World Coins

Canadian 1911 silver dollar brings $552,000 at auction

Canada’s most famous coin, the 1911 silver dollar, was sold Aug. 15 for $552,000, including a 20 percent buyer’s fee.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Canada’s 1911 silver dollar is unique in private hands. Now, it has new owners.

Sandy Campbell, of Proof Positive in Nova Scotia, coordinated with Ian Laing, owner of Gatewest Coins in Winnipeg, to buy the coin for $552,000 during Heritage Auctions’ Aug. 15 auction at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Illinois. That includes the 20 percent buyer’s fee and barely topped the pre-sale estimate of $500,000 and up. 

Campbell said that he had expected it to sell for much more than it did. 

“Ten minutes before the auction, I said to Ian ‘we’re not going to buy this coin.’ ” 

But despite sensing strong competition, Campbell and Laing secured the coin for the equivalent of $734,000 Canadian.

“We went in there with a plan to buy it,” said Campbell. “I guess nobody else did. It went for a whole lot cheaper than we anticipated, which shocked us and everybody, I think.” 

The coin was sold as part of the George Hans Cook Collection of Canadian coins, which was reportedly built across 25 years.

The 1911 dollar is considered the greatest and most storied rarity in all of Canadian numismatics. 

This example of the 1911 George V silver dollar was once part of the famed Sid and Alicia Belzberg Collection, and this was the second time Heritage offered the coin. 

The coin is graded Specimen 64 by Professional Coin Grading Service. For the 2003 auction, the coin was graded Specimen 65 by PCGS and sold for $690,000. 

The type has been known as “the Emperor of Canadian Coins,” after the half dollar from the same year was dubbed “the King of Canadian Coins.” 

The other known 1911 silver dollar is part of the National Currency Collection in Ottawa, displayed alongside a single striking in lead, the former on loan from the Royal Mint Museum. 

The 1911 silver dollar is considered a pattern, since it was a proposed coin with no circulation strikes ever having been produced. 

All three examples of the 1911 silver dollar — two in silver, and one in lead — were struck in London before dies made at the Royal Mint were sent to Canada. 


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