To say there is a lot of preparation involved in conducting a
top-quality sale is a bit of an under-statement, but that work is vital in
creating an offering that generates the exposure and attracts the bidders that
our clients deserve. One of our favourite moments is when we can let everyone
know that the Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. catalogue has gone to the printer.
Thatís a significant milestone that indicates the sale is close and it recently
happened with our latest offering, the Toronto Coin Expo 2017 Spring Sale.
A catalogue is an important tool for many reasons: it needs to
showcase the material accurately and in the best light; it provides an
important research medium to establish future pricing; and it needs to be
aesthetically pleasing, so a lot of time and thought goes into each catalogue
we produce. Even though a large number of people rely on the Internet for their
personal viewing and pricing, the physical catalogue is valuable because you
donít have control over what re-mains online.
We display enlarged posters of each cover in our Moncton auction
room to remind ourselves to always strive for the best we can achieve for our
clients. Also, people think they look pretty cool! We know that the consistency
we aim for with every catalogue has been achieved be-cause itís difficult to
choose a favourite. While certain lots may stand out from each sale, the
auction as a whole has been something weíve been proud of each and every time.
That quality and consistency is what our clients expect from us and
itís something that weíre happy to deliver.
So, itís now possible
to have a tease from the cover of our latest catalogue and that means youíll be
able to see the entire sale very soon! You can order a copy of the current
catalogue for $10 by contacting Dawn Bell at email@example.com.
18 April 2017
The Coin Cabinet at Resurgo Place
Thanks to the efforts of the Resurgo Place, Hub City residents
have had the opportunity to take in a fine travelling exhibit produced by the
Bank of Canada Museum called, In the Money. ďFrom the mulberry-based paper
money of Ming Dynasty China to Canadaís shiny polymer notes,Ē New Brunswickers
can learn about how banknotes are being made to facilitate ease of use and keep
them from being counterfeited. The Coin Cabinet will be at the museum April
28th and 29th 10-5pm, offering free appraisals and evaluations of coins,
banknotes, tokens, and medals. This activity is included with paid admission to
The security of a nationís currency is a big deal and this
interactive exhibit aims to highlight the efforts that have been undertaken to
keep Canadaís money something in which the public can place its trust.
Attendees get to see their money up close and personal, learning about paper
making, engraving, holograms, and how technology is used in producing our
extremely innovative notes.
And did you hear about the new Canada 150 commemorative $10 note
that will be released June 1st? Resurgo Place invites you drop by on Saturday
April 29, 2017 (10 am Ė 3 pm) for a very special opportunity. In collaboration
with the Bank of Canada's regional office for the Atlantic Provinces, visitors
will have a chance to examine the Canada 150 bank note before it is issued it
Education has always been important to us at Geoffrey Bell Auction
Ltd. and the Coin Cabinet, so we are very pleased to take part in this joint
promotion. In addition to providing our expert opinion on your numismatic
collectables, there will be promotional giveaways.
Resurgo Place is the home of the Moncton Museum and Transportation
Discovery Centre, a 31,000 square foot facility that is also home to galleries,
a gift shop, a research centre and the official Visitor Information Centre for
the City of Moncton. It was named for the cityís Latin motto, ďI rise again,Ē
and is a real asset to the people of Moncton, Riverview, and Dieppe.
The exhibit is only open until April 30th, so donít miss out on a
fine numismatic opportunity and donít forget to bring in your items April 28-29
for a free appraisal.
12 April 2017
Canadaís Commemorative Notes
Canadaís new commemorative $10 banknote was unveiled in
spectacular fashion live via the Internet and social media last week; the note,
celebrating the sesquicentennial of confederation, has been receiving mostly
favourable reviews as many display their excitement about being able to acquire
one after its release date, which also happens to be the start of the Geoffrey
Bell Auctions Ltd. Toronto Coin Expo Spring Sale, June 1st, 2017.
The Bank of Canada will be printing 40 million, ďjust more than
enough for every Canadian to keep one.Ē How uncommon is it for the Bank of
Canada to issue a commemorative banknote? This is only the fourth in its 82
year history. Letís have a look at the others via some past auction results.
