An unsorted collection of circulated Canadian coins

10 Canadian Coins That Are Worth Significant Amounts of Money

Collecting coins is a fun and rewarding pastime, but it can also be a way to earn some serious money if you know what to look for. Anyone who has ever inherited a coin collection has likely wanted to know if there are any Canadian coins worth money and if they happen to now own one.

The reality of collectible coins in Canada is that there are many old and interesting coins out there, but the ones worth serious money are rare. There are only a few pieces out there that are worth large sums of money. The condition can also make the difference between a coin selling for a few hundred dollars and for tens of thousands of dollars.

There are also a number of fascinating coins out there that are worth more modest amounts, but have appreciated over time. There are also gold coins and silver coins in Canada that will always be valuable due to their precious metals content.

Today, we’re going to look at some of the most valuable Canadian coins in history, as well as other collectibles that can fetch you a great price.

What Canadian Coins Are Worth Money?

There are three factors that determine the value of a Canadian coin. Not all are equal, and the degree to which a coin is rare can have an outsized impact on its value if it is one of only a handful left in the world.

Condition and Rarity

Condition is a very important aspect to a coin’s value, which is why collectors should take pains to make sure they’re storing their coins properly. As a general rule, you should store coins in a plastic holder that is both acid-free and PVC-free. You might use plastic sleeves in an album or plastic tubes or capsules. Coins should also be kept out of direct sunlight.

Rarity and condition also go hand-in-hand. Not only is rarity a factor of how many of the coins were minted and sent into circulation, but also how many survive in a high-grade condition.

Demand from Collectors

Rarity and condition are important, but demand from collectors is what really sets the value. A rare coin won’t fetch a high price if no one is interested in it. Conversely, there are some coins that are not especially rare but are very popular with investors and generally fetch a good price as a result.

Precious Metal Content

Even coins that aren’t particularly rare or even in good condition can be worth a lot. A 1 oz. gold bullion coin like a Canadian Gold Maple Leaf should sell for a great price based purely on the market value of gold.

Gold and silver are both valuable because of their historic roles as stores of wealth for much of the history of civilization. The wealthy have stored their riches in jewellery, coins, and bars made from these precious metals for thousands of years, and it was only about 50 years ago that the last remnants of the gold standard ended completely.

Investment grade silver Canadian coins

Investment-Grade Coins vs. Rare Canadian Coins

There is an important difference between investment bullion and rare collectible coins, and it can be costly to confuse the two. The confusion often arises from the fact that gold and silver coins are a popular source for bullion. They’re made by the Royal Canadian Mint and other mints around the world, and while valuable, many are not especially rare.

The important distinction is that they get their value from very different factors. Bullion coins are made with a high percentage of precious metals content. Typically, they will be made from 99.9% gold or silver. Their value comes from the fluctuating price of gold and silver on commodities exchanges. These coins are not particularly rare. They’re often minted in numbers sufficient to satisfy investor demand. They’re a more reliable investment than rare coins, though very few gain that extra value that comes with rarity and interest from collectors.

Rare coins are often much more speculative. They do not have the same kind of precious metal content, as many were originally intended for circulation. The real risk with collecting coins as an investment is that they won’t appreciate in the way that you anticipate. It can take coins decades, if not hundreds of years to become rare and valuable, while others that are already rare can have a high barrier to entry.

The Top 10 Most Valuable Rare Canadian Coins Worth Money

Despite the risks involved in collecting coins for profit, there are some Canadian coins out there that are worth large sums of money. These are ten of the most valuable Canadian coins in history.

#1 1936 Canadian Dot Dime

The 1936 Dot Dime is one of the most valuable Canadian coins around. There are potentially as few as only five of them in existence today. The coin is notable for having been printed in 1937 when a dot was added to the design. Current valuations run from $144,500 to $245,000 CAD.

#2 1921 50-Cent Piece

This 50-cent piece is another rarity, with only about 50 to 100 believed to be in collections. While these coins were originally minted in large quantities, only a few were released into circulation at the time. Most wound up being melted down, with the metal used for later versions. Current valuations are between $104,000 and $335,000.

