare items will change hands. What makes the US shows so special (besides the impossibly crazy amount of rare coins available for sale!), is that very high quality educational seminars are given (you must register far in advance…they sell out!), by some of the top experts in their respective fields.

 

If you plan to go to any of these shows here is some advice…First off, book your hotel rooms, travel arrangements, tickets to the convention, excursions, banquets, and any seminars you wish to attend as soon as possible. Things do sell out quick! If you have never been to a large show you will be surprised to see there are a lot more people interested in this hobby than you thought. Secondly, GO EARLY…the saying the early bird gets the coin works well here. Do not plan to arrive at the last day of the show (this is when most dealers are actually leaving), and expect to find deals. The deals with coins are for those who find them FIRST. Usually at the end of the show everything really worth buying, either because it is really rare or under priced has already been scooped up. Thirdly, budget your money and time. It is very easy to get carried away when you see lots of things you want, and have never had the chance to buy. Bring a want list, and stay focused. Plan out the most you are willing to spend, and make educated choices. In the case of the US show, it may be impossible to see everything…scout around to see the dealers who offer the type of items you are looking for and spend more time with them.

 

As a lifetime member of both of the above mentioned organizations, summer is indeed an exciting time for me! Maybe we will meet at the show!

 

More information can be found on the web by going to rcna.ca and worldsfairofmoney.com

 

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The Coins of Newfoundland – Part 3

This week we will look at the 10 cent to 2 dollar coins. Like the 5 cent pieces we discussed last time the 10 cent coins produced during the Victorian period (1865 to 1896) were made in very small quantities. The scarcest of which was in 1885 when only 8,000 pieces were made. All of these coins, even the easier to find 1890, 1894, and 1896, are all but impossible to locate in new condition. It seems very few were save new, and almost every coin that survived is well used.

The other 10 cent issues of Edward VII, George V, and George VI follow a similar pattern to the 5 cent coins we discussed last time. They were not issued every year, and all are relatively easy to locate in worn condition.

Newfoundland took their money in a different direction to Canada’s with the 20 cent piece. The latter chose to go with the 25 cent coin to be similar to US coin circulating at the time. It is interesting to note that both coins had equivalent value. That is one dollar worth of Newfoundland silver coins contained roughly the same amount as did Canadian coins…the weights were 20% lower on the 20 cent pieces compared to the Canadian 25 cent pieces.

The 20 cent coins dating in the 1800`s are much easier to find than most of the 5 and 10 cent pieces. Again the same rule applies that new coins are almost impossible to find, and even the best collections will often need to settle for a lightly used example.

Edward VII only issued one coin in 1904, and the last 20 cent piece was issued by George V in 1912. After this Newfoundland chose to adopt the Canadian standards, and produced 2 quarters at the Royal Canadian Mint in 1917 and 1919…these both have a little C under the date. No 20 or 25 cent coins were issued after 1919.

The largest silver coin of Newfoundland was the 50 cent piece. Minted first in 1870, all Victorian examples are obtainable…but again, not in unused condition. The detail in the hair of Victoria is magnificent on this coin, and if you get the opportunity (as it is rare in this state) to see one with full details you will be impressed. Like the issues of 20 & 25 cent pieces both Edward VII, and George V produced coins, but none after 1919.

Last (but as we say…certainly not the least) are the wonderful 2 dollar gold coins. These were produced only during the Victorian era, and for the following dates; 1865, 1870, 1872, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1885, and 1888. Mintages vary from a scant 2,500 for the 1880 (this is the key date), to 25,000 for 1882 and 1888. So not many were made, and likely a big percentage of these did not survive. The coin only weighs 3.33 grams and is about the size of a dime. They are very popular with and even the common dates can sell for $300 and up in decent condition.

Newfoundland became a province in Canada in 1949, and adopted our coinage. Many collectors of Canadian coins soon branch off and also collect the coins of Newfoundland as well. It is indeed a challenge to get one of each coin, even in used condition. Try it for yourself…

Did you miss Newfoundland Part 1 or 2? Or if you would like to read some of my older articles, please visit www.montrealcoinexpert.com

Michael Joffre is owner of Carsley Whetstone & Company Inc. a firm that buys and sells rare coins and related collectables. He is always interested in buying older coin collections. CWC also carries a full line of books and collecting supplies, available in stock in their retail store. Michael can be reached at 514-289-9761, or at sales@carsleys.com. For more information please visit www.carsleys.com

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The Coins of Newfoundland – Part 2

 This week we will look at the 5 cent coins. Like Canada, Newfoundland issued small silver 5 cent pieces, weighing exactly half a dime. Unlike Canada, it never chose to adopt the nickel coinage to replace the 5 cent pieces in the 1920`s, despite the increase in the cost of silver.

