Last updated on April 16th, 2020 at 07:04 am
Last Updated on April 16, 2020 Posted by Colonial Acres Coins
The 1921 Canadian 50 Cent Coin is arguably the most prized numismatic rarity in Canada. In a country that has traditionally manufactured some of the most technologically advanced, astonishingly eye-catching and intricately designed coin pieces since its establishment, there are many Canadian coins that are rarer in the absolute sense. But, none of them match the storied history of the coin popularly named “King of Canadian Coins.” Keep reading to know more about the circumstances that resulted in the legend behind this exquisite piece.
How did the Coin First Come to be?
Production at the Ottawa Mint increased dramatically during World War I years. A vast expansion of coinage production was necessitated by the booming Canadian economy and that included all silver denominations – from the five cent piece to the fifty cent piece. But, large stockpiles of earlier-dated silver coins remained after the war came to a close. Additionally, the public demand for silver coinage considerably declined as post-war depression began to set in. Large denominations like the fifty cent piece were particularly affected by it.
Interestingly, even though there was an obvious lack of demand for them, more than 200,000 fifty cent coins were struck in 1921 according to Mint records. While some researchers suggest these coins were made so the Mint could acquire an example if they so desired, the reasons for their production still remain largely unknown to this day. Only 28,000 fifty cent pieces were distributed between 1921 and 1929, all of which were dated 1920. Conversely, the 1921 pieces sat and collected dust in storage for eight whole years until the demand for fifty cent coins began to rise up.
Why Are There So Few 1921 50 Cent Pieces Today?
Once the demand for larger pieces started picking up, the personnel at the Mint were faced with two choices: either release the large holdings of fifty cent pieces from previous years or strike brand new coins. There was a concern that the public might become suspicious if the coins they demanded in 1929 were all back-dated by eight years. So, the Mint opted to melt nearly 500,000 fifty cent coins and use the silver to strike new 1929 fifty cent pieces. As a result, almost the entire mintage of 1921 ended up being destroyed.
What Does That Mean for the Few, Rare Pieces in Existence Today?
Over the years, the estimated survival rate for the 1921 50 Cent piece has remained consistent. It is believed that anywhere between 50 and 100 pieces are still in existence today in a wide range of conditions, which include both perfect mint condition and heavily circulated pieces. It is also believed that Mint employees purposely set aside what would go on to become the finest known pieces today because they were aware of the impending rarity of the 1921 batch. The finest representative has brought more than $300,000, but even low-grade specimens easily fetch up to tens of thousands of dollars at auction.
Looking for Other Interesting and Rare Coin Pieces? Head Down to Colonial Acres
Colonial Acres Coins is THE resource to consult whether you need expert knowledge, accurate and up-to-date information or collectible coin pieces that are as rare and legendary as the Canadian 50 Cent coin. Colonial is also home to a team of professional numismatists that have more than two decades of experience in the industry and are willing to go out of their way to help both beginner and more experienced collectors. Head down to Colonial Acres today and meet the team in order to enrich your collection with some pretty astonishing coin pieces.