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This article concerns Canadian coinage, the coinage of Canada. Modern Canadian coins are produced by the Royal Canadian Mint and denominated in Canadian dollars ($) or cents (¢). To see the list of coins, seek the category positioned at the bottom of the article.
There are seven denominations of Canadian coinage circulating: 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1, and $2. In everyday speech they are respectively called (in English) the penny, nickel, dime, quarter, fifty-cent piece or half-dollar, loonie, and toonie, although none of these names are official. The fifty-cent piece, though in circulation, is far less common to find than other coins. Except for the $2, these denominations correspond to those of United States coinage. The sizes of the coins less than 50¢ are identical to those of U.S. coins, though this was not always the case. The US penny settled on its current size in 1857, whereas the Canadian penny was much larger (25.4 mm) until 1920. There was some correspondence between the size of Canadian coins and British coins of similar value. For example, the large Canadian penny was identical in size and value to the contemporary British half-penny, which was 25.4 millimetres in the Edward VII version, and slightly larger during Victoria's reign. Likewise, the Canadian quarter (23.81 mm diameter) was virtually identical in size and value to the British shilling (worth ~24 Canadian cents, or 12 British pennies, with a 24 mm diameter). The Canadian 5 cent coin, until the larger nickel coins of 1922, were 15 mm silver coins quite different from the US Liberty Head Nickels of 1883-1913, which were 21.2 mm and copper/nickel alloy.
Modest quantities of U.S. coinage circulate in Canada at par, and some Canadian coins (generally those with value less than fifty cent) circulate in the United States as well, though recent changes to the appearance and composition of Canadian coinage have made acceptance of these coins by merchants in the United States less certain. This partial interchangeability led to some concern when the United States Mint decided that the new Sacagawea Dollar coin would have the same diameter and colouring as the Canadian $1 coin, the "loonie", although this proved to be a non-issue.
Introduction of $1 and $2 coinsEdit
The most significant recent developments in Canadian currency were the withdrawal of the $1 and $2 bills in 1987 and 1996, respectively, and their replacement with coins of new design. The $1 coin (the "loonie") -- which replaced both the one dollar banknote and the voyageur-design silver (then nickel) dollar coins -- were first issued in 1987, and are colloquially called "loonies," for the common loon on its reverse, and the name is frequently applied to the currency unit as well. It is made of nickel plated with aureate bronze. The $2 coin, carrying a polar bear, introduced in 1996, is called by analogy the "toonie" and is bimetallic. Unlike several U.S. attempts to introduce a dollar coin, the new coins were quickly accepted by the public, owing largely to the fact that the mint and government forced the switch by removing the $1 and $2 bills from circulation.
The Canadian government has occasionally considered the possibility of eliminating the 1¢ coin from circulation, though as of early 2007 no serious discussion has been undertaken about dropping the coin. However, in May 2012, the Royal Canadian Mint announced they would cease production of cent coins. When it was first announced, the penny was to be demonitized in November. However, around August-September of that year, they moved the date to May 2013, to help in the 2012 holiday shopping season. Rumours that the government was considering a $5 coin to replace the bill have yet to be realized. In fact, there were some rumours that the government would make an $8 coin, probably for the convenience of buying its already popular $8 moose stamps, circulating around this time. These have also been few and far between.
Canadian coins are issued by the Royal Canadian Mint and struck at their facilities in Winnipeg. All special wording on commemorative coins appears in both of Canada's languages, English and French. All of the standard wording on the reverse sides of non-commemorative coins is identical in both languages. On the obverse sides, the name and title of the Canadian Monarch appear in an abbreviated-Latin circumscription. Currently, this reads "ELIZABETH II D. G. REGINA." The initials stand for "Dei Gratia;" the entire phrase means "Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, Queen."
The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics commemorative quarters have dropped the inscription "D.G. REGINA," and they read "CANADA ELIZABETH II," along with the date of issue and Ilanaaq, the emblem of the games.
