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There are three basic major types of Canadian currency. There are chartered bank notes, Dominion of Canada bank notes, and Bank of Canada bank notes. There are also several other smaller categories that are just as desirable. The following is a quick introduction. If you would like to get our offer or auction estimate on your currency, then please send us an email with pictures of it. MGarrett@ManifestAuctions.com
Dozens of different banks in Canada issued their own paper money. A bank would contract out the printing duties to a large engraving and printing firm. Then the banknotes would be mailed to the commissioning bank which would then sign, issue, and circulate the money. Some of these bank notes can be worth thousands of dollars or more. So how can you know if you have a chartered banknote? Each chartered note will have the name of its bank on the front of it.
Chartered Currency Values: It goes against logic, but generally speaking older isn’t better when it comes to chartered note. Currency issued prior to 1850 tends to be either remainders (which are worth $200 on average) or counterfeits. These notes also tend to be rather bland and not especially popular with collectors. The sweet spot is really 1880 – 1920. A lot of banks issued very beautiful and rare currency during this time period. Chartered notes issued after 1920 tend to be relatively common, but there are always exceptions to that rule.
Quick Tips: Check the denomination. Higher denominations were usually printed in much smaller quantities and have a lower survival rate. Check the serial number. Notes with a serial number under 50,000 are probably at least somewhat rare. Is the note attractive? Chartered notes with sharp colors and interesting vignettes are always going to be popular with collectors.
Dominion banknotes have the chance to be the most valuable of any Canadian currency. They were issued in limited quantities from 1870 to 1924. Twenty five cent, one, two, four, five, five hundred, and one thousand dollar denominations were issued. The two highest denominations are extremely scarce. Everything else is relatively available (especially 1923 $1 notes). However, the condition is extremely important. A common dominion note in heavily circulated condition might be worth $300. The same note in perfect condition could sell for $10,000 or more.
Quick Tips: There are only 24 different “collectible” design types. However, most dominion banknotes come in at least two different varieties. The variety is extremely important. Some rare varieties can trade for multiples of the common variety. We are interested in taking a look at any and all Dominion of Canada currency you have. The auction value in today’s market might surprise you.
Canadian currency was first issued by The Bank of Canada starting in 1935. Paper money from Canada is still issued by The Bank of Canada today. All money dated as that first year (1935) is definitely collectible. Banknotes from 1937 have the chance to be collectible, but the large majority will not. There are some rare varieties from 1954 that sell well at auction. All Bank of Canada Currency printed after 1954 will only be collectible in very limited circumstances (like having a fancy serial number).
Quick Tips: Notes from 1935 will either be from The Bank of Canada or La Banque Du Canada. The french version notes are always rarer. Notes from 1937 that have the Osborne signature tend to be the only variety for the year that is collectible in grades less than VF. Most 1954 Bank of Canada notes are very common; the exception would be Devil’s Face notes. We have a blog tip on how to spot Devil’s Face notes. Also be on the look out for asterisk/star notes.
In addition to the three main types of Canadian currency, there are also Province of Canada, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland notes. These are moderate outliers to most collections, but they are still collectible and some of them can be very valuable.
We would be very interested in learning more about your Canadian banknote. We hold regular currency auctions. You can email us directly or fill out a contact form. We look forward to hearing from you. MGarrett@ManifestAuctions.com