By Hubert Walker for CoinWeek …..
In 2012, the Bank of Canada announced the sale of 30,000 hand-selected specimens from a hoard of about 245,000 gold coins stored in cloth bags and locked in its vault since the 1930s. The $5- and $10-denomination circulating gold pieces were minted between 1912 and 1914, and are among the first gold coins ever minted in Canada.
The remaining 215,000 coins were melted this month.
As one of the Conservative Government’s several efforts to sell off public assets, the coins were liquidated in order to help balance the federal budget and avoid raising taxes. Until now, the hoard had been maintained as an asset of the Exchange Fund Account (EFA), which is overseen by the Minister of Finance. Proceeds from the sale of the numismatic-quality pieces will be returned to the EFA in the form of fixed-income securities.
The Ottawa Mint opened in 1908 as a branch of the British Royal Mint, with a mandate to produce circulation strike coinage for the domestic Canadian market. Circulation strike gold coins were also produced to take advantage of gold finds in the territories and provinces.
With the advent of World War I, the Canadian Government recalled the gold coins from circulation and kept the unreleased stock in reserve. Nonetheless, some coins remained in collectors’ hands.
A market in the surviving coins has flourished ever since. Reaction to the 2012 sale among some collectors was reminiscent of reactions in the United States to the GSA sales of Morgan dollars in the late 1970s and early ‘80s.
The $5 and $10 face value gold coins both consist of 90% pure gold, with the remaining 10% made up primarily of copper to enhance durability and add color. The $5 gold coin weighs approximately eight grams; the $10 gold coin weighs about 16 grams.
These coins were the first in Canadian numismatic history to feature a symbol of Canada. The reverse contains a shield bearing the Arms of Dominion of Canada, surrounded by wreaths of maple leaves. Above the shield is the inscription CANADA, and below it is the year and denomination.
The obverse features the portrait of British monarch King George V, who ruled from 1910 to his death in 1936.
The 30,000 coins deemed of the highest quality by Mint personnel were divided into two categories: Hand-Selected and Premium Hand-Selected, the difference being that a consumer could either pay a premium to be guaranteed a piece of the highest quality or pay regular price for an item chosen at random from the available supply.
The coins were sold exclusively through the Royal Canadian Mint. According to the Mint, purchasing options included:
- Premium Hand-Selected 6-Coin Set (140 sets – $12,000 each); 840 coins total
- Premium Hand-Selected 1912, 1913 and 1914 $5 single gold coins (291 coins – $875 each)
- Premium Hand-Selected 1913 and 1914 $10 single gold coins (4,869 coins – $1,750 each)
- Hand-Selected 1912, 1913 and 1914 $5 single gold coins (5,050 coins – $500 each)
- Hand-Selected 1912, 1913 and 1914 $10 single gold coins (18,950 coins – $1,000 each)
Premium Hand-Selected product options accounted for 6,000 of the 30,000 gold coins, while Hand-Selected options accounted for the remaining 24,000.
The Bank of Canada Hoard of $5 and $10 gold coins went on sale starting November 28, 2012 and shipped a month later on December 28. The purchase of each Premium Hand-Selected collectible was restricted to one per household and Hand-Selected items were held to a household limit of three per option.
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1912 Canada George V $5 and $10 Gold Coins Currently Available on eBay
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