Canada's Money

Kleeberg, John M.
Coinage of the Americas Conference
American Numismatic Society
New York
Worldcat Works




Open access edition funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Humanities Open Book Program.


Table of Contents



An American Collector's Guide to the Coins of Nouvelle France

Michael J. Hodder

Coinage of the Americas Conference at the American Numismatic Society, New York City

November 7, 1992

© The American Numismatic Society, 1994


1991 marked the 350th anniversary of the settlement of Montreal. In 1992 we celebrate the 130th anniversary of the founding of the Numismatic Society of Montreal. It is, therefore, fitting that the ANS mark both the establishment of permanent French settlements in Canada and their sister society's foundation with a conference dedicated to our northern neighbor's monetary history. Appropriately, this first paper of the conference will discuss Canada's first coinage, the issues for La Nouvelle France.

French Canada had a rich coinage history, but one that was confusing to contemporaries and is not well understood by today's collectors. The fundamental question of where to start a collection, what to include as French colonial issues, should be easy to answer. It is fairly simply resolved for collectors of American colonial coins. Unfortunately, this is the single most controversial question in French-Canadian numismatics and has been so for the past century and more. There is no consensus of what constitutes the body of coins struck for French Canada and there has not been one since the early decades of the 20th century. From the foundation of the Numismatic Society of Montreal (1862, renamed the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Montreal four years later) to today, numismatists have wrangled over this question.1 Since no resolution of the problem satisfactory to everyone was achieved by better students than I, such as R. W. McLachlan, the reader should not expect one in these pages.

Historiography of French-Canadian Numismatics, 1869-1914

A short review of the major highlights in the historiography of French-Canadian numismatics will place the problem at hand in some perspective. When Alfred Sandham composed his pamphlet on the coins of the Dominion of Canada and the provinces in 1869 he did not specifically include any struck during the Ancien Regime. Instead, he reprinted observations from two travellers' journals that described French coins then in circulation, along with a short description of the card money.2 Sandham was a promoter of new and curious tokens who particularly aroused McLachlan's ire. It can be supposed that Sandham would not have missed a chance at popularizing issues that he could later have offered for sale. McLachlan named Sandham as one of the "...wholesale importers...who included over twenty-five exotics... [in his catalogue]," and went on to call Leroux, Atkins, and Batty "...great sinners in this direction, as they included in their lists, besides all former claims, many of their own introduction."3

Although Sandham was more interested in copper tokens and was something of a Francophobe, his failure to notice the 1670 silver and copper issues is somewhat surprising, since they had been mentioned in the collectors' press three years earlier. The August 1866 issue of the American Journal of Numismatics had carried a notice of these coins, quoting extracts from Le Blanc's Traité historique des monnoyes de France (1690).4 Sylvester S. Crosby reprinted the 1866 AJN notice in his The Early Coins of America, saying that he had seen only the smaller silver coin, in William Sumner Appleton's collection.5 James Stevenson's essay "The Currency of Canada After the Capitulation" (1877) did not mention any French minor coin, but did include the tariff published as part of General Murray's proclamation of January 1, 1765, which rated French Louis d'ors at £1/8 in currency of Canada.6

Eleven years after they were first reported in the pages of the AJN, the journal carried Professor Charles E. Anthon's article "The Gloriam Regni."7 Anthon's study drew collectors' attention more closely to the issues of 1670 in an authoritative and convincing way. His contribution seemed to legitimize the "Gloriam regni" issues as collectable French-Canadian coins. The circulation of the journal into many Canadian numismatic and antiquarian societies' libraries ensured that the "Gloriam Regni" coinage would become better appreciated in the country for which it was originally intended.

In 1892 �mile Zay, a member of the Soci�t� française de numismatique (whose journal may have inspired J. N. T. Levick with the idea of creating the AJN), published his Histoire mon�taire des colonies françaises d'apr�s les documents officiels.8 Under the section specifically named "Colonies de l'Am�rique" Zay listed and illustrated the 1670 silver and copper issues (his numbers 1-3) as French coins struck for America. More importantly, Zay gave the texts of the arr�ts that originally authorized these issues. He included the 6 and 12 deniers of 1717 struck at Perpignan (his numbers 4-5) as other French coins struck for America. He also gave a long and still very useful selection of documents concerning the card money issues of 1685-1757. Zay's catalogue was and still is extremely influential.9 It should be noted, however, that Zay did not attribute the 1670 or 1717 issues as exclusively "Canadian."

In a footnote explaining the origin of the worn billon flans that were to be counterstamped with a crowned "C" for the French colony of Cayenne, Zay illustrated and discussed the billon sols and demi-sols of the 1738 issue, calling these "marqu�s."10 Zay noted a Quebec ordinance of 1744 that fixed the values of "anciens sols marqu�s" at the then official homeland rate of 18 deniers. He did not document a contemporary use of the term "sols marqu�s" for the 1738 issue, and it is quite likely that he so named them based upon the wording of the 1744 Quebec ordinance he quoted.11 That an issue first struck only six years earlier, was contemporaneous with the 1744 ordinance, and would be coined for a further 20 years, suggests that the "anciens sols marqu�s" referred to in 1744 were some other species of coinage and not the 1738 billon sols and demi-sols.

On the other side of the Atlantic in 1892 Dr. Joseph Leroux published the second, expanded edition of his The Canadian Coin Cabinet. 12 Leroux adopted Zay's listings of the 1670 and 1717 Perpignan issues and called them French-Canadian (Leroux 250-252c). He noted that his illustrations of these types "...are taken from Zay's work."13 Immediately following the Perpignan coppers Leroux included the 1721-22 nine deniers issues as French-Canadian, which Zay had listed in the "Colonies en Général" section, and went on to note that there were two varieties of the 1721-H (Leroux 253-54). The 1738 billon sols and demi-sols were not listed. Leroux did include a section entitled "John Law's Serie[s/c]" (which was not in Zay's work and may represent the earliest appearance of "John Law's coins" in the French-Canadian corpus), listing what he called the 20 livres, 1 livre, 10 sols, and six deniers of 1720-A, as well as the 3 deniers of 1721-B (Leroux 254b-g, 254e being omitted for some reason). In Leroux' catalogue there were a total of 12 different issues that he concluded were French-Canadian.14

