World Coins

Canadian error coins, early tokens in June auction in Toronto

Error coins and Canadian tokens highlight the June 26 to 28 Canadian Legacy sale in Toronto.

Canadian Coin & Currency and Moore Numismatic Auctions are jointly conducting the auction. 

Canadian $2 on U.S. planchet

One of the auction highlights is a 2000 Canadian $2 coin struck on a planchet for the Sacagawea dollar. The error is part of the Robert J. Kril Collection of Canadian and World Error Coins. The late Kril spent more than 40 years assembling the collection of “spectacular errors spanning from before Canadian confederation through the mid 1990s,” according to the auction catalog. 

Kril focused on elusive historic and modern errors, pieces where only a few examples are known, according to the two firms. This auction is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view and acquire some of the most exceptional error coins of Canada and the world.”

During his collecting journey, Kril “quietly assembled an unprecedented collection including dozens of unique and ultra rare errors that may be best described as ‘wow’ coins,” according to the auction firms.

The Canadian wrong planchet error resulted after the United States Mint contracted with the Royal Canadian Mint in 1999 and 2000 to burnish the planchets for Sacagawea dollars. A planchet for the U.S. coin became mixed in with the planchets for the Canadian $2 coin.

Canada’s ringed-bimetallic $2 coin, introduced in 1996, is 28 millimeters in diameter. 

Two such errors are known, according to the auction firms, citing the Jan. 4, 2010, sale of another example by Heritage Auctions. That piece, graded Mint State 66 by Professional Coin Grading Service, realized $6,325, including the 15 percent buyer’s fee.

The example offered in the Legacy sale is graded MS-64 by PCGS and estimated at $8,000 Canadian. 

Tombac ‘50-cent’ coin

The highlight of the Kril Collection, however, is the 1942 to 1943 tombac “50-cent” coin — a piece struck from dies for the 50-cent coin on a tombac planchet meant for the 5-cent coin.

The dramatic error is one of the most spectacular errors ever found in Canada, according to the auction firms.

During World War II, the 5-cent coin alloy was changed to divert nickel to the war effort. Tombac, a brass alloy, was adopted and the denomination was made 12-sided so that, even if tarnished, the coin would not readily be confused with Canada’s 1-cent coins.

Because the planchet was smaller (a tombac 5-cent coin is only 21.3 millimeters in diameter, to the corners), only part of the 50-cent coin design appears on the piece. A regular 50-cent coin measures 29.72 millimeters in diameter. 

Since the portion of the 50-cent die bearing the date did not strike the error piece, the exact date of the error cannot be determined. 

The unique error is graded MS-63 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. The auction firms describe it as having “lustrous golden brass surfaces, light even toning and a full sharp strike,” and it is estimated to realize $15,000+. 

Former Ford Collection tokens

The auction also offers more than 800 colonial Canadian tokens, with two highlights formerly part of the John J. Ford Jr. Collection.

An 1839 copper halfpenny from the Bank of Montreal’s “Side View” series of tokens leads the colonial token section. This piece, graded Uncirculated 60 by International Coin Certification Service, shows a side view of the bank’s headquarters on the obverse of the token. 

The example in the auction is classified as a 15 Palings variety, for the number of stakes composing the fence on the obverse. 

With “very even dark chocolate toning overall” and traces of original luster, the token is estimated to sell for $20,000 Canadian. 

The same piece was offered in August 2013 by Stacks’ Bowers Galleries in the firm’s 23rd auction of the Ford Collection, where it realized $11,162.50, with the 17.5 percent buyer’s fee. 

Another token formerly in the Ford Collection is an example of the enigmatic copper Prince Edward Island token.

Uniface, the crude piece bears only the island initials P.E.I. on the obverse. Researchers suggest that tinsmith Dennis McCarthy produced them, though others attribute the pieces to farmer Peter McCausland (who actually may have only helped circulate them). 

Little is known about the tokens, which are on a cent-sized planchet. 

The earliest known reference to the pieces appears to be an article in 1890, with the first record of one being sold at auction following in 1895. Few examples have entered the market over the years, with perhaps as few as two examples of the early pieces (possibly struck circa 1840) known. 

Two examples of the early pieces were in Stack’s Bowers’ auction No. 23 of Ford material on Aug. 14, 2013, and that sale also included a piece believed to have been struck circa 1900. In that sale, the piece in the present auction was described as Fine and realized $3,290, including the buyer’s fee.  

The example in the upcoming sale is graded Very Fine 30 by International Coin Certification Service. It is estimated at $7,000 Canadian. 

A catalog may be viewed at the Canadian Coin & Currency website. Bidding is available through

Telephone Moore at 925-946-0150 or email him. Contact Canadian Coin & Currency at 888-236-2646 or email it.

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