Welcome to my article on the top 10 rare Canadian coins. The coins on this list are some of the most valuable Canadian coins in the world. Throughout its history, the Royal Canadian Mint has produced some of the rarest coins on earth. Not only does this make Canadian coins super fun to collect, but they’re also some of the best investment-grade collectibles around. Here is my list for the top 10 most valuable and rare Canadian coins.
1. 1911 Canadian Silver Dollar (known examples: 2)
The 1911 Canadian Silver Dollar is the Holy Grail of Canadian coins. For years it held the record for the world’s most valuable coin. Only 3 examples were ever struck (2 in silver and 1 in bronze). The bronze example and 1 silver example are housed at the Canadian Currency Museum in Ottawa, which leaves only 1 example out there for collectors! At an auction in 2003, this coin fetched nearly 1 million dollars.
2. 1936 dot 1 cent (known examples: 3)
Some of the most popular and collectable Canadian coins are the 1936 “dot” coins. The story of how they came into being involved King Edward VIII’s sudden abdication in late 1936 which saw George VI ascend to the throne. That event caused a major problem for the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) because they didn’t have any dies with the new king’s effigy on them to strike the 1937 coinage. Their solution was to produce a small number of 1936 coins with a tiny raised “dot” just below the date to denote that they were struck in 1937. Only 3 denominations were ever struck with the “dot”: 25-cents, 10-cents and 1-cent pieces. The 1936 “dot” 1-cent coin is the rarest of them all with only 3 mint state examples known to exist. One example sold at a 2010 coin auction for over $400,000!
3. 1936 dot 10-cents (known examples: 5)
The 1936 “dot” 10-cent piece is also extremely rare. One example sold at a 2010 coin auction for over $184,000!
4. 1969 Large Date 10-cents (known examples: 16)
The 1969 large date 10-cent coin is also extremely rare. From time to time they appear at auction and fetch anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000, depending on the grade.
5. 1916 C gold sovereign (known examples: less than 50)
A sovereign is a British one pound gold coin that was struck at the RCM from 1908-1919. The 1916 C gold sovereign is the rarest and sells at auction anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000, depending on the grade.
6. 1921 50-cents (known examples: less than 75)
Called the “King of Canadian coins,” the 1921 50 cent coin is another classic Canadian rarity. Charlton lists the original mintage of this coin at 206,398, but almost all of them were melted down because of low demand for 50 cent coins.
As a result, only a handful of these coins exist and many believe that they came from specimen sets and business strikes that were sold to visitors at the mint in 1921. These coins in various grades can fetch anywhere from $40,000 to $250,000 at auction.
7. 1906 small crown 25-cents (known examples: less than 100)
The 1906 small crown 25 cent coin is the rarest Canadian quarter. It is believed that only 1 die was used to strike no more than a hundred examples before being replaced with the large crown die. Most of the known examples are low-grade circulated examples that are almost completely rubbed off. There are only a handful of examples that grade above a “Very Good” condition. These coins in the lowest of grades can fetch over $1,000 and in the higher grades like “Almost Uncirculated” and “Mint State” can fetch well above $50,000.
8. 1921 5-cents (known examples: less than 400)
If the 1921 50 cent piece is the “King of Canadian coins” then the 1921 5 cent piece is the “Prince of Canadian” coins. In 1921 the RCM was looking to introduce a new 5 cent coin made of nickel for the 1922 coinage. In preparation for its launch, the mint melted down its entire inventory of silver 5 cent coins, nearly all of which were 1921s. As was the case with the 1921 50 cent coin, all surviving examples are believed to have come from specimen sets and business strikes that were sold to visitors at the mint in 1921. These coins in various grades can fetch anywhere from $4,000 to $100,000.
9. 1948 Canadian Silver Dollar (known examples: 1000?)
The “King of Canadian Silver Dollars” is the 1948 Silver Dollar. Its listed mintage was 18,780 but only a few have survived. The story behind the low mintage of the 1948 silver dollar has to do with India’s independence in 1947. Prior to 1948, the obverse of Canadian coins featured the effigy of the reigning monarch with their name and royal title in a Latin inscription. Part of their royal title included the designation of “emperor of India.” So this needed to be removed from the dies to strike the 1948 coins. By the time the mint received the new dies they were only able to produce a small quantity. These coins can be found at auction and usually sell between $1,000 and $20,000, depending on the grade.
10. 1947 Maple Leaf Silver Dollar (known examples: 1000?)
The 1947 Maple Leaf Silver Dollar shares its history with the 1948 silver dollar. As the RCM awaited new dies to strike the 1948 coins, they used the 1947 dies to fulfill existing demand. In similar fashion to the 1936 “dot” coins, the mint placed a tiny maple leaf next to the date on the coins to signify that they were struck in 1948. The listed mintage for these coins is 21,135 but it is also a rare silver dollar. It can fetch anywhere from $300 to $10,000 at auction, depending on the grade.
For more information about Rare Canadian coins check out these titles from Amazon:
James A. Haxby’s A Guide Book of Canadian Coins
See my other articles on rare coins and investing in coins:
Thanks for reading and keep on collecting!