Two years after Zay's and Leroux' catalogues appeared, Pierre Napoleon Breton, a member of the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Montreal, published his own Illustrated History of Coins and Tokens Relating to Canada .15 Breton's catalogue drew on his two, earlier illustrated pamphlets, but in the Preface, Breton acknowledged his debt to Zay's earlier work and said "The history of the coins and jetons issued under the French Regime is taken from [Zay's work]. In giving credit to Mr. Zay for the interesting notes brought together in his work, I am happy to here state that this work is a treasure to French-Canadians, for, but per [Msic] through it these pieces would not have been known amongst them."16 In fact, Breton neatly lifted Zay's text concerning the card money nearly verbatim, without noting this additional debt to Zay. Leroux' name is notably absent from Breton's acknowledgements and the biography Breton included only thinly covered his resentment of Leroux's popularity.17

Breton included Zay's nos. 1-5 as his own 501-5- Under his section "Colonies en Général" Zay had included the 9 deniers coppers of 1721 and 1722, and a footnote concerning the sols and demi-sols of 1738, noting that these issues circulated in Canada.18 Breton adopted these other three as French-Canadian coins and listed them in his catalogue as nos. 506-9.19 In the short space of 28 years, therefore, the corpus of French-Canadian coins had grown from An-thon's three and Zay's five, to Leroux' 12 and Breton's 9 different issues. Breton's influence upon the course of French-Canadian numismatics has been extraordinary. Most collectors today assume that if an issue appeared in Breton it was thereby a legitimate Canadian collectable. Few have ever taken the time to trace Breton's sources for the coins and tokens he listed.

The two decades from 1894 to 1914 saw something of a renaissance in the study of Canadian numismatic history. R. W. McLachlan's articles on the Montreal medal (published on the occasion of his election as a Corresponding Member of the ANS), the Chief's medal of 1872, and the defense of his dating of the Montreal medal and later identification of Daniel Christian Fueter filled the pages of several issues of the AJN. 20 When Breton issued the 1912 edition of his Popular Illustrated Guide, it then included 206 medals and tokens, beginning with the Indian Chief medals that his friend McLachlan had been writing about earlier. William T. R. Marvin, the unsung editor of the both the AJN and C. Wyllys Betts's posthumous masterpiece, American Colonial History Illustrated by Contemporary Medals, noticed an unadopted coinage proposal for the French colonies of 1665.21 Benjamin Betts issued his monograph on the John Law medals, of interest both to Canadian and American numismatists, through the pages of the AJN during 1906-7.22 R. L. Reid noticed the gold British Columbia $10 and $20 pieces in The Numismatist in 1900 and Edgar H. Adams perfected their story in 1909.23 In the same journal Albert R. Frey drew collectors' attention to the personal tokens issued by Breton, Leroux, Tremblay, MacKenzie, and other Canadians in 1904; Howland Wood crafted his still essential listings of Canadian Blacksmith tokens in 1910; McLachlan warned against J. Rochelle Thomas's Copper Company of Upper Canada tokens in 1912; and listed the pattern pieces struck for Canada at the Royal Mint in 1913.24

Inflationary Trends in the French-Canadian Corpus, 1912-1992

As we have seen, the growing enthusiasm for Canadian numismatics had had a distinctly inflationary effect upon the number and types of coins believed to be French-Canadian. McLachlan recognized this trend and, in a series of articles in The Numismatist and elsewhere, he pointedly set out to deflate the listings popularized by Leroux and Breton. In an address to the 1912 American Numismatic Association convention, McLachlan discussed seven kinds of what he called "fake" Canadian coins.25 The last category was "Foreign Coins," which included "British nineteenth century tokens, French coins and medals, besides coins of the other British colonies..." which, he said, "...have been drawn upon to increase the number of Canadians, each successive cataloguer adding one or more to those previously appropriated."26 These additions, he felt, were made both by design as well as in the interests of Canadian numismatics, but their effect had been not only to increase the corpus of Canadian coins, but also the prices asked for the new additions. Speaking of the sols and demi-sols of 1738, which were by then universally called "sou marques" (Breton 508, 509), McLachlan said "As a consequence [of their addition], these comparatively common French coins sell in Canada for high, in fact, extravagant prices. Only the other day a collector in Montreal was asked $50. for a half soumarque."27 After reviewing those coins and tokens listed by Breton as Canadian, McLachlan stated "we would thus exclude from Breton's list alone five false coins, sixteen fictitious ones, ninety-seven fabrications, twenty mules, and thirty-five foreigners, or a total of 172," and answered his critics' objections to this winnowing by concluding "better that your collection be emasculated than that it should contain a lot of mere modern junk."28

Two years later, in his brief 1914 review of the history of Canada's money, McLachlan was notably silent concerning all French issues but the 1670 and 1717 coinages.29 The next year McLachlan expanded his historical review, still omitting the 1721-22 and 1738 issues listed by Breton, but now also passing over the 1717 Perpignan six and 12 deniers.30 Why he excluded them in 1915 is, perhaps, to be explained by his choice of words when he described the 1670 issues as being "...especially struck for Canada...." Although Zay had included the 1717 issue as American, McLachlan may have felt it did not pertain "especially" to Canada since it was authorized for all French colonies in America, including Louisiana and the island possessions. The same may have been said for the 1670 coinage, as well, but McLachlan seems to have ignored this fact.

McLachlan saved his most specific and detailed attack against the inflationary tendency for his war-time article "The Sou Marque Not a Canadian Coin."31 McLachlan reviewed the evidence printed by Zay and adopted by Breton and argued that the sou marque and its fraction should not be classed as colonial coins even in general unless they bore a crowned C counterstamp, and then only as issues for the French West Indies possessions.32 Speaking of a suggestion he had recently read in Mehl's Numismatic Monthly that would have included all dates and mints of the sou marques, McLachlan stated: If, therefore, this suggestion be accepted, we would have to include in our Canadian series, all dates of this coinage extending over twenty-two years, as well as varieties bearing the different mint marks. There were twenty or thirty mints at that time in operation in France. This would load up our Canadian collections with over a hundred varieties of this truly exotic coin.33

He did not stop here, however, for at the end of his article McLachlan wrote: Now, if we were to class every coin that was made current in Canada as Canadian by special ordonnance or proclamation, the list would include with equal show of authority the whole coinage of Great Britain, France, Spain and Portugal issued during the latter part of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries. Thus the Spanish dollars, French crown pieces and United States half dollars, in silver, with the Portuguese joe in gold, constituted the main currency of Canada up to the year 1837...All these, therefore could be classed as Canadian on the same grounds as the sou marque, and some of them even with greater show of authority...For these reasons I have never considered the sou marque a Canadian coin, and I would advise collectors to class it only among the French coins, where it really belongs.34

McLachlan's criticism of Breton was both intemperate and ill founded, but it did succinctly outline the fundamental question about French-Canadian coins that concerns us here. If every type and issue known to have circulated in Nouvelle France is a legitimate French-Canadian colonial issue, then nearly the entire coinage of England, France, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Austria, and some German and Italian states struck before 1763 would have to be included.