The first commemorative note came in the Bank of Canadaís first
year of existence, 1935. This fabled piece is hugely sought after and stands
out with its unusual denomination of $25, representing the 25th anniversary, or
silver jubilee, of the coronation of King George V. Issued in both official
languages, this French version realized $5,250 at our Toronto Coin Expo 2016
It wasnít until 1967 that our nation saw another commemorative
banknote; the occasion this time was, of course, Canadaís centennial. Commonly
hoarded, especially the special collectorís issue, these attractive paper
dollar notes are still very affordable and are often collected by prefix. A
nice collection of 13 notes sold at last yearís Moncton November Sale for $110.
Collectors waited until 2015, when Queen Elizabeth II became the
longest-reigning sovereign in Canadaís modern era, for the Bank of Canada to
issue a commemorative $20 with a change in the polymer window to honour the
milestone. A solid serial numbered note hammered at $450 in our 2015 Moncton
Keep your eyes on your change and you may find something worth
adding to your collection at face value and mark June 1st on your calendars for
the release of Canadaís newest commemorative banknote and the start of our
Toronto Coin Expo Spring Sale with the highly anticipated Covered Bridge
5 April 2017
Easter is approaching, which, for many collectors, signals that
next week the Church of England will hold their Royal Maundy service, an annual
event held on Maundy Thursday - the day be-fore Good Friday - where silver
coins are handed out to elderly recipients as a symbol of the commandment by
Jesus Christ at the Last Supper that His followers should love each other.
These are always fun items to put in a Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. sale, as
they are hugely popular, yet can be relatively affordable. Numismatists are
largely historians at heart, so that history can make these little gems
difficult to resist.
Affordable? You bet; look at these three nice Victorian pieces
from our last Moncton November sale that hammered at $45 - all dated 1860. Or
this 1902 set from last yearís Toronto Coin Expo Fall Sale that sold for $160
and a 1964 set, with its case of issue, that realized $190. Have we made our
The first Maundy ceremony was said to be in 1210 with King John
and in 1213 he gave out 13 pence to 13 poor men. Traditionally, the coins were
given by the reigning monarch to poor elderly persons, along with a gift of
food or clothing, in addition to washing the feet of beggars. This latter
gesture went away in the 18th century and from 1699 to 1931, it was a
representative of the monarchy instead of the king or queen that attended. It
was George V that brought the tradition back and Queen Elizabeth II has only
missed four ceremonies to date.
Today, instead of the poor, the recipients are chosen for their
service to their various churches and communities. The coins have the
denominations of one penny, two pence, three pence, and four pence and are now
different than the circulating coinage. Henry IV started the tradition of
having the number of recipients equal the monarchís age. Of course, given the
long-standing tradition with Maundy money, there are many extremely interesting
facts to learn. One could dedicate themselves solely to the study of these
coins and never become bored.
Numismatics is a great hobby, so collect and study something that
interests you. And pay attention to our upcoming sales, you wonít have any
trouble finding some bit of treasure that catches your eye.
27 March 2017
A Numismatic Tribute to Newfoundland
Canadaís sesquicentennial is in full swing; the Royal Canadian
Mint has been issuing many 2017 collector coins, the general public is
anxiously awaiting the release of all the circulating commemorative coinage,
the hashtag #Canada150 is all over social media, and a number of medals have
been released, with more coming thanks to the Royal Canadian Numismatic
Associationís club medal program. Yes, itís Canadaís 150th year and itís hard
for most of us to imagine a ďCanadaĒ without the province of Newfoundland, yet
that province hasnít been a part of confederation for even half of those 150
years. Hereís a little numismatic tribute via some wonderful Newfoundland
pieces that have been offered by Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd.
The star of the Toronto Coin Expo 2015 Spring Sale and the
Geoffrey Bell Collection was undoubtedly the Peter McAuslane token. McAuslane
was a blacksmith in St. Johnís around 1844, but itís believed most of his
farthing-sized tokens were destroyed along with his shop in the Great Fire of
1846, making the piece exceedingly rare. When a piece does become available, it
makes news. This very attractive example sold for $43,000.