Beginning in 1858, the Province of Canada began issuing decimal coins, based on the value of the American dollar, due to an influx of American silver; by 1870, the rest of Canada (including Newfoundland, not yet a province) had followed.
Canadian coins were originally issued in bronze (1¢, Nova Scotia 0.5¢ in 1861-64) and silver (in 5¢, 10¢, and 20¢ denominations), all legal tender across Canada with Confederation.
Beginning in 1870, the penny disappeared (reappearing in 1876), the quarter supplanted the 20¢, and a 50¢ silver coin was added. The designs were standardized with the head of Queen Victoria on the obverse, value and date with a crowned maple wreath reverse (except the penny, which had a maple vine circlet).Edward VII supplanted Victoria on her death, followed by George V in 1911.
Gold coins for circulation (earlier rejected "for fear of committing a breach of the Royal Prerogative") were issued from 1912 to 1914 only, in $5 and $10 denominations, though sovereigns, to British standards, were issued in small quantities for some years; reissue plans were dropped in 1928.
The cent became smaller in 1920, and in 1922, copying an earlier change in the United States, the 5¢ coin was enlarged and changed to nickel; unlike the United States, pure nickel was used except during World War II (when tombac, a cupro-zinc alloy, was used, leading to the nickname "blackout nickel") and the Korean War, due to nickel shortages. A silver dollar coin similar to that issued in the United States was first proposed in 1911 and a few trial pieces exist (one of which is in a museum in Ottawa and the other sold to a private collector a few years ago for C$1.1 million), but a proper dollar coin did not arrive until 1935, celebrating George V's silver jubilee. It was retained with new coinages every year (except 1939-44) until 1967.
For 1937, on the ascension of George VI, all-new designs appeared, with the sovereign's head on the obverse, which persist (changed only by the switch to Elizabeth II in 1953 and a new draped bust in 1965) to this day: the penny with two maple leaves, the 5¢ beaver, the 10¢ schooner (commonly believed to be Bluenose, she is in fact a composite), the quarter a caribou head, Canada's coat of arms on the 50¢, and two voyageurs in a canoe on the $1. The percentage of silver in silver coins was reduced in 1920 from 92.5% to 80%, and to 50% in 1967, when production of dollar and half-dollar coins for circulation was stopped. In 1968, the dime and quarter changed to 50% silver, while in August, all were replaced by pure nickel ones of the same size or (in the case of the 50¢ and $1) nearly so. The rising price of nickel eventually forced the 5¢ coin (commonly called the "nickel") to be changed to cupro-nickel in 1982.
At about the same time the 1¢ coin was twice made smaller, and in 1997 it was changed to copper-plated zinc. Finally, in 2000 all coins below $1 were changed to steel with copper or nickel plating. Unfortunately, there have been some problems with compatibility between the new coins and coin-operated devices like vending machines and public telephones. The 50¢ piece is regularly minted, but not in large quantities; it is very rare to come across this coin in circulation, although an unsuccessful attempt was made by the Mint to promote the use of the coin when a special edition was released in 2002 marking the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II ascending the throne.
Queen Victoria coinageEdit
1871 50¢ bearing the effigy of Queen Victoria. Coins of the Province of Canada, then a British colony, with the image of Queen Victoria were struck in 1858 at the Royal Mint, London, England, in denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 20 cents. The 1¢ coin was issued again in 1859, but it was very unpopular due to its extremely light weight. The coins had to be discounted by around 20% to get them into circulation.
After Confederation, coinage of the Dominion of Canada began in 1870 and Victoria coins in the denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents were issued most years until 1901.
King Edward VII coinageEdit
In 1902, the first coins of King Edward VII's coinage was issued. The 1902 5¢ coin is of interest to collectors, as its design includes the outmoded St. Edward's Crown instead of the Imperial State Crown. These coins were hoarded upon being issued, as the public believed that an error had been made. In 1903, the design on the 5¢ was modified accordingly.
