An Incredible Superbly Toned MS66 Example of this Rare IssueVictoria 10 Cents 1889, From our January 2010 Auction of the Canadiana Collection, where it was described, "KM3, MS66 PCGS. The mintage for the 1889 10 Cents was an unimpressive 600,000 pieces. However, it is generally thought that most of those coins were actually dated 1888. The realization of the rarity and value of this date is an interesting one. As related in the Norweb catalog, the Canadian Antiquarian issue of January 1890 commented:
"Specimens of the coinage of 1889 are still scarce in this vicinity (Montreal) indicating that it must have been issued from some of the distant offices of the receiver-general."
In 1950, Leslie C. Hill could only account for 16 pieces. That was also the last year an 1889 10 Cents was found in circulation. The rarity of the date was generally unrecognized just three years earlier with the Charlton Catalogue from 1947 only valuing the date at $1.25 in Uncirculated. However, John Pittman paid $67 for the Mint State coin he purchased in 1951. Just 13 years later, in 1964, an Uncirculated 1889 brought $3,300 in the CNA Sale.
While exact mintage figures are impossible to determine, the best guess today is that somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 pieces were actually struck with the 1889 date. Undoubtedly, this mintage was accomplished with one die pairing. The diagnostic die crack at the left side of the second I in VICTORIA is faintly seen here. The diagnostic tiny dot to the left of the final A in CANADA is also light. We do not see the raised curved line that extends from the upper space of that same A, suggesting this piece was struck from an early die state.
This is far and away the finest 1889 10 Cents certified by PCGS (7/09). The next finest grade is MS63, represented by two pieces. The surfaces on this example are nearly flawless. Both obverse and reverse are evenly balanced, with lovely gray-lilac toning. The reverse displays considerable reflectivity, a feature that is absent in the obverse fields. The devices are sharply detailed throughout. This is an opportunity for the advanced collector to acquire what is unquestionably the finest example of the rarest date in the Canadian 10 Cents series." This remains the single finest example certified by PCGS, with the next highest graded pieces being MS63.
Estimate: $70,000 - $85,000.
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