Paper money out of Newfoundland is particularly fascinating; the
notes are unlike regular Canadian banknotes and they command strong prices, but
they still go fairly quietly. Another example from our 2015 Spring Sale was a
1902 Newfoundland Government 40-cents cash note that fully realized its
estimate hammering at $8,000. These notes can become very addictive.
Naturally, we have to include the circulating coins of the
province. From 1865 various denominations of provincial coinage made up the
daily transactions of commerce, including sterling silver 20-cent pieces and a
nice selection of 2-dollar gold coins. At the RCNA Sale in Ottawa last year we
auctioned a very attractive brilliant uncirculated 1881 piece that sold for
Canadaís first tribute to the province came the year Newfoundland
entered confederation; the 1949 is considered by many as the most attractive of
the silver dollar issues and they can be found readily even in high grades. An
MS66 example sold for $150 at our Moncton November Sale in 2015.
Youíll find few
collectors who donít believe Newfoundland currency isnít undervalued, yet most
pieces remain surprisingly affordable despite relatively low mintages and their
aesthetic and historic lure. Keep watching this blog as we get closer to the
Toronto Coin Expo 2017 Spring Sale so you stay current on all the numismatic news.
23 March 2017
I. G. Baker & Company Tokens
Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. is pleased to be able to continue
sharing more numismatic pieces that helped shape the very history and geography
of Canada. The fur trade predates Confederation, forming the foundation for the
country for which weíre celebrating the 150th anniversary of this year. While
it was the Hudsonís Bay Company that dominated the trading industry, others
played large roles, adding some interesting tokens for us to collect, I. G.
Baker & Company was one such player.
I. G. Baker & Co., an American venture, started hauling goods
from Fort Benton, Montana around 1871. It wasnít long before they secured
contracts with the North West Mounted Police and built what would become Fort
Macleod. They would grow to set up posts in Calgary, Lethbridge, and Fort
Walsh, Saskatchewan before falling victim to technology as expanding railways
in both the US and Canada led to the demise of the trading post. I. G. Baker
& Co. were taken over by HBC in 1891.
Since furs werenít the standard trading item in their area, the
tokens of I. G. Baker & Co. were in dollars and cents instead of made
beavers. Uniface brass tokens in denominations of $5, $1, 50 cents, and 25
cents were issued. After acquiring the company, HBC over-punched the existing
tokens to have them read, H B Co.
Watch the Toronto Coin Expo 2017 Spring Sale for I. G. Baker &
Co. token examples. Given the extraordinary history behind the tokens
associated with development of western Canada, Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. is
very happy to be able to offer some incredible Hudsonís Bay Company related
Weíve been teasing
you with posts about these tokens and The Covered Bridge Collection, so keep
watching our blog and following us on social media to stay up-to-date on all
our auctions as we reveal even more.
14 March 2017
Special Front Door Promotion for The Covered
Bridge Collection at the Toronto Coin Expo
The Covered Bridge Collection of banknotes being offered by
Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. at the spring and fall shows of the 2017 Toronto
Coin Expo is truly something special. With 2,000 highly-prized banknotes that
havenít been seen in decades, this is fresh material. Future posts will present
more drool-worthy details; today weíre going to talk about a unique, very
special front door promotion that will be available to Toronto Coin Expo
Each day your admission ticket to the Expo bourse will entitle you
to have the opportunity to purchase one of a limited number of PCGS graded
replacement banknotes from the multi-col-oured and 1954 series with The Covered
Bridge Collection pedigree on the holder. These beautiful notes will be priced
significantly below book value and will sell out daily.
There will be a new offering every day, but the only chance to get
these special notes will be at the front door with your daily admission. Yes,
each day, both the spring and fall Toronto Coin Expo shows will have something
different available when you get your ticket.
With The Covered Bridge Collection, Part VI of the Cooper
Collection, and the West Coast Coin Collection, both Toronto Coin Expo sales
promise to be something remarkable, with enough material to interest collectors
of every numismatic facet. The dates for this yearís auctions are June 1 and 2,
2017 then September 28 and 29, 2017.
