Top 10 Rare Canadian Pennies

By: GenXinvestor

Here is my post on the Top 10 Rare Canadian Pennies.  If you’re interested in collectible and rare pennies, then this is the post for you.

Pennies are among the oldest coins ever minted for Canada.  The large cent was minted from 1858 until 1920 when it was replaced by the small cent.  The small cent was minted from 1920 until the Harper government retired it and removed it from circulation in 2012.

In case any of you are wondering what to do with your unwanted pennies, the banks will still accept them.  Just make sure you don’t get rid of any of the rare pennies on this list!  Without further ado, my Top 10 Rare Canadian Pennies!

1.  1936 Dot Penny

rare canadian pennies 1936 dot 1 cent

Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Coming in at number 1 on this list of rare Canadian pennies is the renown 1936 “dot” penny.  This penny is the undisputed “King” of Canadian Pennies!  The story of how the 1936 “dot” coins 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!

Early Elizabeth II Laureate Portrait Rarities

Three early Elizabeth II pennies that feature the Laureate Portrait are especially rare on this list of rare Canadian pennies.  The first design was created in early 1953 and featured the portrait of the queen without a “fold” or “shoulder strap” on her gown.  This design was too high of relief and in late 1953, in an effort to create a truer representation of the portrait, a second design that had a lower relief and featured the “fold” or “shoulder strap” of the queen’s gown was created.  It can be very difficult to tell the two apart (especially on well circulated examples).

The easiest way to tell them apart is by looking at the letter “I” in the word “DEI” near the rim of the coin.  If the “I” is flared and points between 2 rim denticles then it is the “no shoulder fold” variety.  If the “I” appears to be straight and lines up with a rim denticle then it is the “shoulder fold” variety.

2.  TIE Between the 1955 “No Shoulder Fold” (NSF) and 1954 NSF 1-Cents

1955 NSF penny

Image courtesy of icollector.com

1955 NSF 1-Cent

The 1955 NSF penny is one of the rarest Canadian pennies ever struck. By mistake, a small number of 1955 pennies were struck with the older design “no shoulder fold or strap” dies. These examples typically sell anywhere from several hundred to several thousands of dollars at auction.

1954 NSF 1-Cent

A small number of 1954 pennies were struck with the NSF obverse dies. They can be found in the proof-like sets and typically sell for a couple of thousand bucks at auction.

3.  1953 “Shoulder Fold” (SF) Penny

1953 shoulder fold

Image courtesy of CoinsandCanada.com

While most 1953 pennies were the NSF variety, by late 1953, the lower relief “shoulder fold” or “shoulder strap” variety had become the standard obverse design for the pennies of this series. A small number of the 1953 pennies were struck with newly upgraded dies and are tough to find.  They can sell anywhere from $25 to several hundreds of dollars at auction.

4.  TIE Between 2006 “Magnetic” 1-Cent and 2006 “P” no logo, non magnetic 1-Cent

2006 magnetic penny

Image courtesy of icollector.com

The majority of the pennies on this list are quite old and pre-date 1955.  Just to show people that coins don’t necessarily have to be old to be rare, I’ve included two modern rarities: the 2006 no “P” no logo, magnetic (steel core) penny and the 2006 “P” no logo, non magnetic variety.  Both are tough finds with perhaps the latter being a bit more rare.

In 2006 the Royal Canadian Mint was experimenting with different designs and metals for the penny.  Six types of 2006 pennies were produced: 2006 non magnetic, 2006 magnetic; 2006 P non magnetic, 2006 P magnetic; 2006 logo non magnetic, and 2006 logo magnetic.  Some of the pennies are worth…well a penny!  Others are quite rare and can fetch several hundreds of dollars at auction.  The two to look out for are the 2006 no “P” and no logo, magnetic and the 2006 “P” no logo, non magnetic variety.  The trend prices for the former are a few hundred bucks, while the latter can fetch nearly $1,000!

Pennies from the early 1920s

A combination of low mintages and low survival rates make pennies from the early to mid 1920s some of the toughest coins to find and, therefore, not only are they highly collectible but they can be decent investments as well.  Pennies dating from the years 1922-1926 are key dates for this collection with 1921 and 1927 being semi-key dates.  These coins, especially in higher grades are highly prized by collectors.

5.  1923 1-Cent

The 1923 small cent is the rarest date among Canadian pennies.  The official mintage for this date is 1,019,022 and while a few more were struck than the lower mintage 1925, it appears as though far fewer survived.  Low grade examples can sell for around $30-$50, while high end mint-state examples can sell for between $3,000-$10,000 at auction.

6.  1925 1-Cent

The 1925 small cent has the lowest mintage of all Canadian pennies.  At just over one million strikes this is a rare penny indeed.  A low grade example can cost about $30, while high grade mint state examples can fetch anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 at auction.

7.  1922 1-Cent

The official mintage for the 1922 small cent is 1,243,635 and they are tough to find.  A low grade example can sell for about $20 with higher end mint-state coins selling for several thousand dollars at auction.