In 1907, Heaton's Mint struck its last issue of Canadian coins - the 1907H 1¢, which is quite scarce. In 1908, the Royal Canadian Mint at Ottawa was opened. At that time the Ottawa mint was known as the Royal Mint, Ottawa branch. The name "Royal Canadian Mint" was first used in 1931.
The reverse design on the 10¢ coins include several varieties in relation to the leaves.
King George VEdit
This coinage is affectionately known as the "Godless" coinage, because the abbreviation "DEI GRA", (for "DEI GRATIA" or "[king] by the grace of God"), was omitted from King George V's titles. When the public noticed this, there was a huge outcry at this breach of tradition, and the phrase was later restored. In a similar fashion, all the values of Indian coins made in 1911 left out the "DEI GRATIA". All the coins from the 1¢ to 50¢ were issued. The 50¢ is the scarcest of all the coins minted in 1911 with a mintage of 209,972. The Canadian Coin News publication printed an article showing a well-worn 1911 50¢ example that did have the "DEI GRA" abbreviation. As of yet, this coin has not been certified as genuine, having been rejected by ICCS, the popular Canadian grading company. The 1911 pattern dollar coin was produced with the 'DEI GRA' abbreviation on the 2 known silver examples and the 1 known example in lead.
The large 1¢ coin was struck up to and including 1920, when it was replaced with a small 1¢ coin, copying an earlier change in the United States. The small 1¢ coin was struck in 1920 as well. There are a few key dates in the series, (1922-26, 1930-31), with the 1925 being the rarest, although 1923 dated coins are the most valuable.
The fineness of the silver coins was changed from .925 fine silver to .800 fine silver in 1920. In 1921, the last silver 5¢ coins were struck. These are extremely rare, numbering less than 400. In 1922, the first nickel 5¢ coins were struck.
There are a few scarce dates, especially the 1925 and the 1926. There are two types of the 1926: the "near 6" type, which has the tail of the 6 lower down and near to the maple leaf, and the rarer "far 6" type. The 1921 50¢ is also an extremely rare coin. It is the rarest of the King George V series.
The 1936 coins are technically a posthumous issue under King Edward VIII, as King George V died on January 20, 1936, but as the coins depict King George V's portrait, they are included here.
The first Canadian silver $1 coin was issued as a commemorative coin in 1935 to commemorate King George V's Silver Jubilee. The portrait of the King on this coin was the same as that of the coins of several other countries. This coin also bears the famous coureur des bois design, which was designed by Emmanuel Hahn. This coin, and others issued since with this reverse design, have the affectionate nickname of "voyageur dollars".
There was a pressing demand for 1¢, 10¢, and 25¢ coins, but as the Royal Canadian Mint was waiting for new tools and matrices to arrive from the Royal Mint, the decision was made to strike coins dated 1936, but a dot would be added in the area near the date to indicate that the coins were struck in 1937. The 1¢ and 10¢ coins with the dot are excessively rare, so rare in fact that only four or five specimens are known. The 25¢ coin is a very difficult coin to find.
King George VIEdit
In late 1937, the tools and matrices finally arrived from London, so the issue of the new coins of the reign of King George VI was struck immediately (his predecessor, Edward VIII, abdicated before production of any Canadian coinage with his likeness could commence). The coins' current designs date from this period. The coins were as follows:
1 Cent - A twig with two maple leaves. (Designer: George Kruger-Gray). 5 Cents - A beaver sitting on a log. (Designer: George Kruger-Gray). 10 Cents - The famous Nova Scotian racing yacht Bluenose. (Designer: Emmanuel Hahn) 25 Cents - A caribou's head. (Designer: Emmanuel Hahn) 50 Cents - The Coat-of-Arms of Canada. (Designer: George Kruger-Gray). 1 Dollar - Voyageur. (Designer: Emmanuel Hahn). There was also a silver $1 that was issued in 1939 to commemorate the Royal Visit. This was also designed by Emmanuel Hahn. In 1949, they also made a special $1 with John Cabot's ship, the "Matthew".
