World Coins

1965 Canadian 25-cent test token in CNG’s Aug. 23 auction

A test token for Canada’s 25-cent coin is among numerous Canadian tokens and coins in Classical Numismatic Group’s Aug. 23 auction.

Images courtesy of Classical Numismatic Group.

Without knowing the story behind the issue, collectors might consider a copper-nickel test token from 1965 a “numismatic Frankenstein.”

An example of this token is offered in Classical Numismatic Group’s Keystone Auction No. 8, closing Aug. 23.

The token features on its obverse the crowned busts of George VI and Elizabeth II, Percy Metcalfe’s design from the 1939 Royal Visit medal, marking the first royal visit to Canada.

The reverse shows three geese flying toward the left, reminding one of the 1967 silver dollar, which shows a single goose.

The “denomination” stated on the reverse is TWENTY FIVE TOKENS. The inscription and the size and weight (24 millimeters in diameter, 5.21 grams) suggest it is a test token for a 25-cent coin.

Test tokens were created by the Ottawa Mint to be loaned to vending machine companies to test whether a composition would work in their machines.

Canada, like many countries (including the United States of America), dropped silver from its circulating coinage in the 1960s in favor of base metals.

James Haxby, in Striking Impressions: The Royal Canadian Mint and Canadian Coinage, wrote: “The Mint conducted experiments on various alternative metals, including cupro-nickel. But it was not until 1966, the year originally proposed for the transition, that a government committee was formed to decide on a new coinage alloy.”

Officials quickly determined that pure nickel was the best of five possible options instead of silver, “on the basis of appearance, availability, distinctiveness from U.S. coins and compatibility with Mint techniques.”

CNG assigned the token, in Uncirculated condition, an estimate of $75 U.S.

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