The Victorian dates (1865-1896) of this series are certainly the most challenging to find. The reason is two fold. Firstly, most were produced in very low numbers, and secondly the coins were actively used in commerce so that most have disappeared or been severely worn from heavy use. Very few were saved in any reasonable collectable condition.

For the first issue of 1865 only 80,000 were minted, the second issue was in 1870, and only 40,000 were produced. This low production continued in the third issue in 1872, but this time the coins were manufactured at the Heaton mint, and a little H was placed on the coin. Interestingly the next year 1873 coins were produced at both the Heaton and London mint, but the former was made in very, very small quantities, and is an extremely scarce coin today. The 1873H 5 cents is truly the key to any Newfoundland coin collection, and to find any example that is not severely worn or damaged, is a great challenge…even for those with large budgets. I would be quite surprised if more than a few hundred examples in any condition exist today, and any 1873H in new condition would likely be unique.

The only relatively common Victoria 5 cents are 1882H, 1890, 1894, and 1896….but even these are not seen all the time.

There was a design change on the Edward VII pieces, but only 3 years of issue 1903, 1904H, and 1908. All are quite easy to find in used condition…but again quite rare unused. George V continued with a similar design, but now that the Royal Canadian Mint was open in Ottawa, some of the dates were produced there. These are easy to identify, as they have a little C under the date. Coins were produced in 1912, 1917c, 1919c, and 1929.

By the 1930`s silver had been replaced in Canada’s 5 cent coinage with nickel, but Newfoundland continued to issue all of the remaining coins as before, in silver. For the George VI issues, almost all were produced in Ottawa with the exception of 1938. The coin of note in this series is the 1946C, of which only 2,041 pieces were struck…and astoundingly low number equal to only a little over $100 face value! Fortunately for collectors, many of these were saved, as nice examples usually sell for $700 to $1,000.

Like the 1 cent, 1947 was the last year of coinage for the 5 cent piece. Assembling a date set of all pieces (29) in used condition is a big undertaking even for intermediate collectors. Trying to do the same in uncirculated condition may be an impossible feat!

 

Next week we will look at the 10 and 20 cent coins….

Did you miss Part 1? Or if you would like to read some of my older articles, please visit www.montrealcoinexpert.com

Michael Joffre is owner of Carsley Whetstone & Company Inc. a firm that buys and sells rare coins and related collectables. He is always interested in buying older coin collections. CWC also carries a full line of books and collecting supplies, available in stock in their retail store. Michael can be reached at 514-289-9761, or at sales@carsleys.com. For more information please visit www.carsleys.com

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The Coins of Newfoundland – Part 1

 In 2011 we may take for granted that this province is just another east coast member of Canada…but it was not always the case. Newfoundland only joined Canada in 1949, and therefore had a wonderful and interesting period of coinage from 1865 to 1947.

The first thing to understand about these coins are their relative scarcity. Mintages were obviously much lower than for comparable Canadian coins, and in the case of the early stuff (let`s say pre-1890) the survival rate of coins is pretty low. Secondly, as I always mention…older coins were not saved when new…this is doubly true with this series. Many coins from Newfoundland are unknown in brand new condition…as none were saved. Understanding what the best available pieces are will help you set realistic goals.

The neat thing is that unlike Canadian or US coins, it is possible to get all of the coins of Newfoundland. There are some rarities that will cost a bit, and take a while to find, but it can be done.

Lets go through the coinage together over the next few weeks, and discover the gems…

The Large Cents began in 1865 (actually there is an 1864 Cent…but it is a rare pattern). The size and weight were identical to Canadian Cents of the period…5.67g each. Like all Newfoundland coins, these were struck in England. Some of the coins have a little H on them, indicating they were produced at the Heaton mint. Those with no letter were struck at the Royal mint in London. All of the Victorian pennies are relatively easy to find in used condition with the exception of 1885, and 1888 as these were produced in very limited (50,000 or less each) numbers and are scarce today. Also, the 1880 was struck with 2 differently shaped zeros in the date….the one with the narrow zero being very scarce. Here are the different dates produced 1865, 1872H, 1873, 1876H, 1880, 1885, 1888, 1890, 1894, 1896.

The King Edward Large Cents are very similar to the Victorian coins with the obvious change of monarch on the obverse. Only 3 dates were struck 1904H (a bit scarcer), 1907, and 1909…the last 2 being quite common in circulated condition.

Again King George V Large Cents are a continuation of the series with very little in terms of change of design. Since the Royal Canadian Mint was now open in Ottawa, large cents were produced there for the 1917, 1919, and 1920 issues. These can be differentiated by a little letter C put on the coins. The other dates 1913, 1929, and 1936 were produced in England. Interestingly, Newfoundland continued to issue the large size cents until 1936, even though Canada adopted the smaller cent size (that we still use today) in 1920.