A similar situation would exist for collectors of colonial American coins save for an important distinction between the numismatic histories of the two countries. Some parts of colonial America created their own native coinages before 1776. The British crown authorized and struck a copper coinage for one colony, Virginia. Between 1785 and 1792 several of the independent American states coined their own coppers (popularly, but incorrectly, classed as "colonials" only because they were struck before the act of April 2, 1792 that established a national mint). Citizens of the United States have a fairly rich native coinage history before our independence from colonial status. Had we been as barren of home-grown coinages as French Canada was, perhaps we would have tried to fill the vacuum with coins of the European states and those of our masters, the British.

Closer to our own time, Walter Breen's "Some Neglected Colonials" began his work on the date and mint combinations known for the sols and demi-sols of 1738-64 and the earlier mousquetaires of 1709-13.35 Breen began his survey by stating "Collectors' attention should be called to several classes of coins really belonging with the American Colonial series but ordinarily not collected with them."36 Robert Vlack's six part series "The French Colonies Sous of 1767" illustrated and described 16 obverse and seven reverse dies used on this generic colonial issue.37 Vlack was careful nowhere to claim these coins as struck specifically for Louisiana and, of course, they have no bearing on French-Canada. They have, nevertheless, found their way into successive editions of the Guide Book.

Breen's essay "North American Colonial Coinages Under the French Regimo (1640-1763)," marked the beginnings of a new phase of inflation for French-Canadian coins.38 This wide-ranging type catalogue included 28 different issues (compared to Breton's mere nine) as French colonial coins and illustrated all of them. Breen wrote that his catalogue listed "...all the coins authorized to pass current in Colonial America under the Bourbons, including some heretofore apparently unrecognized."39 Included were the by now familiar Breton 501-9, much earlier billon issues counterstamped with a fleur-de-lys, the douzains and demi-douzains of 1658 (on the strength of Adam Shortt's attribution of these as the "old sols marqu�s"), various 1720 dated French coins he attributed to John Law, gold and silver coins recovered from the wreck of Le Chameau (foundered 1725), and the sous of 1767. Conspicuously absent were any of the other coins "...authorized to pass current..." in French American colonies, such as British, Spanish, Portuguese, or Dutch issues.

By 1988, when he published his Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, Breen had recognized that his earlier treatment of French colonial coins required some new, justifying structure.40 He proposed six classes of coins that circulated in French Canada and Louisiana: 1) Coins officially made for the French colonies in America; 2) Ordinance of 1683 Countermarks; 3) Domestic coins officially exported to America; 4) Domestic coins unofficially imported by merchants; 5) International trade coins unofficially imported by merchants; and 6) Lightweight British and Irish halfpence and tokens. Of these, Breen declared that only classes 1-3 were germane to his subject and discarded the others. He could find no surviving examples of his class 2 (Spanish cob eight reales countermarked with a fleur-de-lys) and was left with only classes 1 and 3 to discuss. Nevertheless, his encyclopedia represented something of an apotheosis as it allocated no less than 441 different numbers to the coins he included as French colonial! In less than a century, the corpus of French-Canadian coins grew from Zay's three, Leroux' 12 and Breton's nine, then to Breen's 28, finally to an enormous 441 different issues that should be included.

William T. Anton, Jr. and Bruce Kesse's The Forgotten Coins of the North American Colonies included a section entitled "French Coinage Circulating in the Colonies."41 The authors listed seven categories of coins and jetons they believed actively circulated in North America. Anton claimed the 1722-26 and 1734 buste enfantin coppers were "...shipped to the Americas, specifically Canada and Louisiana, for circulation in these French colonies," while those dated 1719-21 were "most likely minted solely for use in France."42 The only evidence adduced for these statements was observational, from the appearance and quality of the flans, those apparently on poorer stock being assigned a "colonial" status.

The modern, popular American collectors' handbooks reflect some of this inflation. They also betray a general unease with the subject of French-Canadian coins. The best edition of The Standard Catalogue of United States Coins (1957) listed as French Canadian the 1670 issues.43 The 1717 Perpignan coppers were confusingly listed under the Canadian section but described as ordered for circulation " the American colonies (Louisiana)" by an edict promulgated at Québec. The 1721-22 nine deniers and 1767 sous (with and without "RF" counterstamp) were listed under "French Colonies In General," following Zay's arrangement.44 The 1738 sols and demi-sols were not included. The Coin World Comprehensive Catalog & Encyclopedia of United States Coins (1990) listed the 1670 silver issues but not the copper double, and classed the 1717 Perpignan and 1721-22 coppers as "Issues Intended for Louisiana."45 It dismissed the 1767 sous as having " rightful place in the American series..." The most popular handbook, A Guide Book of United States Coins, boldly led off its listings for the "French Colonies" by stating "none of the coins of the French regime is strictly American."46 With this proviso in mind, the Guide Book then listed the silver issues of 1670 (but not the copper double), the Perpignan coppers of 1717, and included the mousquetaires of 1709-13 and the sols and demi-sols of 1738-64 (called there half soumarques and soumarques), confusingly followed by the nine deniers of 1721-22. Under a different heading, "French Colonies in General" were placed the 1767 sous (both varieties).

The most popular guide for collectors of Canadian coins, The Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins, is much more generous in what it includes as French-Canadian.47 Under its section "Coins of France" are to be found 28 different types and denominations and the debt owed to Breen's 1976 ANS study is obvious. There were some surprising additions in the Charlton guide, such as the copper deniers and doubles of Louis XIII and XIV and the liards of Louis XIV and XV, which had not been included by Breen in either of his catalogues. The 1670 silver issues were included, but not the copper double.

