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The Bank of Canada Hoard

Author: Jon Clarke - Bullion & Economics Editor

Published: 28 May 2021

Last Updated: 21 Jul 2021

Synopsis

Between 2000 and 2005, the Canadian government began unloading their gold reserves. The only coins spared were a batch of uncirculated Canadian $5 and $10 coins minted between 1912-1914, which had been all but forgotten about.

The First Canadian Gold Coins

Canada first began producing gold coins in 1908 when the Ottawa Mint (now the Ottawa branch of the Royal Canadian Mint), produced sovereigns during the reign of Edward VII. This has led some to debate whether these coins are Canadian or British.

If these 1908 sovereigns are considered British coins, then the first Canadian coins to be produced were the 1912 $10 and $5 coins. Both struck in .900 fine gold, the $10 coin contained 0.4838 ounces of gold, while the $5 coin contained 0.2419 ounces.

The obverse features Sir Edgar Bertram MacKennal’s crowned portrait of King Edward VII and is inscribed:

GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: REX ET IND: IMP

The reverse features the 1868 Coat of Arms showing the arms of the four founding provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The coat of arms is in front of two maple leaf branches with the inscription:

CANADA • 1912 • (DENOMINATION)

1912-1914

The Ottawa Mint continued to produce the $5 and $10 dollar coins from 1912 to 1914 but in relatively small mintages.

  $5 $10 Total
1912 165,680 74,759 240,439
1913 98,832 149,232 248,064
1914 31,122 140,068 171,190
Total 295,634 364,059  

*Source: Standard Catalog of World Gold Coins - 6th Edition

The Outbreak of War

Following Canada’s entry into World War I, the Canadian government took the decision to keep a hold on its gold reserves. This meant that very few of these gold coins ever reached the public and were instead held in the Bank of Canada’s vaults, where they remained for nearly a century.

Renewed Interest

Despite many collectors being unaware of their existence, researcher James Haxby had suggested their possible location in his book Striking Impressions: The Royal Canadian Mint and Canadian Coinage, released in 1983.

Between 2000 and 2005 Canada began off-loading its gold reserves, with the only coins left being the 1912-1914 coins.

Towards the end of 2021, the Bank of Canada and the Royal Canadian Mint announced that they would be releasing around 30,000 of the $5 and $10 coins. The rest (around 200,000) were to be melted down.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this hoard of coins gained significant interest due to their past and near legendary status, and sold out immediately. 

1912-1914 Canadian Coins for Sale

We have a small quantity of these coins in our possession which are not yet live on our website. We hope to be able to make them available in the coming days. If you would like to know more, please contact our customer service team and register your interest.

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