8.  1924 1-Cent

The official mintage of the 1924 small cent is 1,593,195.  While the mintage certainly exceeds that of the much rarer 1923s and 1925s, it is still a very low mintage and when one considers the price trends for this date, I feel that this could be an undervalued coin.  Low grade can sell for $10, while higher end coins can fetch several thousands of dollars at auction.

9. 1926 1-Cent

The official mintage of the 1926 small cent is 2,143,372.  Low grade examples can sell for a few bucks, while higher grade coins can sell for thousands of dollars at auction.

10. 1921 1-Cent

The final coin on this list of rare Canadian pennies is the 1921 small cent.  The official mintage for the 1921 small cent is 7,601,627 which makes it the least rare of all the denominations for the 1921 coinage.  It’s not uncommon to find low end examples of these coins selling in coin shops for a few bucks, while higher end mint-state examples can sell for thousands at auction.

For more information about Rare Canadian coins check out these titles from Amazon:

James A. Haxby’s A Guide Book of Canadian Coins

W. K. Cross A Charlton Standard Catalogue Canadian Coins 2016: Numismatic Issues

Thanks for reading this article on rare Canadian pennies.  If you’ve enjoyed this article, see my other articles on collecting and investing in rare coins:

Rare Canadian Quarters

Investing in Rare Coins

Top 10 Rare U.S. Coins

Top 10 Rare Canadian Coins

Top 10 Rare Canadian Nickels

Modern Rare Canadian Coins

Rare Victorian Quarters

The Thousand Dollar Bill

Thanks for reading this article on the Top 10 Rare Canadian Pennies.

22 thoughts on “Top 10 Rare Canadian Pennies

  1. MR. Weddle

    I have a 1929 Canadian penny and a 1942 american penny that I found in my back yard and in great shape but don’t know where to sell them or if I should but it seems that they both fall short of any real value

    Reply
    1. GenXinvestor Post author

      Hello, neither of those coins have any real value so I doubt that a collector would be interested.

      Reply
  2. Ulises

    Hi there.. i have a 1996 Elizabeth II D • G • REGINA 2DOLLAR CANADA COIN.. whats the valued on that coin? I also have a 1975 10 cent Canada coin as well

    Reply
    1. GenXinvestor Post author

      Hi Katie, that’s a rare penny you have there. The prices depend on the grade. A low end coin could be worth $150, while mint state example would be worth several thousand.

      Reply
  3. Edwin V.

    I have a Elizabethll regina DG
    o the back it says 1 cent with s bird in center snd st bottom it shows a bird in center spread wings with canada 1887-1967. Who can I see because I csnnot find info. On this coin

    Reply
    1. GenXinvestor Post author

      This penny is from 1967 and commemorates Canada’s centennial (100 years as a country). Hundreds of millions were made so it is a very common coin with no real value.

      Reply
  4. Paul

    I have a 1919 George v one cent and a 1928 George v one cent. Both are in excellent condition. Are they worth anything to a collector

    Reply
    1. GenXinvestor Post author

      Hi Paul, not really worth much. You can google the value of the coins. If they were mint they would be worth something for sure.

      Reply
    1. GenXinvestor Post author

      Hi Sandra, you can bring the coins to a local coin dealer and they could help judge whether or not the coins are worth the time and expense of auctioning them off. Alternatively, you could use eBay.

      Reply
  5. Ricky Hebb

    Hi my name is Rick I have a 1980 Canadian penny that has the letter,s on the front of the coin doubled and the little dot,s that go around the coin can you give me some information on this coin . Is it worth anything.

    Reply
    1. GenXinvestor Post author

      Hi, there were lots of errors for the 1980 penny. It sounds like you have an error coin (double strike letters). It’s tricky to value error coins so I would do some research on the internet or take it to your local coin dealer to get an appraisal. I don’t think the coin would be worth a lot of money but maybe $50 or so. But I’m just guessing.

      Reply
  6. Chris

    I have a 1953,1954 and a 1955 Canadian pennies. Is there someone I can send a picture to that can determine weather they are NSF or SF pennies?
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. GenXinvestor Post author

      Its tough to determine based on a pic. Your local coin dealer will be able to tell the difference though.

      Reply
  7. Randy Barton

    My father collected lots of different coins for approx 40 yrs. He has now passed and I have the coins. There is a tote weighing approx 50 lbs of coins and some paper money. Most of the coins are in coin folders. Some are not. How do I know I can. trust a local dealer to look at them and give me a value. It just seems someone could easily come across a valuable coin and pocket it, could they not?

    Reply
    1. GenXinvestor Post author

      Hi Randy, yeah you’re right. That’s why it’s important to try and find someone reputable, but there’s always the risk of getting ripped off. I suggest buying a coin guide and go through the coins yourself. In general, anything old and silver has some value. Learn the key dates and start sorting the coins.

      Reply

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