On the assumption that the French should know more about their own coinage than anyone else, it is instructive to examine the best guide to French colonial coins published to see what might be included there as coins of French-Canada. As already noted, Gadoury and Cousini�'s Monnaies coloniales françaises, 1670-1980, largely preserves Zay's earlier structure.48 Under "Canada," the authors list the copper and silver issues of 1670 only. Under "Colonies Générales" they include the 1717 Perpignan coppers, the 1721-22 nine deniers des colonies françaises, the Paris and La Rochelle billon sols of 1738-64 that bear a crowned "C" counterstamp (following the edict of 1763), blank or heavily worn flans bearing the same crowned "C" (issued by edict of 1779), and the 1767 sous with and without the "RF" counterstamp.49 The 1738-64 sols and demi-sols without the crowned "C" counterstamp are not included as colonial coins, generally or specifically. There are only three coins listed as French-Canadian and seven as struck for generic colonial circulation.

Influences upon the Inflation of French-Canadian Types

There are three explanations for the gradual inflation of the types and issues assigned a French-Canadian status. The first, and earliest, can be ascribed to simple national chauvinism: lacking a homegrown colonial series, Canadian numismatists naturally looked to the motherland for issues that might be classed as French colonial. Both Leroux and Breton published at a time when the serious study of Canadian numismatics was in its early days. Their work with Canadian coins continued in the spirit of free intellectual enquiry begun by the founders of the Institut Canadien in 1844.

The second was the publication of Adam Shortt's magisterial Documents Relating to Canadian Currency, Exchange and Finance During the French Period.50 Shortt's archival study was intended to illuminate the economic life of La Nouvelle France by the publication of documents that were not generally available to historians. One of the classes of documentation he printed were the colonial registrations of royal decrees and arr�ts that authorized the circulation of French homeland coins in Canada. Another, related class was the colonial governors' acts rating the exchange values of these French coins for Canadian circulation. Taken together, these two classes of documents exposed to numismatists a host of French metropolitan and European coin types that were officially authorized to circulate in Canada. Given the cosmopolitan nature of coinage circulation during the French colonialization period, the types authorized included virtually everything minted from the beginning of the seventeenth century onward, ranging from Lion daalders of the Netherlands to Spanish silver and Portuguese gold. Most frequently mentioned in the ordinances were, naturally enough, French metropolitan coins.

Shortt had not intended his study to be a numismatic one, but the evidence he published was later taken up by the handful of collectors and numismatic writers astute enough to recognize its significance for their field. Where Shortt found a document authorizing a particular coinage to circulate in Canada, collectors found one that proved that coinage to have been intended for Canadian circulation from the start. No one bothered to study how the coins mentioned had entered Canadian circulation, whether officially or in the cargos of private speculators.51 The connection was historically illogical but both understandable and alluring. The documents Shortt published supplied the evidence for the majority of the obscure French issues Breen included in his 1976 ANS study and 1988 catalogue, for example.

The third, and more recent, major influence on the inflation of French types attributed as French-Canadian largely owes its origins to artifact reports from controlled archaeological excavations of French-Canadian sites. Following the Second World War, particularly after 1980, many French trading posts and forts, as well as parts of the important settlement sites in Québec City and Montreal, were systematically excavated and the finds reported in the scholarly press. In a few cases the find reports were devoted specifically to the coins uncovered. Donald P. Heldmann's "Coins at Michilimackinac" is the best known of this type.52 Usually, however, reports of coin finds were incorporated into the body of the general excavation paper and were used as an aid in dating the habitation phase of the site.53 In a few instances coins found were not recognized as such, because no trained numismatist was either present during the excavation or examined the finds subsequently. A classic example is the find of two douzains of the 1590s, both bearing the 1640 recoinage fleur-de-lys counterstamp, excavated at a Jesuit mission site established by Fr. Jacques Marquette in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. These coins, believed deposited between 1671-92, when the mission was burned and abandoned, were first reported as "copper kettle scraps," the identification later being corrected after the coins were properly attributed.54 In other cases, coins found were partially identified but their numismatic significance missed because the archaeological staff did not include a numismatist trained to their nuances. An example is the report of the coin finds at Champlain's settlement at Québec, the Place Royale, which failed to understand the numismatic purpose (or date) of the fleur-de-lys counterstamps found on several billon douzains excavated there.55

The best single study of the coins found in controlled archaeological excavations in French Canada and French sites below the border is Peter N. Moogk's "When Money Talks: Coinage in New France."56 Moogk reviewed the major excavation reports and personally inspected many of the coins found, in some cases accurately attributing pieces previously misunderstood. He listed those French coin types dated before 1760 that had been uncovered from archaeological digs. He showed that the copper coins found were composed primarily (299 of 323 found) of liards of Henry IV to Louis XIII. The billon coins were made up primarily of douzains of the sixteenth-seventeenth c., sols of 15 deniers of 1692-1713, sols of the 1738 series, and a few mousquetaires of 1709-13 and demi-sols of the 1739 series, with the second and third types predominating. Only a handful of silver coins had been recovered, mostly 1/2 and 1 ecus. Moogk found one type, the bronze 6 deniers of 1710-12 called the "Dardennes," as plentiful as the number of billon double sols of the 1738 series. The "Dardennes" were not recognized by Breen or the Charlton Guide. Moogk's study provides a useful cross section of the coinage types that are known to have actively circulated in La Nouvelle France. For the collector interested in them, Moogk's article is the best place to start learning about them.

William T. Anton, Jr. recorded five New Jersey coppers dated 1786-87 that were struck over French types and concluded that "sol denomination coppers must have circulated to a good extent in New Jersey."57 He recorded the undertypes as 1723-Q, 1774 (mintmark illegible), type of 1766-73, type of 1768-74 struck at Lille, and one unattributable sol. These undertypes undoubtedly circulated in North America.

