Coin collecting often gets overlooked as a hobby because it doesn’t have the thrills of sports or the productivity of knitting or sewing. Although it is a quiet hobby, it does have its moments. George Cook, one of Canada’s most well-known numismatists, had a fine collection of rare Canadian coins that went on display across North America before heading to auction. While you may never find some of these coins for your own collection, you can start collecting coins and building a private collection that has meaning for you and your family. Here are some of the most rare Canadian coins.
The Emperor 1911
The 1911 silver dollar is considered the Holy Grail of Canadian coins. Only three coins were minted as test coins, so the coin was never put into circulation. There were two coins struck in silver and one in lead. The lead coin was discovered in 1977 in a drawer. It is now housed in the National Currency Collection of the Bank of Canada. One of the two silver coins is on loan to the Bank of Canada Museum. The other silver coin was thought to have been sold by the Mint to the King of Egypt in the 1920s. It changed hands multiple times until Cook bought it in 2003. After Cook’s death, the coin was bought by a coin dealer who offered it to the Bank of Canada Museum to preserve its heritage.
50 Cent (1921)
This 50-cent coin was minted in 1921. The obverse of the coin features King George V’s profile. The original number minted was over 200,000, but the Mint wasn’t able to get rid of them. No one wanted 50-cent coins, so many of these coins were melted down. It’s estimated that only about 75 exist today. One sold in 2000 for $400,000 USD. Cook had perhaps the best example known.
5 Cent Tombac 1944
Five-cent coins in 1944 were made of a couple different materials. Nickel was in high demand for the war effort, so the Mint was forced to work with different alloys. In 1942, the Mint had started using tombac. Tombac is a brass alloy, made of primarily copper and some zinc. It’s a cheap alloy, as far as coins go. By 1944, the supply of those metals was needed too, so the Mint switched to steel with nickel plating. At most 8,000 1944 5-cent coins were minted in tombac and only one is known today.
2003 Gold Coronation Dollar
In 2003, the Royal Canadian Mint produced about 30,000 silver coins to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. The same dies were used to produce one gold coronation coin to raise money for charity. The coin was sold on eBay originally. Cook somehow acquired the coin as part of his collection. When his collection went up for auction in 2019, the coin brought in $108,000 USD. It is a rare coin that most people will never see.
Build Your Own Coin Collection
Cook worked hard to build a coin collection of rare Canadian coins. While you may never find these coins, there are many coins that can be the foundation of your collection. Some collectors choose to focus on specific years, like the 1944 5-cent coins. Choose your birth year or another special year and find a selection of coins to remember that anniversary. Start a collection of coins for a special person in your life. Choose coins that have a limited number minted. Decades from now, those coins may be in demand, making them more valuable, regardless of the face value. Shop at Colonial Acres Coins for your coin collection. We have a large inventory of Canadian coins to get you started.