A rare set of specimen notes prepared for the Bank of Canada was
sold at auction for $16,000 Jan. 13 by Stack’s Bowers Galleries during
the New York International Numismatic Convention Jan. 9 to 12 in New
The eight-piece set was estimated to bring $15,000 to $25,000.
The set, featuring denominations from $1 to $1,000, is one of only
seven possible sets, since only seven of the $1,000 specimen notes are known.
The set features examples of the short-lived 1954 Canadian notes
variety known as the “Devil’s Face” series, featuring a portrait
vignette of Queen Elizabeth II with a hair styling that creates a
sinister-looking face within the queen’s hair.
The vignette was based on a photograph but when the design was
engraved, an apparently random mixture of light and shadow elements in
her hair formed a face-like appearance. All denominations in the
series were printed with this image.
Darkening some of the highlights in the hair removed elements that
had generated the so-called devil’s face.
Different vignettes of Canadian scenic views appear on the backs.
The specimen notes in the set were graded Choice Uncirculated 64
Net, with “Previously Mounted” as the comment regarding the net grade. ■