In 1951, Canada commemorated the 200th anniversary of the discovery of nickel by issuing special 5-cent coins. The coins feature several buildings and a central tower. They were struck in a different metal than the regular-issue coins, which were made of chromium and nickel-plated steel to save nickel for the Korean War effort.
Canada's George VI cents and nickels are the only remaining George VI coinage in any nation that remains in circulation and has not been either demonetized or effectively withdrawn from circulation due to precious metal content.
1947 Maple Leaf CentEdit
Through 1947 the George VI coins bore the inscription GEORGIVS VI D:G: REX ET IND:IMP: ("Georgius VI, Dei Gratia, Rex et Indiae Imperator", or "George VI, by the grace of God, King and Emperor of India"). But as India became independent that year as the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan, "Emperor of India" needed to be dropped from the coinage. However, there was a demand for coinage. So, while waiting for the new tools and matrices to arrive from the Royal Mint, the decision was made to strike 1947-dated coinage, but a maple leaf symbol would be added next to the date to indicate that the coins were actually struck in 1948. The silver $1 exists in two types: "tall 7" and "short 7". The voyageur $1 is also the rarest coin. The 1¢ is the most common coin. The 1¢ exists as two varieties, "blunt 7" and "pointed 7". The blunt 7 is scarcer and thus more valuable. The upper part of the 7 near the maple twig is slightly blunted compared to the normally found pointed variety. The pointed 7 is actually the same as used on the 1947 regular-issue 1¢. The 50¢ coin also exists with two "7" varieties. While fairly scarce, the curved left (or straight) 7 is much more common than the curved right 7. The regular 1947 50¢ coins also came with left and right curved 7 numerals. These 1947 varieties without the maple leaf are similarly valued except for the curved right 7 in extremely high grade. The 1947 maple leaf 5¢, 10¢, and 25¢ do not have notable varieties and are all fairly common coins.
King George VI royal coinage (1948-52)Edit
The new tools and matrices arrived from London, so the issuing of the Maple Leaf coinage ceased as a result. The obverse of the coins is inscribed GEORGIVS VI DEI GRATIA REX (George VI by the Grace of God, King). During the issue of this coinage, a commemorate silver $1 was struck in 1949 to commemorate Newfoundland becoming the tenth province of Canada. The 1948 coins are very scarce, especially the 50¢ and the silver $1. This is due to the slow delivery of the modified tools and matrices from London.
In this coinage, there are several notable varieties. The first of these is the 1950 "no lines in 0" 50¢ coin. The most famous variety of this series is the "Arnprior Dollar", which has one and a half waterlines near the bow of the canoe instead of the normal three waterlines. This variety is named after the town of Arnprior, Ontario, where this variety was discovered.
In 1949, they also made a special $1 with John Cabot's ship, the "Matthew". In 1951, Canada commemorated the 200th anniversary of the discovery of nickel by issuing special 5-cent coins. The coins feature several buildings and a central tower. They were struck in a different metal than the regular-issue coins, which were made of chromium and nickel-plated steel to save nickel for the Korean War effort.
Queen Elizabeth II ObverseEdit
1990 portrait by Dora dePedery-HuntSeveral series of coins issued under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, including the current series. The first was the 1953-1959 coins. In 1960, the 50¢ piece was redesigned. The coins were debased in 1968 (although precious-metal coins from the 1953-68 period continue to widely circlate, particularly 10-cent and 25-cent coins). The dime of 1969 has two varieties, a large 9 (rare) and small 9 (common). In 1973, an RCMP quarter came out; it also has two varieties, a large bust(rare) and small bust (common).
In 1967, Canada celebrated its 100th anniversary as a country. To commemorate it, they produced special cents, nickels, dimes, quarters, halves, and dollar coins.