Undersea wrecks have been a fruitful source of new coin types claimed as French Canadian. During the night of August 25-26, 1725, the French 48 gun transport, Le Chameau , foundered on the rocks of Kelpy Cove, off Port Nova Island, just 12 miles from her destination of Fortress Louisbourg. She went down taking all hands and passengers, including the newly appointed Governor of Trois Rivi�res and Intendant Begon's successor, Guillaume de Chazel. Salvage operations commenced from Louisbourg late the next year, but the gold and silver treasure she carried was not recovered until 1965. After a division of the recovered treasure a large part was sold by Parke Bernet Galleries in December, 1971.

Le Chameau carried more than 82,000 Lt (livres tournois) of gold and silver coins meant to supply the colonial governors with funds to pay administrative and military expenses. No complete inventory listing of all the coins recovered from the wreck has been published. The most accessible one remains the auction catalogue entries, which are useful for the gold but unsatisfactory for the silver coins. The ill-fated vessel carried gold Louis d'ors mirlitons dated 1723 to 1725, including both reverse varieties (long or short fronds), struck at some 24 different mints. In some cases, the coins salvaged represent the majority of the survivors of their particular mintages. The silver �cus aux huit L appear to be dated 1724 and 1725, the majority being from the seaboard mints of Bordeaux and La Rochelle. A handful of older sixi�mes was also recovered.

The Chameau treasure represented the most valuable find of coins discovered in Canada and naturally attracted public attention. The gold and silver coins found in the wreck, although struck to French metropolitan types, were clearly destined for Canadian circulation. The fact that some coins found constituted the majority of their surviving populations suggested to some collectors that the entire mintage of these must have been allocated to Canada's coinage needs. This quickly led to numismatists claiming those issues as specifically French-Canadian. By the time Breen came to write his study for the 1976 ANS bicentennial publication, all issues found in the wreck of Le Chameau had become French Canadian.58 This blanket acceptance was later qualified, but only respecting the silver ecus.59 Today, any coin traceable to Le Chameau is claimed as French-Canadian; some of the same issues that lack the characteristic signs of immersion in cold salt water typical of her cargo have also been sold as French-Canadian.

A Catalogue of French-Canadian Coins

Are there any coins that are really French-Canadian? What types can a collector include with confidence? Finding an answer is not as easy as posing the question. Even for British-American colonial coins the answer has been at times elusive, as a cursory glance through any current edition of the Guide Book will reveal. There, British merchants' tokens of the late eighteenth century are included solely because their types refer to American personalities or places (the Franklin Press, Theatre at New York City, Washington Grate, or Pitt tokens, as examples). For French speaking Canada the answer is even more difficult to find. McLachlan pointed out that the first coin specifically to mention Canada in its legends was the 1794 Copper Company of Upper Canada token.60 No other coin prior to that date bears the words "Canada" or "Nouvelle France" in its legends. The copper double of the 1670 issue is the only French colonial coin that bears the word "America" as part of its legend.

To answer these questions we have to decide what we mean by "French-Canadian" coins. There are several possible definitions, and by examining these we may find our answer. The following catalogue listing is strictly reductionist in its philosophy. A mass of coins has accreted upon Nouvelle France like coral on shipwrecked ecus. This catalogue makes no claim to being complete in what should be included. There is much more work to be done before numismatists can be satisfied that all coins ordered for, shipped to, or circulating in French Canada have been rescued from historical obscurity. Rather, it should be seen as a modern first step toward that goal and as a continuation of McLachlan's deflationary influence upon the corpus of French-Canadian numismatics.

A. French Coins Struck Exclusively for Circulation in Nouvelle France.

Under this definition, none qualify as French-Canadian. No French coin, in its types or letters of authorization, was ever struck only for circulation in Nouvelle France to the exclusion of all other New World colonies. This should not surprise anyone. In nearly two cen- turies of British rule the crown struck only one type for circulation in North America, the 1773 Virginia halfpenny, and that in a base metal and after 60 years of unheard petitions and a further delay of five years before the coins were finally shipped.61 The French overseas colonies were as much meant to be coinage poor as their English rivals. This was the era of mercantilism, and, as Emilien Petit explained in 1771, "Le commerce de la France avec les colonies...[should be] un troc de non un commerce en esp�ces monnoy�es."62

B. French Coins Struck Specifically for Circulation in Nouvelle France.

Here we are on much firmer ground. This definition includes French coins specifically coined for circulation in Nouvelle France, as well as other named colonies. These are the issues that have been attributed to French Canada from the earliest days of Canadian numismatic study. The royal decrees authorizing their issue were published by Zay and Shortt and their intended circulation in Canada is specifically stated. They include the 1670 silver 5 and 15 sols, the "Gloriam Regni" issue, and the copper double de l'Am�rique fran�oise of the same date. These issues were struck just five years after the Carignan-Sali�res Regiment was dispatched to Canada and appear to have been part of an attempt by Colbert to put Canada's security and local economy on a firmer footing than before. It is probable that the billon sols dated 1692-97 bearing an oval fleur-de-lys counterstamp (Gadoury-92a, b) were so marked specifically for North American circulation. The earlier douzains with a similar counterstamp (Gadoury-21), authorized by Louis XIII in 1640, are another probable candidate for this category. These two types are, almost certainly, the sols marquez referred to in Quebec ordinances dated prior to 1710, such as that of March 20, 1662, raising the ratings of French coins in Canada.63 On the strength of this proposed attribution these two types are included in this category. It should be remembered that these two represent some of the most commonly found coins in archaeological excavations of French trading and military sites. The billon 30 deniers of 1710-13 struck at Lyons, the so-called Mousquetaires, were authorized by royal decree to circulate in Nouvelle France.64 Also included are the 1717-Q copper 12 and 6 deniers colonies, and the 1721-B, 1721-H, 1722/1-H, and 1722-H copper sols of 9 deniers which replaced the 1717 coins.


1. Fleur-de-lys within a beaded oval punch, counterstamped upon billon douzains of issues prior to the reign of Louis XIII Authorized by edict of 1640 for the recoinage of that year. Legal metropolitan value 15 deniers, Canadian value flutuating (fig. 1).

Very rare. Breen-1, Gadoury-21.


2. Double de l'Amerique francoise, 1670-A.

Copper. 22 mm 3.826 g Plain edge. Dies by Jean Warin. An essai double denier copper rated at 2 deniers. Authorized by edict of February 19, 1670. Not struck (2,400,000 authorized; fig. 2: electrotype).

