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The unique Canadian 1936 Dot specimen set

By Lightw4re    |   Friday, 20 November 2020

When David Bergeron, curator of the Bank of Canada Museum, was asked this year which object he was most proud to handle and work with, he mentioned the 1936 Dot Specimen Set.

A similar set was assembled by Sid and Alicia Belzberg, but was broken up in 2003 in a Heritage Auctions sale where the all sold except the 25 cents dot coin. The other 5 coins sold for a combined total of around $450,000 CAD.

According to research by Heritage Auctions in preparation for the Belzberg sale...

Pittman is said to have offered Roberts's widow the paltry sum of $250 for the six-coin set; the two apparently agreed to a price of a little more than double that amount. Pittman bought a second complete set from another RCM employee, Maurice La Fortune, for $400. This set was stolen from Pittman's house in 1964, but the Dot cent and dime were returned to him in an unmarked envelope.

The Dot

Early in 1936 Edward became king, succeeding his late father, George V. As was the usual practice, the coinage for the remainder of the year continued to bear the effigy of the deceased monarch, but by early December plans for the new Canadian coinage for Edward VIII were at an advanced stage. The model for the obverse had been completed and production of the steel master tools for some denominations had begun.

Edward's abdication and the constitutional crisis that resulted from his determination to marry Mrs. Simpson negated all the work done on the obverses. As a result, shortages of 1, 10 and 25 cents coins arose early in 1937 before the coins for the new king, George VI, were ready, forcing Canadian authorities to continue producing coins dated 1936 and bearing the portrait of George V. In order to make these coins distinguishable from those actually produced in 1936, a tiny dot was placed on each of the reverse dies; on the 1 cent piece the dot appeared under the date, while on the 10 and 25 cents pieces it was placed under the bow on the wreath. Despite the critical shortages that had led to the emergency production of the dot coins, it appears that only 25 cents pieces were put into circulation. Consequently, the 1 and 10 cents are rarer.

1 cent 1936 Dot

1 cent 1936 Dot - Canada

3 known, 1 owned by Bank of Canada.

At one point in time, John Jay Pittman held all of the only 3 known examples of the 1-cent 1936 Dot coin from 1961 to 1996. For 35 years, this coin wasn't available to any collectors. The highest graded one, SP-66 (now downgraded SP-65), was in the hand of George Cook from 2010 to 2019. It was downgraded because dipped to remove a fine layer of lacquer.

Historical sales

January 3, 2010, from the Belzberg Collection, a 1936 Dot 1-cent coin certified PCGS SP-66 Red sold for $410,000 CAD at Heritage Auction. It is, among the only three three known 1936 Dot 1-cent coins, the one with the highest grade. This same coin sold 9 years later in 2019, downgraded PCGS SP-65, during the Cook Collection sale, for a similar amount: $415,000 CAD.

January 12, 2004, during the Pittman Collection sale at the same Auction House, another 1-cent 1936 Dot coin, certified PCGS MS-63 Red, was sold for approximately $265,000 CAD. On April 18, 2013, the same coin was sold again at auction for around $250,000 CAD.

10 cents 1936 Dot

10 cents 1936 Dot - Canada

4 known, 2 owned by Bank of Canada.

Historical sales

  • October 1997 - $182,160 CAD - Ex Maurice LaFortune/Pittman
  • January 2003
  • Septembre 14, 2006 - $130,000 CAD - PCGS SP-63 - Ex Pittman/Belzberg
  • January 3, 2010 - $196,500 CAD - PCGS SP-68 - Ex Maurice LaFortune/Pittman
  • August 15, 2019 - $87,800 CAD - PCGS SP-63+ - Ex Pittman/Belzberg/Cook

25 cents 1936 Dot

25 cents 1936 Dot - Canada

Estimated mintage of 5 specimen, 2 owned by Bank of Canada.

Historical sales

  • January 3, 2010 - $83,500 CAD - PCGS SP-68

Circulating 25 cents 1936 Dot auctions prices realized »

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