Serious coin collectors search high and low for certain Canadian coins, sometimes paying top dollar to acquire an example for their collection. Although there are a number of factors that contribute to the value of Canadian coins, rarity is among the most important.
The Rarest Canadian Coins Worth Money
Some of the rarest and most valuable Canadian coins are those that were produced by accident and feature a minor error. Others were produced in short runs. Still other coins were made of precious metals like gold or silver and are rare because most were melted down for their metal value. Values are listed in either Canadian (CAD) or US Dollars (USD).
Canadian Silver Nickel - Any Year
Prior to 1922, Canadian nickels were made of "coin silver" (800 parts silver) or sterling silver (925 parts silver). The last of these coins were minted in 1921. Because of their high silver content, people have melted many of the coins over the years. Now they are extremely rare. These coins are regularly faked, so it's very important that you have a coin appraised before purchasing it.
1936 Canadian "Dot" Dime
Fetching $184,000 at auction, the "dot" dime of 1936 is another great collector's coin. This dime was actually produced in 1937, and the dot was added to the 1936 design. Very few of these coins exist, perhaps only five. They are currently valued from $144,500 to $245,000.
1921 50-Cent Piece
Known as the "king of Canadian coins," this 50-cent piece is so rare that there may only be about 50-100 in circulation. A large number of these coins were minted in 1921, but very few entered circulation. The vast majority of them were melted down to create the later versions of the 50-cent piece. The remaining coins are so rare that in 2010, one fetched $218,500 at auction. Uncirculated 1921 50-cent coins are currently valued from $104,500 to $335,400 CAD.
Victoria 50-Cent Piece in Near-Mint Condition
Although a number of these 50-cent pieces, featuring Queen Victoria, were minted in the late 19th century, very few survived in mint or near-mint condition. These pristine examples now fetch high prices at auction. A 1899 Victoria 50-cent coin is currently valued from $103 through $50,150 CAD.
1911 Canadian Silver Dollar
The 1911 Canadian Silver Dollar held the record of the world's most valuable coin. Only two Canadian silver dollars were struck, and one is housed at the Canadian Currency Museum in Ottawa. This leaves only one 1911 Canadian silver dollar available to collectors. In 2019 it sold to a private collector for $552,000 USD. In a previous sale, this coin sold for $1,066,000.
1916 C Gold Sovereign
A sovereign is a British one-pound gold coin that was struck at the Royal Canadian Mint from 1908 to 1919. The 1916 C gold sovereign is rare, with about fifty known. The value of uncirculated 1916 Gold Sovereigns range from $33,300 to $218,000 CAD.
1969 Large Date 10-Cents
When the 10-cent 1969 coins were made, there was an error and inadvertently, some Large date coins were made instead of the Small date. The 1969 large date 10-cent coin is extremely rare, it's estimated that only 20 to 30 are in circulation. They are currently valued at $11,300 to $21,900 CAD.
1921 Silver 5-Cents
In 1921 the Royal Canadian Mint intended to introduce a new 5 cent coin made of nickel for the 1922 coinage. In preparation for its launch, the mint melted down its entire inventory of silver 5 cent coins, nearly all of which were 1921s. Only 400 silver 5-cents coins are believed to have survived. These coins are currently sell at auction for $2,261 to $67,082 CAD.
The Rarest Canadian Pennies
The last Canadian pennies were struck at the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg on May 4, 2012. Canadians with pennies to spare were asked to take their pennies to banks and other financial institutions so that they could be taken out of circulation and the metals recycled. If you still have Canadian pennies, you can't spend them but the banks will still take them, just make sure you hold on to the rare pennies on this list.
1936 Canadian "Dot" Penny
At a 2010 auction, a Canadian penny made headlines for fetching more than $400,000 USD. The reason for this high price tag was rarity. Only three such pennies are known to exist. What makes the penny special is that beneath the date, there is a tiny dot. This dot indicates that the penny was actually made in 1937, rather than 1936.
1953 Shoulder Fold (SF) Penny
The Canadian penny was redesigned in 1953 with the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, and the first design for the backside of the coin featured a fold in the queen's gown. When this design was used for the minting it caused problems with equipment and quality. The backside was redone later in 1953 to eliminate the shoulder fold, which made the original design very rare. These pennies have sold for up to $2,000 CAD at auction.
1955 No Shoulder Fold (NSF) Penny
The 1955 No shoulder fold is one of the rarest Canadian pennies ever struck. A few 1955 pennies were mistakenly struck with the older design dies. These have sold for up to $5,500 CAD at auction.
1923 Small 1-Cent
Large cent coins were minted from 1858 until 1920, when they were replaced by the small cent coin. The 1923 small cent is the rarest date among Canadian coins. A 1923 small 1-cent can fetch from $25.00 to $3,374 CAD.
1925 small 1-Cent
Fewer 1925 small cent coins were minted than and another Canadian penny. Uncirculated 1925 1-cent coins sell for $220 to $3374 CAD.
Other Rare and Valuable Canadian Pennies
The small 1-cent pennies listed below can sell for from $10 through thousands of dollars, depending on their condition.
- 1921 small 1-cent
- 1922 small 1-cent
- 1924 small 1-cent
- 1926 small 1-cent
2012 Canadian Pure Silver Farewell Penny
The last penny to be produced for Canadian circulation is housed at Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada in Ottawa. However, The Royal Canadian mint issued several commemorative 2012 Farewell 1-cent coins. A 2012 Canadian Pure silver 1-cent farewell Penny, for sale on eBay, was priced at $1199.95 CAD.
Where to Buy Rare Canadian Coins
If you're looking for Canadian coins online, the following sites sell rare examples:
- 2 Clicks Coins - This site has a collector coin classified section, where you can find many rare coins, including silver dimes and quarters. It also offers detailed information and photos of other rare coins.
- Provident Metals - This shop sells rare coins from all over the world, as well as Canadian silver coins.
- CoinMart - This is another source for coins from around the world and in Canada. The selection is constantly changing.
Tips for Collecting
Coin collecting can be fun, but it's also an investment. Making smart choices in which coins you want and how much you're willing to pay is very important. Keep the following tips in mind when collecting Canadian coins:
- It often takes an expert to spot a fake or counterfeit coin. If you're considering something very rare or valuable, have it professionally appraised.
- Learn as much as you can before you start buying. My Coin Collecting and offers great information for a beginning collector.
- Remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Because the above coins are especially rare, you're not likely to run into them on auction sites.
Thrill of the Hunt
Whether you're just starting your Canadian coin collection or are going after one of the coveted coins mentioned above, you'll enjoy the thrill of the hunt. Researching and tracking down these rare coins is almost as satisfying as adding them to your collection.