In 1938 small cents appeared with a bust of George VI. Dated issued include 1938, 1940, 1941C, 1942, 1943C, 1944C, 1947C. All are relative common in used condition…and some can even be found in new red condition…these of course command higher prices. The date side of the coin features an image of the Pitcher plant in bloom. It is an unusual plant in that it is an insectivore, insects are attracted to it by a sweet syrup it produces…and are then trapped and eaten.

 

Next week we will look at some of the interesting and rare 5 Cent coins….

 

Michael Joffre is owner of Carsley Whetstone & Company Inc. a firm that buys and sells rare coins and related collectables. He is always interested in buying older coin collections. CWC also carries a full line of books and collecting supplies, available in stock in their retail store. Michael can be reached at 514-289-9761, or at sales@carsleys.com. For more information please visit www.carsleys.com

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Canadian Coins from 1911

 Its time again to get into the time machine, and travel back exactly 100 years to visit the interesting coinage of 1911.

 

The year before, George V became king, and of course it was necessary to change the Canadian coinage the in 1911 to reflect this. Many exciting changes were planned, but not all worked out right away.

 

The reverse (side with the date) stayed the same as under Georges V`s father Edward VII, with only the date of course, modified.

 

The obverse of 1911 coins (the side with the monarchs head), was changed to be a crowned portrait of the new king, but because the designers felt the original legend was too crowded they left out the DEI GRA (by the grace of God). This caused much concern in the public, and the new coins were termed `Godless` since even back to Victorian times all Canadian coins contained this phrase. The next year changes were made to fix this and add the DEI GRA, so 1911 remains the only year in Canadian coinage with this omission.

 

Although there was not much creativity with design, the new Royal Canadian Mint (which began in 1908) came up with some interesting new denominations. Previously, the 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 cent pieces and a gold sovereign were struck. Adding to this there were proposals for a new 1 Dollar coin, a $5 gold coin and a $10 gold coin. The 2 latter did not make it to mass production for 1911 but were issued in large quantities for the public beginning in 1912. The 1911 gold coins are patterns and are VERY rarely available for sale. They would likely fetch $100,000 plus from serious collectors.

 

The rarest and arguably most valuable Canadian coin is the 1911 Dollar. This was never issued to the public, and it was not until 1935 (George V 25th anniversary) that we actually had silver dollars in circulation. From the information available it seems only 3 were made. 2 in silver, and 1 in lead. The National Currency Collection in Ottawa has on of each in the 2 metals, leaving only 1 silver Dollar to be had. This single coin has sold back and forth many times in the coin market. It is very likely a $1,000,000 + item today.

 

For those who were collectors 100 years ago, and made a visit to Ottawa, special Specimen sets were made available. These were produced in very limited numbers, and all the coins were specially struck to have sharper details, and were handled with care so that they did not get scratched. They were house in a very nice leather case. As is often when there is a new monarch, collectors will want a souvenir set of coins. There were 3 types of sets produced, one of which had the 1911 Dollar. This one must have been a presentation set for someone important, and likely not made available to the public. The second set contained all of the 1911 coins 1,5,10,25,50 cents plus the gold sovereign, plus the 1912 $5 & $10 gold. The retail price was set at $24 or roughly $3 above face value (a $60K-$100K in todays market). The less expensive option was a set of just the 50 cents and down…with obviously a much lower selling price.

 

 

Many readers have been contacting me about ways to read articles they may have missed. I have created a new website www.montrealcoinexpert.com with all of the articles I have written in the last few years.

 

Michael Joffre is owner of Carsley Whetstone & Company Inc. a firm that buys and sells rare coins and related collectables. He is always interested in buying older coin collections. CWC also carries a full line of books and collecting supplies, available in stock in their retail store. Michael can be reached at 514-289-9761, or at sales@carsleys.com. For more information please visit www.carsleys.com

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Silver Coins are Worth Digging Up

 

 

With silver prices currently hovering around $30 per ounce, it may be time to look in the sock drawer for those pieces once put away and now forgotten.

 

For those with a few grey hairs, you will remember that in the late 1960`s Canada stopped producing our circulating coins out of this wonderful white metal. In 1967 silver prices rose to over $2 an ounce…meaning that much of the older coins made from 80% silver were now worth 20% more than face value…this obviously was a problem. To solve this economic drain, in 1967 the Royal Canadian Mint lowered the silver content to only 50%, but this was just a quick fix. By late 1968 all new coinage 10 cent and up was being produced in nickel, and the great Canadian hoarding of silver was under way. Within a very short period of time no silver coins could be found in circulation…they were now being sent out of the country to be melted, or we safely tucked away in safety deposit boxes, basements, and sock drawers.

