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Press Release - November 27, 2002
Fabled 1911 Canadian Dollar to be Auctioned in JanuaryDallas, TX - As part of the multi-million dollar Sid and Alicia Belzberg collection of Canadian Coinage being sold in New York City on January 13, in conjunction with the New York International show, Heritage World Coin Auctions will be offering at auction for the first time in many decades, the finer of only two known 1911 Canadian silver dollars. This very coin was listed in The Guinness Book of World Records during the 1960s and 1970s as the world's rarest coin.
Deeply toned in shades of purple, russet, gold, and gray with a flawless strike, this example has been certified by Professional Coin Grading Service - one of two leading coin grader/authenticators - as Specimen 65. The premier Canadian rarity and the finest of only two pieces struck in silver (there is also a single piece known in lead), the 1911 Canada dollar has been nicknamed "The Emperor of Canadian Coins". The other piece is permanently impounded in an Ottawa bank museum. Struck as a pattern in 1911, this issue has carved a unique niche in Canadian numismatics and is, without a doubt, the most storied issue in the entire Canadian coin series.
The obverse was designed by Sir E. Bertram Mackennal and his initials (B.M.) appear on the truncation of the bust. Interestingly, the reverse has a different designer, W. J. Blakemore, who borrowed from an earlier design of L.C. Wyon, the noted British coin designer. The 1911 obverse dies were later used to strike the 1936 Canadian dollar.
It is generally thought that the dies for the 1911 Dollar were prepared in London and the coins produced in London. In the official Ottawa Mint Report for 1911, Deputy Mint Master states, "the Dollar piece was not struck," but a 1911 Canadian Dollar is illustrated in the official Royal Mint Report for that year.
The existence of the 1911 Dollar was pure speculation until the noted London coin dealer, B.A. Seaby, announced the acquisition of "The Emperor of Canadian Coins" in 1960. He was quoted as having acquired the coin from an "unknown source," but word quickly spread that the coin had been purchased from the family of Sir William Grey Ellison-MacCartney who was the Mint Master at the time the coins were struck. Later investigation by Seaby determined that a second specimen of the dollar in silver was in possession of the Royal Mint Museum in London. This second specimen is on permanent loan to the Bank of Canada Museum in Ottawa.
Truly one of the great rarities of world numismatics, rivaling the American 1913 Liberty Nickel and 1804 Silver Dollars, the coin is expected to bring in excess of $500,000 US.
Anyone with Internet access may preview the entire collection, and bidding will soon open to Heritage members at: http://www.heritagecoin.com (membership is totally free). These amazing and historical pieces will also be available for viewing in Heritage's offices, at the Florida United Numismatists convention in Orlando, Florida January 6-11, and in New York city at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on January 12-13.
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