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Top 10 Canadian most valuable banknotes sold at auctions in 2020

By Lightw4re | Friday, December 11, 2020

Even if, effective January 1, 2021, the Government will remove legal tender designation from certain bank notes that are no longer being produced, the banknotes market did very well in 2020. After the Top 10 2020 coins and the Top 10 2020 tokens, here's the top 10 most valuable certified banknotes sold at auctions in 2020.

#1 - $63,000 CAD - 20 dollars 1935 Large Seal - PMG CUNC-64

20 dollars 1935 Large Seal

Sold on January 9, 2020, during FUN auction by Heritage Auctions described this banknote with low serial number A000008 certified by PMG as:

An exceptionally desirable banknote in any grade, and especially so in Choice Uncirculated with serial number 8. Approximately 200,000 of this variety were printed, with the large Bank of Canada seal, and at least 800,000 were printed with the subsequent seal, making this variety quite rare.

Serial numbers A000005 and A000006 are also known in circulated condition.

Bank of Canada 20 dollars 1935 banknotes »


#2 - $47,500 CAD - Dominion of Canada 1 dollar 1870 - Manitoba - G-6

Dominion of Canada 1 dollar 1870 - Manitoba

This same banknote sold in 2019 for $51,000 CAD.

Dominion of Canada 1870 banknotes »


#3 - $45,500 CAD - Dominion of Canada 1,000 dollars 1924 - LCG SP-53

Dominion of Canada 1,000 dollars 1924

It was described as:

Excessively rare and desirable with only a handful of examples to exist. [...] These were only issued for bank use. They were never available to the general public. 1924 $1,000 notes only exist as proofs and specimens today.

The face of this banknote printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company shows Lord Roberts. Specimens of Dominion of Canada 1924 banknotes exists in denominations $5,000 and $50,000.


#4 - $37,700 CAD - Newfoundland 1 dollar 1920 - PMG CUNC-63

Government of Newfoundland 1 dollar 1920

There are four manuscript signature varieties for this denomination, each of which is extremely scarce in the best of grades. This example, single finest graded example featuring King George V, comes from the Harry M. Eisenhauer Collection.

Treasury banknotes were produced for Newfoundland starting 1850. The 1920 serie were issued because of the shortage of silver coins at that time.


#5 - $36,500 CAD - Dominion of Canada 2 dollars 1878 - St. John - VG-10

Dominion of Canada 2 dollars 1878 - St. John - VG-10

This banknote was also listed #5 last year when it sold for $41,500 CAD.

A Dominion of Canada 2 dollars 1878 - Halifax - PMG F-12 also sold in June 2020 for $23,800 CAD.

Dominion of Canada 2 dollars 1878 banknotes »


#6 - $35,700 CAD - 50 dollars 1937 - PMG GUNC-66

Bank of Canada 50 dollars 1937

A little more than 100 Osborne-Towers 50 dollars 1937 have been reported with less than 5% uncirculated. This banknote illustrated in the Charlton Standard Catalogue - Canadian Government Paper Money.

Following serial number AH0001463 exists and was sold as EF in October 1997.

Bank of Canada 50 dollars 1937 price guide and values »


#7 - $34,800 CAD - 10 dollars 1861 Bank of Upper Canada - PMG VF-20

10 dollars 1861 Bank of Upper Canada

This banknote was sold at The Prominence Sale by The Canadian Numismatic Company and it was described as:

A manuscript signature at lower centre right and with no observable overprint. UNLISTED & UNIQUE This is the first and only known example. Even missing in Bank of Canada museum. An incredible opportunity to acquire a unique note. Charlton Standard Catalogue 9th edition indicates no pricing with issues only in an Institutional Collection. This is a fabulous example of this Exceptionally Rare note. Only a few of the lower denominations exist in similar grades.


#8 - $33,000 CAD - 100 dollars 1935 - PMG GUNC-65

Bank of Canada 100 dollars 1935

Sold on January 9, 2020, during FUN auction by Heritage Auctions and from the Harry M. Eisenhauer Collection, it was described as:

At the time of cataloging, only two examples grade finer than this handsome, pack fresh original. Only 87,500 notes were printed in English for this denomination, which features the Duke of Gloucester, Prince Henry. A scant few examples are known to survive, and certainly only a tiny number are known in this elite grade.

Bank of Canada 100 dollars 1935 price guide and values »


#9 - $30,500 CAD - 1 dollar 1844-61 Bank of Montreal - PMG F-12

1 dollar 1844-61 Bank of Montreal

This is the only one known. No sales records, report, example in institutional collections or price guide valuations existed when this banknote was auctioned in April 2020.


#10 - $30,300 CAD - 10 dollars 1971 EEP - LCG GUNC-66

Bank of Canada 10 dollars 1971

Only 2 other 10 dollars 1971 with EEP prefix are known.

  • EEP9601812 - Sold in February 2013 as CCCS UNC-62 for $22,420 CAD
  • EEP9601819 - Sold in June 2018 as CCGS UNC-62 for $35,400 CAD

Bank of Canada 10 dollars 1971 price guide and values »


#11 - $29,300 CAD - 25 dollars 1935 - PMG GUNC-65

Bank of Canada 25 dollars 1935

This special royal purple $25 note was issued on May 6, 1935 to commemorate the silver jubilee of King George V. It was printed by CBN and features portraits of the King and Queen, engraved by Edwin Gunn and Will Ford of ABN. Louis Delmoce, also of ABN, engraved the image of Windsor Castle, one of the royal family's official residences, that appears on the back of the note. This was the only $25 note ever issued by the Bank of Canada.

Two other examples LCG GUNC-65 sold both for $23,800 CAD in June and August 2020.

Bank of Canada 25 dollars 1935 price guide and values »


Honorable mentions

  • $29,000 CAD - 1 dollar 1911 Dominion of Canada GUNC-65
  • $26,400 CAD - 2 dollars 1923 Dominion of Canada GUNC-65
  • $22,200 CAD - 1,000 dollars 1937 CUNC-64
  • $22,000 CAD - 1,000 dollars 1954 Devil's Face CUNC-63
  • $20,200 CAD - 1,000 dollars 1935 GUNC-65

Pictures by Heritage Auctions and The Canadian Numismatic Company.

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