The chance to
purchase these special Covered Bridge Collection pedigreed banknotes at the
front door is icing on the cake with your admission to Canadaís premier coin
and bank note show; come find out why this is where all the cool coin and
banknote people hang out! 2017 show dates are June 2 and 3, with the fall show
taking place September 29 and 30.
8 March 2017
and Hubbard Canadian Company Ltd. Tokens
With Canada celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2017, itís easy
to reflect on the makings of the nation as we know it today; the fur trade
shaped this country economically, geographically, and legally. The Hudsonís Bay
Company was granted a Royal Charter in 1670, giving them authority over much of
what is now Canada, and they dominated the industry for most of their
existence. Yet, they were not without their rivals, with the North West Company
easily being their largest, but there were others, such as the Lamson and
Hubbard Canadian Company Ltd.
An individual named J H Bryan schooled himself in the fur trade
workings after he arrived in Edmonton around 1914 and, when he had built his
own business with a string of posts, he eventually convinced one of the largest
raw-fur dealing companies in the United States to invest a substantial amount
of money in a Canadian division, buying Bryanís posts and keeping him on as
manager. In 1918 they registered this entity as Lamson and Hubbard Canadian
The company went all out and by 1922 they possessed around 10
percent of the fur trade market. Unfortunately for them, they neglected to
build up enough reserve to survive the decline in the market that happened
around this time, which eventually left them susceptible to the larger, better
established, Hudsonís Bay Company who bought out their stock in 1924.
While short-lived, Lamson and Hubbard contributed to the Canadian
numismatic scene by issuing a much sought-after series of tokens of 1/2, 1, and
5 made beavers (MB). Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. is pleased to be offering
examples of these rare tokens in our Toronto Coin Expo 2017 Spring Sale, taking
place June 1st and 2nd, 2017, as part of an exceptional selection of Hudsonís
Bay Company material.
Make sure to stay tuned to this blog and our Facebook and Twitter
pages to learn about more of our offerings.
15 February 2017
Some Different Denominations
Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. handles a lot of numismatic material
through its auctions and The Coin Cabinet retail store, putting us in the
enviable position of seeing items that arenít your everyday, run-of-the-mill
circulating coins or paper money. Of course, what seems ďoddĒ now, wasnít
necessarily the case when they were issued and used. Hereís a look, with
auction examples, of some money that many would consider strange today.
Those unfamiliar with the 1935 $25 Bank of Canada issue are
inevitably taken back by the denomination, even though 25 is a perfectly useful
number to deal with. They become a little more understanding when itís
explained that it was printed to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the reign of
King George V. At our Toronto Coin Expo 2015 Spring Sale we sold a very special
low serial number example that closed for $8,250.
Thereís another note from the same year that will appear strange
to many today; now that the $100 banknote is the highest denomination in
Canada, old issues of the $1000 note appear gigantic and many donít realize
that we once had a $500 note too. 1935 saw the last of these latter issues and
a stunning proof we offered in last yearís RCNA Ottawa Sale hammered at $5,250.
For something completely different, $6 banknotes will surprise
most people. An 1870 La Banque Nationale six-dollar note sold for $1,600 at our
Toronto Coin Expo 2015 Fall Sale. For varying reasons associated with banking
regulations and types of circulating currencies, seemingly strange
denominations arenít terribly uncommon with our early banknotes. For example,
four dollar issues were very useful in colonial times because they were the
equivalent to one pound Halifax currency. Since this reason had made this
denomination obsolete by 1900 when the $4 Dominion of Canada note we auctioned
at our Moncton 2015 November Sale was issued, four-dollar notes would be
discontinued after 1902.
Whether itís 25-cent shinplasters, various world currencies,
especially the emergency German notgeld, or high-denomination
hyper-inflationary money, there is a lot to consider when thinking about
ďstrangeĒ denomination coins and banknotes, which means you arenít going to get
bored with such a collection. Have fun and keep an eye on each Geoffrey Bell
Auctions Ltd. sale.
3 February 2017
Is a Complete Collection Possible?