#3 1911 Canadian Silver Dollar

At one point in time, this coin had the record for most valuable coin in the world. This coin is remarkably rare, as only two were ever struck. In 1910, the Canadian government passed a law authorizing the Mint to strike silver dollars. The Mint at the time did not have dies large enough to produce silver dollars, so they ordered the equipment from the Royal Mint in London. However, when Robert Borden was elected in 1911, he scrapped the production of silver dollars. However, the Royal Mint in London had struck three trial coins, only two of which were in silver (the third was lead). One of the silver coins is now in the Canadian Currency Museum in Ottawa, while the other was sold to a private collector for half a million dollars.

#4 1921 Silver 5-Cents

The 1921 George V silver 5-cent coin was the last 5-cent piece made from silver in Canada. After that year, 5-cent pieces would become the nickel, without any precious metal content, leading to the new name for the familiar piece of currency. A large number of this last batch of silver coins was melted down. Today, only 400 to 450 survive, and they have a value of around $4,500 or higher. It’s one of the most famous Canadian 5-cent coins worth money.

#5 1936 Canadian Dot Penny

The 1936 Goerge V Dot Cent was minted in early 1937. The death of King George V and the constitutional crisis caused by the abdication of his successor, Edward VIII, left mints in the Commonwealth in their own crisis. There was a desperate need for new circulation coins, and not enough time to prepare the likeness of the new King George VI.

Instead, 1936 coins were re-issued with the old king’s effigy. The dot was added as an indicator of the anomaly. While nearly 700,000 of these pennies went into circulation, only five are known to survive today.

#6 1953 Shoulder Fold Penny

The 1953 penny was redesigned after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The original design featured a fold in the shoulder of the queen’s gown that caused considerable problems with the minting equipment. The Mint had to change the design, and the original became quite rare.

#7 1965 Queen Elizabeth II Large Beads 5 Cent

This nickel is only from the 1960s, but it’s a good example of how very detailed design anomalies can give value to a coin in the right condition. The Royal Canadian Mint went through a revamping of its ornamental bead designs in the mid-1960s, and while some are quite ordinary, others turned out to be quite rare, including the large donning beads on the 1965 nickel. Uncirculated grade examples can be worth over $2,000.

#8 1947 King George VI Curved Right 7 Half Dollar

This is another notable Canadian 50 cent coin worth a lot of money. This half dollar had several varieties, including one that featured an oddly short, curved 7 in the date: 1947. Uncirculated examples are now worth over $1,000.

#9 1916-C King George V Sovereign

The sovereign may be unfamiliar to Canadians, but it was a mainstay of British currency. This coin was worth one pound, and in Canada, it was produced from 1908 to 1919 and made from gold. Among special Canadian coins worth money, this one stands out. An uncirculated 1916-C George V sovereign can sell for as much as $218,000.

#10 1969 Large Date 10-Cent Coins

These dimes from 1969 are a great example of a coin that becomes valuable thanks to an error. Large dates were printed on the coin instead of small ones, and there are only about 20 or 30 in circulation. They’re valued from $11,000 to $22,000.

A coin collection with coins carefully stored in plastic cases

Counterfeit Coins: How to Spot Fakes in Your Collection

Given the market for rare coins, there are inevitably going to be people trying to make a quick buck through counterfeiting. Aspiring collectors should learn a few things about how to spot counterfeit coins.

Buying coins from reputable sources is the best way to avoid counterfeits, but there are also some signs that collectors can watch for. The markings are the main thing to look at. Look for inconsistencies by comparing the physical coin with images of an authentic coin. You can also look for features like edge finishes and reliefs, as these are difficult and expensive to reproduce.

Care and Maintenance: Should You Clean Your Coins?

Before you reach for silver polish in anticipation of earning a large sum of money for that rare coin you found, let’s get one thing absolutely clear. You should not, under any circumstances, attempt to clean a rare collectible coin.

Cleaning coins has the potential to damage them, and it can significantly harm the value of a rare collectible. Collectors want coins that have been kept in mint condition, uncirculated and untarnished by the oils on human hands or exposure to the air. If they can’t get that, they would, by and large, prefer to buy coins that have a patina – the layer of verdigris that accumulates on a coin over time due to oxidation.

When you clean the patina off a coin, you’re scrubbing away part of what makes it valuable. You’re much safer not cleaning a coin, even if it looks heavily tarnished. The condition will impact the value of your coin, but cleaning can make things even worse.

Coin collecting is a fun and rewarding hobby for people who love learning about the history of coins and appreciate the designs that come with them. While only a few are worth serious money, there are also plenty that have more modest valuations that collectors would still be interested in.

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