Often we get calls at the office asking us which Canadian coins are the most expensive and or desirable. This is a tough question to answer as there are many expensive coins. What makes a coin valuable is a combination of low production (not many made), low survival rate (not many saved), and condition. There were very few coin collectors before WWII, and as a result coins from the 1930`s and before are really tough to find in new condition.
All this being said, here is a list of some of my favorite rare Canadian coins…
1 Cent 1859 Brass. About 10 million were made in copper, but a few were also struck in brass. Worth over $10,000 in nice condition. The copper ones are only worth a couple dollars.
1 Cent 1936 Dot. These are only struck for Specimen sets….so do not bother looking in you penny jar…you will not have one. A large clear dot is visible on the bottom of the date. Only a few are known. The last sale for a really nice condition one was $402,000 US Dollars.
5 Cents 1921. Most were melted…but about 400 or so are known…so this is possible to find. Worth thousands $$$ in undamaged condition.
5 Cents 1944 Tombac. Almost every Canadian 5 cent 1944 is made of steel. It is a white coin with a V for victory. The mint indicates they minted 8,000 coins in the yellowy grey tombac variety, that look similar to the 1943 nickel in color…but I know of only 1 that exists. Legend has it is was once in our coin shop in the 1960`s…priced a `crazy`several hundred dollars. Today this coin would likely be worth at least $30,000….or more.
10 Cents 1889. Very low mintage combined with a low survival rate make this a really tough coin to find in any condition.
50 Cents 1921. This is the King of of Canadian coins. Almost the entire mintage was melted. Around 75 examples remain. Nice examples are worth $20,000+.
50 Cents 1947 Maple Leaf Curved Right 7. On some of the 1947 Cents coins there is a small maple leaf after the date, and of those the 7 is either curved right or left at the bottom. Curved right is a very rare variety, worth over $1,000 even in circulated condition.
1911 Canadian Silver Dollar. This is really considered a pattern since it was never issued for circulation. At the time the mint considered a silver dollar issue….but it took until 1935 for it to actually happen. They created a stunning looking silver dollar, and minted only 2 in silver (and I believe one in lead). All of these are house in the bank of Canada museum, execept one of the ones in silver. So there is only one òwnable`example. It has traded hands over the years, each time for more money. If it was up for sale these days, a price of more than a million dollars would not be shocking.
French Regime coins of 1670. During that year the king decided to issue coins specifically for the French colonies in America (of which we were one). Arguably these are the first `Canadian`coins. The copper Double is unique, the 15 Sols (a nice silver coin the size of a 50 cent piece or so) is very rare with about 14 known, about half of which are in museums, and the 5 Sols (a similar design to the 15 Sols but smaller) has about 75 to 100 examples known. Only the latter is really obtainable for most collectors, and has always been considered a special coin.
Each collector will have their favorites, as there are many other rare Canadian coins, many with interesting stories about their history. Feel free to contact us with yours.
Michael Joffre is the President of Carsley Whetstone & Company Inc. Since 1928 they have been serving collectors as one of Canada`s premiere coin dealers. Michael is always interested in purchasing coin and paper money collections, and can be reached at 514-289-9761, or firstname.lastname@example.org