Is there such a thing as a complete coin collection? Whether you
collect Canadian decimal coins by type or denomination, have you ever wondered
what a full set is? Maybe itís only the coins marked on the album pages or
strictly those listed in the Charlton catalogue, and then one day you start
thinking about other varieties, or you see a cool error coin, or consider
different strikes - such as adding proof or proof-likes to your circulation
coins - how do you decide how far to go?
At Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. we see all kinds of collectors and
the truth is that there is no incorrect answer because you are the one who
ultimately has to decide what to go after. If youíre a small cent specialist,
you may want both the í47 maple leaf blunt and pointed seven and even the í48
ďA to denticleĒ and its partner, but do you start looking for the hanging
digits of Queen Elizabeth? It boils down to your personal thinking and how
important you consider die varieties and clashes, for example.
Then, when the album holes are filled, do you keep upgrading or
move to a different challenge? If youíre starting to think about twenty-five
cent pieces more than your collection of silver dollars, you may be getting a
little bored of those mammoth pieces, which could mean itís time to move past
your original endeavour or, at least, take a break. This is, after all, a hobby
and itís meant to be fun, so donít get discouraged if you develop new
You may even begin picking up paper money, tokens, medals, or
ancients. Specialize when you can, we hear that advice often, because it
involves a more thorough education which will always be useful, but donít be
afraid to let your eye wander.
So, to answer the original question, a collection is complete when
you decide. Whatever your speciality, there will always be new possibilities,
but continue to look for what gives you the most satisfaction.
Furthermore, when you
catch a look at the content of our upcoming auctions, it will be difficult not
to find something else that commands your attention. We know youíll enjoy the
Toronto Coin Expo sales this year and donít forget about our Moncton November
30 January 2017
Allure of Gold Coins
Having been in business as long as Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd.
has, with the volumes of numismatic material weíve handled, we get to know what
our clients are hoping to add to their collections. Paper money and tokens both
have huge, dedicated followings, as does Canadian decimal, of course, but itís
gold coins that consistently draw the most attention. There just seems to be
something almost mythological about this storied precious metal and it seems
everyone wants a bit of the Midas touch.
Gold has been a commercial standard for a very long time. Croesus
of Lydia may have struck the first gold coins in sixth century BC and the
prominence of this exalted metal hasnít waned. Preferring gold to, say,
frankincense and myrrh, collectors seem to flock to these yellow coins whenever
theyíre offered at auction.
Take last yearís RCNA Sale in Ottawa, the top four bookmarked items
over our three-session auction were all gold coins with an MS60 1919 Canadian
gold sovereign leading the way. What does that mean? Collectors are watching
for opportunities to add bullion to their portfolios. Is that a bad strategy?
Not likely. These coins are traditionally driven by gold bullion prices, making
them a tempting investment.
For collectors, the advice to ďbuy the best you can affordĒ does
apply to gold too. These top dogs do well over time and, if itís a modern
bullion coin, the larger pieces tend to have less of a markup over their
intrinsic value than smaller coins.
You donít need to limit yourself to coins either. In the Toronto
Coin Expo 2016 Fall Sale a privately issued McTavish Metal Co. pure gold medal
was one of the most watched items.
In the same auction, one of the stars of the show was a gold coin
with a twist, a rare off-metal error version of the 1970 Manitoba commemorative
dollar that sold for $10,000.
Collecting gold coins has its own learning curve; the softness of
the metal and the fact that youíre not likely going to have the opportunity to
handle large quantities makes grading these coins challenging when youíre not
familiar with them.
Gold coins definitely have an allure all of their own that we at
Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. understand, so keep watching our auctions for more
18 January 2017
January 16th was Blue Monday, supposedly the most depressing day
of the year. Did you feel particularly down that day? After stumbling upon a
bit of info, we at Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. could understand if a number of
British monarchs didnít particularly like these ďdead of winterĒ months. No
less than four of our more recent kings and queens passed away during these
darker days and they were most dreadful for ďGeorges.Ē
George V finally succumbed to his chronic breathing issues on
January 20, 1936 at the age of 70. In Canada, his death created our famous dot
coins. One of our favourite pieces weíve auc-tioned with his image is a low
serial number 1935 commemorative $25 banknote that was in our Toronto Coin Expo
2015 Spring Sale. These special notes always attract attention and this one
When Queen Victoria died at the age of 81 on January 22, 1901, she
was the longest-reigning British monarch, only recently surpassed by our own
Queen Elizabeth II. Numismatically, Queen Vicky is well represented in Canada,
with our first coinage being the most obvious, but there are some simply
spectacular medals with her image and itís hard to beat her pleasing por-trait
on this historic British silver behemoth that hammered at $500 in our Toronto
Coin Expo 2016 Sale.