 

40 something years have passed, and those who were doing the saving are now in their later years or have passed their holdings on to another generation. Those who are on the receiving end of these coin finds, they look at amazement at all of the older coins…some dating back 100 years made out of the old tarnished metal.

 

We often (many times per day!) get calls from these folks, wondering if they have found a major treasure of rare coins. Unfortunately, most (99.99+%) of the coins that were saved during this period are only worth the silver value. The rare stuff was already removed from circulation another generation before (in the 1940`s and early 1950`s) by eager collectors looking for the rarer years. By 1968 virtually no rare coins could be found. The good news is that these coins do have quite a bit of value as silver. Prices do change daily, but you can expect anywhere from 10 to 15 times the face value for your 1966 and earlier coinage from a major dealer. The price you get will likely depend on how much you have (dealers are more likely to offer more on bigger quantities), and what the current price of silver is trading at. A small jar with $200 face value can be worth $2,000 to $3,000! Worth checking out.

Another product many Montrealers purchased was the 1976 Olympic coin series (certainly worth a future article in itself). Although the production numbers were astronomical (millions of coins), and the pieces will likely not have any value for rarity, they are quite heavy, and are made of 92.5% silver.

 

Many readers have been contacting me about ways to read articles they may have missed. I have created a new website www.montrealcoinexpert.com with all of the articles I have written in the last few years.

 

Michael Joffre is owner of Carsley Whetstone & Company Inc. a firm that buys and sells rare coins and related collectables. He is always interested in buying older coin collections. CWC also carries a full line of books and collecting supplies, available in stock in their retail store. Michael can be reached at 514-289-9761, or at sales@carsleys.com. For more information please visit www.carsleys.com

 

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Canadian Coins from 1911

Its time again to get into the time machine, and travel back exactly 100 years to visit the interesting coinage of 1911.
The year before, George V became king, and of course it was necessary to change the Canadian coinage the in 1911 to reflect this. Many exciting changes were planned, but not all worked out right away.
The reverse (side with the date) stayed the same as under Georges V`s father Edward VII, with only the date of course, modified.
The obverse of 1911 coins (the side with the monarchs head), was changed to be a crowned portrait of the new king, but because the designers felt the original legend was too crowded they left out the DEI GRA (by the grace of God). This caused much concern in the public, and the new coins were termed `Godless` since even back to Victorian times all Canadian coins contained this phrase. The next year changes were made to fix this and add the DEI GRA, so 1911 remains the only year in Canadian coinage with this omission.
Although there was not much creativity with design, the new Royal Canadian Mint (which began in 1908) came up with some interesting new denominations. Previously, the 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 cent pieces and a gold sovereign were struck. Adding to this there were proposals for a new 1 Dollar coin, a $5 gold coin and a $10 gold coin. The 2 latter did not make it to mass production for 1911 but were issued in large quantities for the public beginning in 1912. The 1911 gold coins are patterns and are VERY rarely available for sale. They would likely fetch $100,000 plus from serious collectors.
The rarest and arguably most valuable Canadian coin is the 1911 Dollar. This was never issued to the public, and it was not until 1935 (George V 25th anniversary) that we actually had silver dollars in circulation. From the information available it seems only 3 were made. 2 in silver, and 1 in lead. The National Currency Collection in Ottawa has on of each in the 2 metals, leaving only 1 silver Dollar to be had. This single coin has sold back and forth many times in the coin market. It is very likely a $1,000,000 + item today.
For those who were collectors 100 years ago, and made a visit to Ottawa, special Specimen sets were made available. These were produced in very limited numbers, and all the coins were specially struck to have sharper details, and were handled with care so that they did not get scratched. They were house in a very nice leather case. As is often when there is a new monarch, collectors will want a souvenir set of coins. There were 3 types of sets produced, one of which had the 1911 Dollar. This one must have been a presentation set for someone important, and likely not made available to the public. The second set contained all of the 1911 coins 1,5,10,25,50 cents plus the gold sovereign, plus the 1912 $5 & $10 gold. The retail price was set at $24 or roughly $3 above face value (a $60K-$100K in todays market). The less expensive option was a set of just the 50 cents and down…with obviously a much lower selling price.
Many readers have been contacting me about ways to read articles they may have missed. I have created a new website www.montrealcoinexpert.com with all of the articles I have written in the last few years.
Michael Joffre is owner of Carsley Whetstone & Company Inc. a firm that buys and sells rare coins and related collectables. He is always interested in buying older coin collections. CWC also carries a full line of books and collecting supplies, available in stock in their retail store. Michael can be reached at 514-289-9761, or at sales@carsleys.com. For more information please visit www.carsleys.com

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