Unique (Count Ferrari-Wayte Raymond-John J. Ford, Jr.-Emery May Norweb-R.Henry Norweb, Jr.)65 Breen-6, Breton-503, Zay-3, Leroux-252, Gadoury & Cousini�-1.


3. 5 Sols (1/12 �cu), 1670-A.

Silver. 20 mm 2.335 g Plain edge. Dies by Jean Warin. The "Gloriam Regni" issue. Authorized by edict of February 19, 1670. 200,000 struck for the Compagnie des Indes Occidentales en Am�rique and circulated by them in Nouvelle France (fig. 3).

Rare. Breen-5, Breton-502, Zay-2, Leroux-251, Gadoury & Couisini�-2.


4. 15 Sols (1/4 �cu), 1670-A.

Silver. 27 mm 7.006 g Plain edge. Dies by Jean Warin. The "Gloriam Regni" issue. Authorized by edict of February 19, 1670. 40,000 struck for the Compagnie des Indes Occidentales en Am�rique and circulated by them in Nouvelle France (fig. 4).

Extremely rare. Breen-4, Breton-501, Zay-1, Leroux-250, Gadoury & Cousini�-3.


5. Fleur-de-lys within a beaded oval punch, counterstamped upon billon douzains dated 1692-97, as well as upon earlier royal and feudal douzains.

Design similar to no. 1, above. Authorized by edict of October 1692, as part of the great recoinage of that year. Legal metropolitan value 15 deniers, Canadian value fluctuating (fig. 5).

Rare. Breen-7, Gadoury-92a, Ciani-1979, 1980.


6. 30 Deniers aux 2 L Couronn�s. Double sols. The Mousquetaires.

Billon. 23-24 mm 2.447 g Plain edge. Dies by Norbert Roet-tiers. Authorized by edicts of September 26, 1709 and June 15, 1711. 40 million ordered struck but the actual mintage exceeded 122 million. Lyons mint issues only authorized for circulation in Nouvelle France (fig. 6: 1711-D, Lyons).

Breen-8, Gadoury-102. Generally common in low grades, rare with full silver appearance. Dates include: 1710-D, 1711-D, 1712- D, 1713-D.


7. 6 Deniers des colonies, 1717-Q.

Copper. 25 mm 6.118 g Plain edge. Dies by Norbert Roet-tiers. Authorized by edict of December, 1716. Specifically given currency in Canada by royal letter patent of March 9, 1717. 3,000,000 ordered struck at Perpignan but the coinage abandoned due to the poor quality of the copper provided (fig. 7).

Extremely rare. Breen-11, Breton-505, Zay-5, Leroux-252c, Gadoury & Cousini�-1.


8. 12 Deniers des colonies, 1717-Q.

Copper. 30 mm 12.235 g Plain edge. Dies by Norbert Roet-tiders. Authorized by edict of December 1716. Specifically given currency in Canada by royal letter patent of March 9, 1717. 1,500,000 ordered struck at Perpignan but the coinage abandoned due to the poor quality of the copper provided (fig. 8).

Extremely rare. Breen-10, Breton-504, Zay-4, Leroux-252b, Gadoury & Cousini�-2.


9. 9 Deniers des colonies francoises, 1721-1722.

Copper. 25 mm 6.118 g Plain edge. Dies by Joseph Roettiers. Authorized by edict of June, registered July 8, 1721, to take the place of the aborted 1717-Q issues. Pieces of 18, 9, and four and a half deniers were ordered, but only the second appears to have been struck. In the summer of 1722 the Compagnie des Indes shipped 534,000 to Canada, to facilitate the purchase of beaver. The issue was resisted because it was both over rated based upon its weight and not current outside Canada. On September 26, 1726, 525,820 were returned to France (fig. 9: 1721-H).

Fairly common. Breen-22, 23, Breton-506, 507, Zay-6, 7, 8, Leroux-253, 254, Gadoury & Cousini�-3. Date/mint combinations include: 1721-B, 1721-H, 1722/21-H, 1722-H. The 1722 issue was struck on finished Swedish copper flans imported from Hamburg.

C. French Coins Officially Exported for Circulation in Nouvelle France.

This category includes those issues originally struck for metropolitan French circulation but which are known from documentary evidence to have been shipped by the Minister of Marine to Nouvelle France for circulation there. Future research will certainly expand the number of types listed here but the final number will, inevitably, remain small, since it was the crown's intent to keep its colonies coinage poor. Included here are those particular gold and silver coins of 1723-25 which can be absolutely pedigreed to the dispersal of the Le Chameau treasure. The question of the copper 12 deniers coins of 1720 is, in my opinion, as yet unsettled. At the request of the Regency Council, of which he was then the chief member, John Law directed the La Rochelle mint to strike and ship to Canada 40,000 Lt (livres tournois) of copper 12 deniers pieces. De Beauharnois was advised of the intended shipment on March 12, 1720.66 These could only have been the sols au buste enfantin (Gadoury-276), the only coppers of the reign rated at 12 deniers. However, although dies were received at La Rochelle on April 8, 1720, no specimen from that mint appears to survive today dated 1720.67 This may be explained by the turmoil in French fiscal affairs that began in May and led, ultimately, to Law's fall from grace in December 1720. It is likely that no sols of 12 deniers were actually struck at La Rochelle in 1720. It is equally likely that the 1721-22 issue of 9 deniers des colonies fran�oises, struck on Law's company's Swedish copper flans, was coined in place of the 12 deniers pieces called for the year before. The sols of the 1738-64 mintage were shipped to Canada in fairly large quantities. Documents of 1745 and 1752-53 specifically mention such shipments, for example. The 9,000 Lt. known to have been shipped could have comprised virtually any date/mint combination struck from 1738-53. Unlike the Chameau find, no definite evidence exists showing which date/mint combinations were actually shipped. Going solely on the strength of the written sources, it would be safe to include issues dated 1738-53 in a collection. Later dates are unsupported by the published sources; unpublished archival materials may lengthen the terminus, however. Other contemporary documents mention requests for and shipments of sols of 18 and 27 deniers and speak of "sols marquez," "sols neufs," and "sols vieux."68 The dates of these documents do not allow a certain attribution to specific coin types to be made in almost all of these cases, unfortunately.