King George III was also 81 when he died on January 29, 1820. His
coppers as well as con-temporary counterfeit pieces were an important part of
our colonial coinage, but weíre rather fond of this medal issued to commemorate
the 50th year of his reign that was in our RCNA Ot-tawa 2016 Sale.
The final ďGeorgeĒ in this post is George VI who passed on
February 6, 1952 at the relatively young age of 56. Of course, there are plenty
of great coins with his portrait, but he looks very regal on the 1937
five-dollar notes, such as one that sold in our Toronto Coin Expo 2015 Fall Sale
Naturally, Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. isnít suggesting thereís
anything concrete regarding winter and monarch deaths, but took advantage of
this observation to highlight a few of their contribu-tions to the numismatic
scene that have crossed our auction block. Stay tuned in 2017 for more exciting
12 January 2017
Looking Back to the Future
We are barely into
January and the buzz has already begun for Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd.ís
Toronto Coin Expo 2017 Spring Sale with news of the Covered Bridge Collection.
Of Course, you will hear more about that in future blog posts, but today is a
good day to look back at some other truly exceptional banknotes that have
passed through our office, establishing our numismatic auction firm as Canadaís
A year earlier the
Expoís Fall Show featured the second known example of a 1900 Bank of Nova
Scotia one pound note that hammered at $18,000. These Caribbean issues are
always show-stoppers on the rare occasions they become available.
Yet, thanks to the
presence of an exclamatory-worthy 1925 Dominion of Canada $500 banknote that
hammered at $205,000 when the dust settled, those other collection centrepieces
played a supporting role. We then brokered the $500 in 2015 in a private treaty
for a record $350,000, the most a Canadian banknote ever has realized.
are glad our auctions deliver the results all the material trusted to us
deserve; it makes for happy clients and ensures we continue to receive the top
numismatic offerings available. Our auctions this year, with the Covered Bridge
Collection as the ultimate highlight, show this. Mark your calendars for the
start of it all with the Toronto Coin Expo 2017 Spring Sale June 1-2.
11 January 2017
Matched Set of Four 1923 Shinplasters
One of the attractions to our hobby is the many ways to collect;
numismatics does not limit your creativity when it comes to assembling a
collection, whether itís coins, banknotes, tokens, or medals. Some methods,
like assembling a date set of Canadian silver dollars, is pretty straight
forward, while others, like the notes featured in todayís blog post, can
require dedication and patience. Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. is very pleased to
be able to offer a matched set of four shinplasters in the Toronto Coin Expo
2017 Spring Sale.
Even when the decision to collect a matched set of notes has been made,
you have options; do you look for different denominations from a series,
different prefixes of the same denomination, or, as is the case with the notes
in question, different check letters from one particular variety of a series?
No matter the choice, which is often decided by pure chance, such a collection
can be a daunting, but impressive undertaking.
The 25-cent issues of 1923 have four varieties, with the notes of this
post all coming from the last group, catalogued in Charlton as DC-24d with the
signatures of C. E. Campbell and W. C. Clark, which were delivered in March of
1932. There were ten check letters for this variety: A, B, C, D, E, H, J, K, L,
and M. This lot represents the H, K, L, and M letters, leaving room for
additions to an already significant assemblance. With sheet numbers ending at
700000, the numbers of 699995 in this lot represent a collection of high
numbers, making them among the last shinplasters to be printed in Canada.
The fractional notes of the Dominion of Canada are a popular, important
part of our numismatic history and they never fail to attract the attention of
collectors and non-collectors both, with their stories often handed down
through generations of familial lore.
This serious grouping of banknotes represents part of a momentous
collection of paper money Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. is bringing to the
Toronto Coin Expo Spring and Fall Sales this year.
