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1 dollar 1911 - The Emperor of Canadian Numismatics

By thecanadiannumismatist    |   Tuesday, 2 April 2024

1 dollar 1911 Canada

Also called The Emperor of Canadian Numismatics, there are only two silver examples of this coin, designed by W.J. Blakemoreone, own by the National Currency Collection in Ottawa. Most publicized canadian coin of all times and even once listed in the Guinness Book of World Rarities as the world's most valuable coin. The institution is also the owner of the only lead example known.

The Canadian Currency Act of 1910 authorized the striking of a 92.5% silver 23.3 grams silver dollar. The dies were made at the Royal Mint and 3 specimens were produced before the dies were sent to Canada. But the Canadian government authorities decided to be against circulating silver dollars at this time.

Despite calling for the production of a dollar coin in legislation a year earlier, the new Conservative majority shelved the program, informing the Mint in writing not to proceed. As a result, the Ottawa Mint would not strike a dollar unitl 1935.

- Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker

Until November 19, 1977 the only two known trial strikes were in silver. The lead striking was discovered shortly thereafter on November 20, 1977. It was sent to the Department of Finance in Ottawa for examination and it remained there in a brown paper parcel in the East Block of the Parliament Buildings for more than 65 years. No examples of the 1911 Dollar were known until 1960 when the noted London coin dealer B.A. Seaby obtained this coin from an undisclosed source, but word quickly spread that the coin had been purchased from the family of Sir William Grey Ellison-Macartney who was the Mint Master at the time the coins were struck. Seaby later discovered the second silver example at the Royal Mint Museum in London-which is the coin on permanent loan to the National Currency Collection in Ottawa.

- Heritage Auctions

Grey also struck, in 1908, the first Royal Canadian Mint coin, a fifty cent coin. Alice Holford, his wife, also struck that year the first 1-cent coin.

The words DEI GRATIA, like on the 1-cent coin struck in 1911, weren't engraved on the dies used to strike the 1911 silver. This Godless coin wasa the first Canadian coin to be certified by PCGS in March 1990, graded SP-65 at that time.

When consideration was being given to issuing a Dollar coin in 1911, dies were prepared (in London) and trial strikes were made. Mint records do not tell us how many such strikes were produced.

- Major Sheldon S. Carroll, Chief Curator of the National Collection at the Bank of Canada

List of owners

  • 1911-1960 - Sir William Grey Ellison-MacCartney and Family
  • 1960-1963 - B.A. Seaby, Ltd. - London
  • 1963-1965 - Les DePoy - Arcadia, California
  • 1965-1976 - John McKay-Clements - Haileybury, Ontario
  • 1976 - Douglas Robins - Corralis, Oregan
  • 1976-1979 - Gene L. Henry and Lee Sanders - Seattle, Washington
  • 1979-1981 - Anthony Carrato - Niagara Falls, Ontario
  • 1981-1982 - Carlton Numismatics - Birmingham, Michigan
  • 1982-1985 - 1911 Dollar Syndicate
  • 1985-1988 - Empire Industries - Montreal, Quebec
  • 1988 - Proof Positive Coins, Ltd. - Baddeck, Nova Scotia
  • 1988-1996 - Steve Marr - Detroit, Michigan
  • 1996-1998 - Albern Coin - Calgary, Alberta
  • 1998-2003 - Jay Parrino - Kansas City, Missouri
  • 2003 - Sid Belzberg - Toronto, Ontario
  • 2003 - Diverse Equities - Calgary, Alberta
  • 2003-2019 - George Cook - Calgary, Alberta
  • 2019-2021 - Proof Positive Coins Ltd. and Gatewest Coins Ltd.
  • 2021-... - Bank of Canada Museum

Electrotype examples of this rarity exist.

Recent sales

  • 2019 - $735,000
  • 2013 - $1,066,000

Related numismatic tools, articles and links

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