Hidden treasure trove of Canadian bank notes among auction highlights

Geoffrey Bell Auction's June 1 to 2 sale in Toronto features Bank of Canada rarities
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 06/10/17
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The focal point of the June 1 and 2 Toronto Coin Expo was not the bourse floor of more than 50 dealers, but the accompanying sale held by Geoffrey Bell Auctions.

What the firm named the Covered Bridge Collection is a group of 2,000 bank notes that were hidden in a New Brunswick safe-deposit box since the mid-1980s. This month’s auction was the first of two that are expected to realize a total of over $1 million Canadian combined ($743,600 in U.S. funds).


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Eight 1935 notes with serial number 000005, among the very first notes printed by the Bank of Canada, were offered in denominations ranging from $2 to $50. The Bank of Canada issued two series of notes for that year, one stating “Bank of Canada” for English Canada, and the other with “Banque Du Canada” for French Canada. Topping them all was a number 5 $25 note with a Paper Money Guaranty Choice Uncirculated 64 grade at $49,200 including the buyer’s fee. 

A pair of 1935 $25 bills, with an 8-year-old Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II, on the face and extremely rare in Uncirculated condition, sold for $30,000 (English version) and $26,400 (French version). 

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A Bank of New Brunswick 1892 $10 note, considered the best available on the market at PMG Very Fine 30, realized $30,000.

The auction also offered also a significant selection of Union Bank of Newfoundland notes. The highlight was an 1889 $20 note featuring vibrant blues and yellows with face and back locomotive themes. The note is among the finest of 12 known examples available to private collectors and reached $28,200 in a grade of PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 Exceptional Paper Quality.

The Covered Bridge Collection surprised many with its selection of Canadian government and private chartered bank notes, the likes of which haven’t been offered at auction for many years.

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