The cent coins had a dove with wings spread.
The nickel coins had a snowshoe rabbit bounding left.
The dime coins had an Atlantic mackeral facing left. These come in two varieties: 80% silver and 40% silver.
The quarter coins had a lynx striding left. These come in two varieties: 80% silver and 40% silver.
The half dollar coins had a seated wolf howling. There is only one variety for this coin.
The dollar coins had a goose flying left.
Between 1970 and 1987, Canada produced twenty-two different commemorative dollar coins. Of those, 16 are silver and are worth more than one dollar today.
In 1987, the "loonie" was introduced, replacing the voyageur dollar with a new design, new colour, and smaller size. This coin also replaced the $1 bill, which was subsequently withdrawn from circulation by the Bank of Canada. In February 1996, the $2 coin, or toonie, was released; it currently has three varieties. (Early examples had problems with the centers being punched out in circulation.) The toonie replaced the $2 bill. To date there have been four different obverse portraits of the Queen used on Canadian coinage, with new portraits introduced in 1953, 1965, 1990 and 2003. Prior to 1990, the Queen's portraits (1953 by Mary Gillick and 1965 by Arnold Machin) were designed by the British Royal Mint, and were similar to those used on British, Australian and New Zealander coinage. The 1990 and 2003 portraits are designed by Canadian artists, 1990 effigy by Dora dePedery-Hunt and 2003 effigy by Susanna Blunt, and are unique to Canadian coinage.
Special Edition CoinsEdit
Although the Mint has produced many special edition coins in recent years, Canada does have a history of such coins. From 1943 to 1945, the Mint issued the "Tombac Nickel" to promote the Canadian war effort. In 1967, all Canadian coins were issued with special reverses to celebrate the Canadian centennial. Six years later, a "Mountie quarter" was issued in 1973 to commemorate the centennial of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
In recent years, the Mint has issued several series of coins with special reverses. Most of them have been 25¢ coins, particularly in the years 1999–2001. There were also versions of the $2 coin commemorating the founding of Nunavut, and another with a family of polar bears; there have been several variants of the $1 coin, one of which featured the Canadian peacekeepers' monument in Ottawa to commemorate the award of the Nobel Peace Prize. A commemorative Terry Fox $1 coin began circulating on April 4, 2005.
On October 21, 2004, the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled a 25¢ poppy coin. This coin features a red-coloured poppy embedded in the centre of a maple leaf above a banner reading "Remember - Souvenir". While some countries' mints have produced colourized coins for market to collectors, this is the first colourized coin in general circulation in the world.
The Mint states that, with normal wear and tear, the colour should remain for a number of years, although this claim was quickly disproved. The colouration compounds are attached to the metal on a specially prepared 'dimpled' section of the coin, and seem to come off easily if deliberately rubbed. The coin will retain its full value even if the red poppy has worn off or been removed; however it is now expected that fully coloured specimens will become collectible in the future.
In an isolated incident in the United States these coins were briefly reported as a possible 'spy tool' by some US Defense Contractors unfamiliar with the odd-seeming coin and raised espionage warnings until the situation was clairified.
On May 4, 2005 the Mint unveiled a new "Victory nickel", reminiscent of the original issued during the Second World War. The new coin commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Allied victory in World War II. A mintage of 59,258,000 Victory nickels were produced and treated as regular circulation coins.
In 2005, 25¢ and $5 coins commemorating the centennial of two of Canada's provinces were released: the coin for Alberta represents oil exploration in that province; the coin for Saskatchewan depicts a singing meadowlark and a grain elevator. Later the same year, the Mint later issued a Year Of The Veteran coin to honour military veterans, again in the 25¢ denomination.
As of fall/autumn 2004, the highest-denomination coin minted in Canada is a $350 gold coin produced for the collector market, though the bullion values make its market value much higher than its face value. On February 21, 2007, the mint announced that they would be producing a 100 kilogram coin the size of a large pizza with a face value of $1 million. When produced, this new coin will bear the highest face value in the world, using approximately $2 million of 99.999% pure bullion, and is expected to sell for $2.25 million.
