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Auction Name: 2019 August 15 ANA World's Fair of Money World Coins Platinum Night Auction - Chicago
Lot Number: 31339
Shortcut to Lot: HA.com/3075-31339
George V Specimen Pattern Dollar 1911 SP64 PCGS,
Ottawa mint, KM-Pn15, DC-6. The 1911 Dollar is considered the greatest, and most storied rarity in all of Canadian numismatics, and it is our distinct pleasure to offer this incredible coin for the second time. Previously of the notable Parrino and Belzberg Collections, this specimen is one of only two examples to have been struck in silver, while the other coin is permanently housed in the National Currency Collection in Ottawa alongside a single striking in lead.
If the 1921 Half Dollar is considered the, "King of Canadian Coins," then it follows that the 1911 Dollar reigns as, "The Emperor of Canadian Numismatics." The story begins with the Canadian Currency Act of 1910, which authorized the striking of a Canadian Silver Dollar in .925 silver with a weight of 360 grains. To facilitate the minting process, a coinage press was obtained from England to specifically strike Dollar-sized coins, and the Royal Mint in London prepared dies in order to strike two Specimens in silver and one in lead--proposed patterns for a future design. Additionally, cases for the Specimen sets of the first Canadian coinage of George V were produced with a position specifically designated for a Dollar coin. Despite all this, and for reasons unknown, the Canadian government authorities decided against issuing business strike Silver Dollars at this time.
Taking a closer look, Sir E. Bertram Mackennal's obverse design portrays a crowned George V in robes, facing left, with the initials B.M. appearing on the truncation of the bust. The surrounding legend is in Latin and translates as, GEORGE V, BY THE GRACE OF GOD KING AND EMPEROR OF INDIA. The reverse depicts a centered crown at top with the iconic maple wreath surrounding the legend written as, ONE-DOLLAR-CANADA-1911. Designed by W.J. Blakemore, this reverse design was taken from a previous example by noted British coin and medal designer, Leonard C. Wyon. Interestingly, no other first-year George V coin has DEI GRA (for Dei Gratia, or By the Grace of God) in the legend. In fact, all other 1911 coinage is referred to as "Godless" because of the omission.
This 1911 silver Dollar is considered a pattern, since it was a proposed coin with no business strikes ever having been produced. In fact, the two known Pattern Dollars, as well as the lead striking, were struck in London before the dies were sent to Canada. Major Sheldon S. Carroll, Chief Curator of the National Collection at the Bank of Canada stated, "When consideration was being given to issuing a Dollar coin in 1911, dies were prepared (in London) and trial strikes were made. Mint records do not tell us how many such strikes were produced." Until November 19, 1977 the only two known trial strikes were in silver. The lead striking was discovered shortly thereafter on November 20, 1977. It was sent to the Department of Finance in Ottawa for examination and it remained there in a brown paper parcel in the East Block of the Parliament Buildings for more than 65 years. No examples of the 1911 Dollar were known until 1960 when the noted London coin dealer B.A. Seaby obtained this coin from "an undisclosed source," but word quickly spread that the coin had been purchased from the family of Sir William Grey Ellison-Macartney who was the Mint Master at the time the coins were struck. Seaby later discovered the second silver example at the Royal Mint Museum in London-which is the coin on permanent loan to the National Currency Collection in Ottawa.
Stunning qualities abound on this rare Specimen. The deeply saturated planchet hosts a mixture of cool blues and fiery auburn tones, while the strike is impeccable across even the most intricate details of the King's effigy and reverse wreath. Those who have viewed both this coin and the example in the National Currency Collection consider this piece to be the finer of the two silver strikings. As this is the only example to have reached private hands, it remains the only collectible example of the 1911 silver Dollar--the classic Canadian rarity and the most publicized Canadian coin of all times (once listed in the Guinness Book of World Rarities as the world's most valuable coin). Though it may no longer be the world's most valuable coin, it remains Canada's most valuable numismatic item. To those bidding on this incredible treasure, we wish you luck; and to the victor, you will forever be a part of the impressive pedigree of this fabled piece of history.
Ex. Belzberg Collection (Heritage Auction #312, January 2003, Lot 15545), Certified as Specimen 65 by PCGS, sold for $690,000; Parrino Collection; Albern Coin (Calgary, Alberta Canada); Steve Marr (Detroit, Michigan); Proof Positive Coins, Ltd. (1988); Empire Industries (Montreal, Quebec, Canada); Carlton Numismatics (Birmingham, Michigan 1981); Anthony Carrato (Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada 1979-1981); Gene L. Henry, Lee Sanders, Gene Sanders Partnership (Seattle, Washington 1976-1979); Douglas Robins (Corralis, Oregan 1976); John McKay-Clements (Haileybury, Ontario, Canada); Les DePoy (Arcadia, California 1963-1965); B.A. Seaby, Ltd. (London 1960-1963); Sir William Grey Ellison-MacCartney and Family (1911-1960)
Estimate: $500,000 - UpFrom the George Hans Cook Collection of Canadian Coinage