Paper Money

Canadian currency dominates NYINC, FUN auctions

Canadian currency dominated a pair of world paper money sales on Jan. 10 and 11 at auctions held by Heritage Auctions at the Florida United Numismatists convention and Stack’s Bowers Galleries at the New York International Coin show. Twenty of the top 35 results at the Heritage sale in Orlando were from Canada, as were eight of the highest 21 results in New York.

Ahead of them all, at $43,200 in the Heritage FUN auction, was a Dominion of Canada $1,000 1911 specimen note in Paper Money Guaranty Choice Uncirculated 64 quality. The blue and black, hole-canceled note printed by the American Bank Note Co. in Ottawa, with the bust of King George V, is one of two known and is the sole example in private hands. It came from the holdings of a Russian collector who has been an extremely active buyer in multiple segments of the currency market in recent years.

Leading the Stack’s Bowers Galleries auction, with a $26,400 price, was a note with the same colors, the same portrait, and from the same printer, but dated 1920, with only a $1 face value, and the Government of Newfoundland as its issuer. The catalog said it was the finest known with a grade by PCGS Currency of Gem New 66 Premium Paper Quality. It was issued because of a shortage of silver coins and the estimate is that 99 percent of the issue was redeemed.

1794 Flowing Hair dollarInside Coin World: Collecting silver dollars by type: The February monthly edition of Coin World features the nation’s legacy of silver dollars, stretching from 1794, when a small number of Flowing Hair dollars were struck, to today’s American Eagle silver dollar, produced by the millions every year.

Heritage offered quite a few other specimen notes from the same collection as the $1,000 note. Among them was its companion, one of three known 1911 $500 specimen issues with the bust of Queen Mary. It was graded Very Choice New 64 by PCGS Currency, and sold for $33,600. 

Also offered in the same auction was a pair of $50,000 1924 face and back proofs using the same portraits of George V and Mary, but side by side, in PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 quality, that realized $36,000. These notes were never issued for circulation, but for inter-bank transactions, similar to the U.S. Series 1934 $100,000 gold certificates with the portrait of Woodrow Wilson. In Canada, these are called “bank legal” or “bank special.” 

A scene showing a team of lumberjacks, an iconic subject in Canadian folklore, is in the center of a $1 Dominion of Canada issue from 1898 that was offered by Stack’s Bowers. The vignette is flanked by portraits of the Countess and Earl of Aberdeen (Isabel and John Campbell Hamilton-Gordon). The earl was governor general of Canada from 1893 to 1898; the countess was an advocate for women’s rights and health care. The lot went for $25,200 in PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 Exceptional Paper Quality. Only two examples of this issue have been graded Uncirculated by PMG. 

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