Several urban legends and other bits of false information have circulated regarding Canadian coinage.
You can pop the center out of a toonie. This is (or was) in fact true. Many toonies in the first shipment of the coins were defective, and could separate if struck hard or frozen, as the center piece would shrink more than the outside. This problem was quickly corrected, and the initial wave of "toonie popping" blew over a few months after the coin's introduction. The 50¢ piece is no longer minted and/or has been withdrawn from circulation. The 50¢ coin indeed circulates so little that many people have never personally seen nor handled one. Shop proprietors have been known to refuse to accept them as payment because they do not recognize them as Canadian currency. However, the RCM continues to produce the 50¢ coin annually for coin collections such as the Uncirculated, Specimen, and Proof Sets. Although the RCM does produce the coin in small numbers (in 2005, the mintage for the coins was 200,000, and the coins were not produced for circulation in 2003 and 2004); most of them are purchased by coin collectors. The remainder go to banks, though most do not give them out unless the customer specifically requests so. Given enough notice, any bank should be able to obtain them in a significant quantity for their customers. The 50¢ coin is also commonly handed out as regular change at some Canada Post locations. An attempt at widening the circulation of the 50-cent piece was made in 2002 with the release of a specially designed coin marking the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, which was circulated through the Laura Secord store chain in Canada. The crown is wrong in the Queen's portrait. When the new coin portrait was first issued in 1990 (see above), a legend surfaced that the artist had simply added the image of a crown to a portrait of the Queen, and that she was never meant to be seen wearing that headgear. This is patently false; she posed personally for the portrait wearing one of her usual crowns.
Circulation coin factsEdit
The History of Queen Elizabeth II's Effigy 1953 - (No Shoulder Fold vs. Shoulder Fold) The coronation of a new Monarch meant a new Effigy. Due to an issue with the portrait model for the new Queen Elizabeth, two obverse varieties, termed the No Shoulder Fold and the Shoulder Fold obverses were found in circulation during 1953. The portrait model was prepared in England by a sculptress, Mary Gillick. The relief of this model was too high. This had an impact on the new effigy because the centre portion containing two lines on the shoulder (representing a fold in the Queen's gown) did not strike up well on the coins. This obverse had been termed the "No Shoulder Strap" variety by numismatists.
Later in 1953, Mint authorities decided to correct the defects in the obverse design. Thomas Shingles, the Chief Engraver of the RCM, was summoned to lower the relief of the model. The result was that he had strengthened the shoulder and hair detail. This revised obverse (often called "The Shoulder Strap" variety due to the resemblance of the lines to a strap) was introduced before the end of the year. This was accepted as the standard obverse. Unfortunately, the No Shoulder Fold obverse saw new life as it was used to produce some of the 1954 cents for the Proof-like sets and a small quantity of 1955 cents for circulation. The 1955 No Shoulder Fold Variety is the most desired with collectors.
1965 - Starting in 1965, the Effigy of Her Majesty the Queen underwent the first of three changes. This new obverse featured the Queen with more mature facial features. The wearing of a tiara was the other aspect of the new effigy.
1990 - A new obverse debuted with the Queen now wearing a diamond diadem and jewellery. Although the effigy changed in 2003, this crowned portrait is still used on all Chinese Lunar New Year coins.
2003 - To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Coronation of Her Majesty the Queen, a new obverse was introduced. The unique feature of this effigy was that the Queen was now featured without a crown. This would mark the first time that the effigy of a Monarch did not wear a crown since Elizabeth's father King George VI, a half-century earlier.