31 December 2016
Bell Auctions Ltd. - Our Year in Review
We have to admit, we feel a little guilty. While watching so many
big-name celebrities fall victim to a relentlessly cruel 2016, Geoffrey Bell
Auctions Ltd. has had a very good year. It was busy, mind you, and the thought
may have crossed our minds more than a couple times that it would be nice to be
spending more time home with the kids, but being busy doing something you love
is never a bad thing. And the funny thing about having an active, positive year
is that it sets you up for more of the same.
The numismatic auction year couldnít have started any better than it
did with the Toronto Coin Expo 2016 Spring Sale. The event featured more of the
Richard Cooper Collection, the Bob Merchant Communion Token Collection, scarce
high-grade Canadian decimal coins, outstanding banknotes, and an attractive
1859 brass cent. Bidding was active and strong and everyone had fun - well,
except for the tragic loss of a coffee-soaked laptop.
With hardly enough time to catch our collective breaths, we were in
Ottawa for the RCNA Sale where there were too many showstoppers to list in this
post. The 1911 Electrotype dollar, a 1904 Molson Bank $20 trophy note,
exceptional high-grade decimal, rare error coins, and bank legals were just a
few of the items that brought in some big money for our clients.
Then it was time to head back to Toronto for the Fall Expo, sporting a
1901 Bank of Commerce Dawson overprint trophy note as the star of the auction.
It had a worthy supporting cast with a rare 1914 Molson Bank $50 note, Captain
Cookís Resolution and Adventure medal, and some breathtaking off-metal error
coins garnering a lot of attention.
To wind out the numismatic auction year, we were back home in Moncton
for our November Sale, offering a wide selection of wonderful pieces and
clearing space on our shelves for 2017.
Our 2016 was a privileged one, allowing us to handle some truly
exceptional numismatic material as well as meet many very special, and happy,
collectors and clients. Everyone at Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. would like to
offer you our heartfelt thanks and best wishes for a prosperous 2017.
24 December 2016
Fun with Counterstamped
Staying focused and limiting oneself to Canadian decimal coins can be a
big challenge for some collectors; whether itís colonial tokens, paper money,
medals, or any other numismatically themed piece of history, our minds often
become attracted to something a little different from what we think weíre
looking for. Thatís the fun part of collecting and, letís face it, any hobby is
meant to be fun, so donít worry about passing on something you find yourself
interested in, even if you have a typical strategy of buying for investment.
This look at counterstamped coins that have gone through Geoffrey Bell Auctions
Ltd. will show you that itís okay to stray once in a while.
Perhaps the most famous Canadian decimal counterstamps came from a
Nelson, BC jeweller who used a jewellerís stamp to mark his initials, JOP
fairly unobtrusively on Canadian silver dollars. Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd.
has handled many of these in a number of different years, like this 1935
example that realized $1500 at the Toronto Coin Expo 2016 Spring Sale.
The most prolific Canadian counterstamps are from the 19th century
Montreal chemist and druggist firm of Devins and Bolton. Their marks on a wide
array of copper pieces are extremely collectable and weíve handled a lot in our
sales. Two pieces that stand out come from our Toronto Coin Expo 2015 Spring
Sale: this bold stamp on a Bout de L'Isle Bridge Token that finished at $3100
and this countermarked Quebec Bank penny that fetched $1000.
Going further back, Toronto jeweller and medallist John Wanless put his
JW initials in a rectan-gular cartouche on some coins; this 1870 Canadian
50-cent piece sold at our RCNA Ottawa 2016 Sale for $170.
Counterstamps can also be found on modern pieces; in 1970, upon the
death of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Arab community in Vancouver countermarked a
number of 1970 nickel dollars with GAN 1918-1970 and one example sold in our
Toronto Coin Expo 2014 Spring Sale for $45.
With a wide range of numismatic expertise,
Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. is able to go beyond traditional decimal collecting
to realize the best prices for their clients no matter the item, so go ahead
and extend your collecting knowledge if you see something that interests you.
Beyond the satisfaction of learning something new, these examples show that
your bankbook may benefit too.