10. Louis d'or mirlitons, palmes courtes. "Short fronds" variety.

Gold. 22-23.5 mm 6.525 g Edge cordonn�e. Dies by Norbert Roettiers. Authorized by edict registered on August 20, 1723. Struck 1723-25. The 1723 issues are the ones usually found; the 1724 dated coins are much scarcer; none dated 1725 appear to survive. The Chameau treasure inventory published by Sotheby's (1971) did not distinguish between the two reverse varieties found on this type. Some 109 coins were dated 1723, 323 were dated 1724, and 63 were dated 1725. The exact quantities of each date/mint combination of this variety represented in the vessel's recovered cargo have not been published (fig. 10: 1723-Y, Bourges).

Breen-24, Gadoury-338.


11. Louis d'or mirlitons, grandes palmes. "Long fronds" variety.

Gold. 22-23.5 mm 6.525 g Edge cordonn�e. Dies by Norbert Roettiers. Authorized by edict registered on August 20, 1723. Struck 1723-25. The 1723 issue is much rarer than the others; the 1724 dated coins are the ones usually found; the 1725 pieces are scarcer than the 1724 ones. The Chameau treasure inventory published by Sotheby's (1971) did not distinguish between the two reverse varieties found on this type. Some 109 coins were dated 1723, 323 were dated 1724, and 63 were dated 1725. The exact quantities of each date/mint combination of this variety represented in the vessel's recovered cargo have not been published (fig. 11; 1725-1, Limoges).

Breen-24, Gadoury-339.


12. �cu aux 8 L.

Silver. 38-39 mm 23.59 g. Inscribed edge. Dies by Norbert Roettiers. Authorized by edict registered September 26, 1724. Struck 1724-25, both dates of about equal rarity. The Chameau treasure inventory published by Sotheby's (1971) listed pieces of both dates but most coins recovered were too corroded to date and/or attribute to particular mints (only about 200 pieces could be). Mints recorded included Poitiers ("G"), La Rochelles ("H"), Limoges ("I"), Bordeaux ("K"), Riom ("O"), and Nantes ("T"). The majority that could be dated and attributed to a mint were 1725-H issues (fig. 12: 1725-.9, Rennes).

Breen-25, Gadoury-320.


13. Sol en billon, 1738-64. The "sou marqu�".

Billon. 22 mm 2.184 g Plain edge. Dies by J-C Roettiers. Authorized by edict of October 1738. Rated by royal ordinances at 24 deniers for Louisbourg June 20, 1743, March 30, 1744 for Canada. Called "nouveaux sols" in the 1738 edict, but also "double sols" in one Canadian document of 1745 and "sols marqu�s" in another of 1752 (fig. 13: 1742-H).

Breen-26, Gadoury-281.

On January 31, 1745, 3,000 Lt. were requested for shipment to Canada; no published document indicates that any were sent at that time. On October 30, 1752, a further 6,000 Lt. were requested; these were shipped by June 30 of the following year. This latter quantity represents 120,000 pieces and may have mostly been made up from the 114,620 struck at Paris in 1753.69 From 1738 through 1744 the issue was struck at virtually every French mint then open. After 1744 through 1749 only eight mints continued the coinage. The number of mints actively coining the issue dropped to seven in 1750, five in 1751-52, and from 1753 through 1761 only Paris and Strasbourg coined the type. In 1762 Metz joined the ranks, but in 1763 and 1764 (the last year of issue) only Paris struck this type. Rarities vary widely from year to year and mint to mint and are variously reported. Published American estimates of rarity are unreliable due to lack of knowledge of the contents of French collections. Published French estimates (principally Gadoury's) often underestimate valuations. There is no reliable published guide to rarities. Contemporary counterfeits are known of several issues, the Paris Mint's issues seeming particularly susceptible.

D. French Metropolitan Coins Found in Archaeological Contexts

Archaeological finds from controlled excavations, as opposed to casual finds out of stratigraphic context, are evidence for the types of coins that actually circulated in French Canada. Archaeological finds offer circumstantial, not historical, evidence of authorization. At the very least, however, excavation finds show what types of coins were actually in circulation. They are not, however, evidence that those coin types were officially authorized for or shipped to Canada. Much pocket change came over with the colonists, themselves. In addition, even more billon coinage was shipped to Canada by French merchants, who capitalized on the difference between its higher metropolitan ratings. This said, this category is as much a catch-all as the next two. Of necessity, since archaeological excavations are continuing in Canada and those parts of the United States occupied by French military or trading outfits, the number of coin types to be included here will undoubtedly grow. Further, there will be considerable cross-over of listings between this category and the second and third, above. Here will be found the 15 deniers mousquetaires of 1709-13 struck at Metz and the demi- sols (half sou marques) of 1739-48. The Dardennes of 1710-12 should be better recognized than they are today as coppers that actively circulated in French speaking Canada. Indeed, based upon quantities found in archaeological contexts, they have a better place here than the 15 deniers of 1709-13 and the demi-sols of 1739-48! Recent excavations in the center of French Mobile, Alabama, have yielded specimens of French coppers dated 1721 and 1722. A single 1717 dated copper was discovered in a spoil heap by metal detector!70 Additionally, the gold and silver coins from the Chameau wreck can also be included here, together with the earlier billon pieces bearing fleur-de-lys counterstamps.

E. French Metropolitan Coins Officially Rated for Nouvelle France

This is the largest category of all. All French coins that had currency in the homeland were, in law, given currency in all French overseas colonies. In a conciliar decree of November 18, 1672, Louis XIV ordered "...that the money bearing the said device [the Gloriam Regni issue of 1670] and all other coin current in France shall circulate in the French Islands and the Continent of America under the dominion of His Majesty..."71 The values of the French coinage were, however, to be "...augmented in order that it may remain there..."72 As Shortt pointed out, this decree had validity primarily in the West Indies, but its principle also applied to Canada. The qualification that the ratings of French coins were to be augmented meant that each coinage issue was subject to conciliar review and validation for overseas circulation. Thus, although the decree effectively authorized all French coins to be current in Canada, the collector cannot simply assume that any he is offered could have been part of the French-Canadian coinage pool. Rather, he must also find royal documentary evidence that shows the coinage in question to have been specifically rated for Nouvelle France, and ideally, Quebec or Louisbourg documentation acknowledging and publishing the royal order. In the absence of written evidence there can be no certainty that a particular coinage was officially rated for circulation in Canada.