Maple Leaf Issue 1947 The British Empire's decision to grant India its independence created a unique problem for the Royal Canadian Mint in early 1948. The effigy of His Majesty would be altered to reflect the change. No longer would the phrase "ET IND:IMP" (meaning Emperor of India) be visible on the effigy. This resulted in the production of new Master tools, but they would not arrive for a couple of months. Despite this, there was still a demand for circulation coins.
The Mint had no alternative but to strike coins with the date of 1947 with the effigy bearing an out of date title. As a means of distinguishing between the original strikings of 1947, a small maple leaf was placed after the date. Once the Master tools were received with the phrase "ET IND:IMP" removed from the effigy, the 1947 Maple Leaf coinage no longer continued. For the remainder of the year, all coins that were produced had the new effigy and the appropriate date, 1948, on its reverse. All 1948 coin denominations are key dates, with the 1948 silver dollar being especially rare.
Missing Loonie 1997 - Between 1997 and 2001, the One Dollar Loon coin was not issued for general circulation. Due to the high demand for the Two Dollar Polar Bear coin (mintages between 1997 and 2001 were as high as 29 million in 2000 alone), the dollar coin was only produced for the standard collector sets that were made available on an annual basis, such as the Uncirculated, Oh Canada, Specimen and Proof sets.
New Mint Mark in 2006 In an effort to build the brand, the Royal Canadian Mint implemented a policy in which all its circulation and collector coins would bear a new Mint Mark. Unveiled at the Canadian Numismatic Association convention in Niagara Falls, Ontario in July 2006, the Mint Mark was a reproduction of the Royal Canadian Mint logo.
The first circulation coin to bear the new Mint Mark was the 10th Anniversary Two Dollar coin, illustrated by Tony Bianco. This would mean that the "P" Mint Mark which recognized the plating technology would no longer be used. For collectors, the first collector coin to feature the new Mint Mark was the Snowbirds Coin and Stamp Set.
Rarest Canadian Coin In the Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins, a 1911 coin is valued at $1,000,000. There are only 2 known specimens in sterling silver, and one specimen in lead. One of the silver specimens and the lead specimen are located at the Bank of Canada's currency museum, while the other is in a private collection. The 1911 coin sets were originally planned to include the $1, but the sets came with an empty gap where the $1 coin was supposed to be.
Rarest Canadian Circulation Coin Among numismatists, the 1921 50-cent coin is considered the rarest Canadian circulation coin. In the Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins 2006 Edition, a 1921 coin in MS-63 condition is valued at $125,000. Despite a mintage of 206,398 coins, there was a very low demand for 50-cent coins in the 1920s. The belief is that most of the 50-cent coins from 1920 and 1921 were melted (amounting to approximately 480,392 coins). <3> The reason for the melting was that new coins were needed for 1929 and if coins from 1920 and 1921 were released into circulation, people would suspect counterfeit coins. According to legend, only 75 of these coins still exist, and most of those are from Specimen Sets that were sold to people who visited the RC Mint.
Victory Nickel (Tombac 1943-1944) (Steel 1944-1945)
The five-cent piece underwent a design change for the first time since 1937 when the Beaver was first introduced. The new reverse featured a striking V design. In the interest of promoting the war effort, the famous V sign from Winston Churchill was adopted. Perhaps, the most unusual aspect of this coin was the Morse Code. The meaning was "We Win When We Work Willingly". It is not uncommon that the edge of the Steel versions of the V Nickel were known to rust.
Due to high demands for copper and zinc during the war effort, the use of Tombac was suspended. A new composition of steel with .0127 mm plating of nickel and .0003 mm plating of chromium was now the norm. Unfortunately, the plating process of these coins meant that strips had to be plated before blanks were punched out. The end result was that the edges of the blanks were unplated. Although the RCM would return to nickel after WWII, the Korean war effort resulted in the use of steel again in 1951. Some of the steel coins were later discovered to have only the nickel plating and had a grey rather than the usual "bluish" appearance. Until recently, this variety did not command a premium price from collectors, but the fact that some years are rarer than others has started to generate interest in this variety.