Specific references to French coin types and issue dates are rare. An exception was the ordinance of March 20, 1662, issued at Quebec that specified a tariff of the new circulation values of various coins, including French royal gold and silver coins and their fractions.73 Another important exception is the demi-sol of 1739-48, the half sou marqu�, which was rated by royal ordinances at 12 deniers for Louisbourg June 20, 1743, March 30, 1744, for Canada. These were called "nouveaux demi-sols" in the 1738 edict that authorized their striking. They are generally much scarcer than the larger, sol denomination pieces. The most collectable date is 1740; 1739, 1746, and 1748 issues are scarce; 1741-42 are very rare; none appear to survive dated 1743-45 or 1747. No specific references to official shipments of these to Canada have been published.

A final, notable exception is the September 2, 1726 minute of the inspection of the Treasury at Quebec. Conducted following the con-ciliar revaluation of the coinage dated May 26 of that year, the inspectors found 500 �cus dated 1725 (the �cu aux 8 L, Gadoury-320, the type of the Chameau wreck), 639 one-third �cus dated 1721 (the one-third �cu de France, Gadoury-306), 108 one-third �cus dated 1720 (the petit Louis d'argent, Gadoury-305), a single one-third �cu said to be dated 1718 (not listed by Gadoury), a one-quarter �cu dated 1642 (Gadoury-47 or 48), and a one-quarter �cu dated 1691 (the 8 L issue, Gadoury-150 or 150a).74

F. Foreign Coins Officially Rated for Nouvelle France

The same 1662 Quebec ordinance mentioned above tariffed various foreign coins, including Spanish eight reales and their fractions. A later decree ordered that all foreign coins should be accepted in trade by weight, with an increase of one-third.75 The edict of January 1726 that decried all foreign coins from circulation in France and her colonies was ineffective, as the recoinage of 1726 could not meet currency needs at home, let alone in Canada.76 General Murray's 1765 Proclamation shows that several foreign coinage types were still actively circulating in Quebec nearly 40 years later. Thus, as in the English colonies, virtually any foreign coinage in silver or gold had some place in French-Canadian commerce. Pride of place in Canada among foreign coins, as in the southern colonies, was taken by the Spanish colonial mints' silver eight reales and its fractions.

The Problem of the Mousquetaires and Sou Marques

The mousquetaires of 30 deniers (so-called because it was essentially a military issue and the addorsed L's on the obverse reminded an observer of a musketeer's moustaches) were not included in the French-Canadian corpus until after 1968. In that year, J. Lafaurie printed the �dit of 1709 which originally authorized the issue, showing that the Metz coinage of the 30 deniers denomination was given currency in France's western border regions, primarily to provide troops on campaign there with small change.77 Metz was the premier western frontier mint and was the logical choice as the mint for this purpose. The Lyon coinage was given currency in the rest of mainland France and the overseas colonies of America. The smaller, 15 deniers denomination was struck only at Metz and was not intended for overseas circulation. The mousquetaires were not struck specifically for Canada or any French colony. In fact, in 1709 Pontchartrain wrote to Quebec denying the need or usefulness of a copper currency for Canada and in 1711 a memorandum on the state of Canada's finances noted that so little funding had been received from France that additional recourse was had to the card money expedient.78 The �dit authorizing their striking was not registered at Quebec but that they actively circulated in Nouvelle France was demonstrated by Moogk's survey of the archaeological evidence. Thus, of the three requirements for a coin to be a legitimate French Canadian colonial issue (authorization for the colonies, official colonial rating, and evidence of official shipment and circulation), the 30 deniers mousquetaires satisfy two.

The "sou marques" (sols and demi-sols of 1738-64) were authorized by an edict of October 1738. The new billon issue was to achieve several goals: to drive out foreign billon coins, which were to be demonetized in France thereafter; to offset reductions in value on the Dutch exchange of French billon coins of earlier issues (primarily the 1710-13 mousquetaires); and to replace all earlier French billon issues, which thereafter were to be received at all French mints on an intrinsic value basis only. The new billon issue was ordered current "...dans tout nôtre Royaume, pays, terres, & Seigneuries de nôtre ob�ïissance..." This has been read as giving the issue currency everywhere the Bourbon flag flew, including Nouvelle France. However, these words were really formulaic. The �dit of May 1718 that authorized the gold Louis d'or à la croix de Malte (Gadoury-336) ordered their circulation "...dans l'�ntendue de royaume, pays, terres, et seigneuries de l'ob�ïssance de Sa Majest�...," for example. The �dit of September 1720, probably drafted by John Law, himself, authorized the coinage of the new silver de France and gold 2 L series and allowed their circulation "...dans tout nôtre royaume, pays, terres et seigneuries de nôtre ob�ïssance..." In both cases, the wording was, in its essentials, identical to that later found in the 1738 text and represented a general conveyance of currency for these issues throughout the kingdom. In this respect, the issues so authorized became legal "French" coins with currency everywhere. We have already seen that an earlier edict gave currency to all French coins throughout all French overseas possessions. The wording of the 1738 �dit, then, on its face does not distinguish that issue from any other French coin and should not be read as conveying a special "colonial" flavor to it. If it did, then all French coins authorized by a similar formula would also have to be classed as "colonial." Not until 1743 and 1744 were the sols and demi-sols given official ratings for circulation in Nouvelle France and Louisbourg. The original �dit that authorized a metropolitan coinage gave it legal currency. For the colonies, a second act was required, rating it for overseas circulation, and probably was issued only when the quantities in circulation of the mainland type had become noticeable enough to require action on the part of Paris. On the other hand, the royal �dits that authorized the special colonial issues of 1670 and 1717, for example, specifically limited their circulation to the overseas colonies of America and forbade their importation and currency in mainland France.

The Problem of the "John Law Coinage"

The coinage issues of 1720, popularly called "John Law's coinage," have been a perennial source of confusion and error for collectors and cataloguers of French-Canadian coins. Neither Zay nor Breton included the 1720 coins, but Leroux did. Apparently on the strength of Leroux' catalogue Breen wrote in his ANS study "...Law, as director of the mints, ordered certain coins to be shipped to the colonies, consisting apparently of only the following" and then listed 10 different coinage issues he attributed to John Law.79 In his Encyclopedia, published 12 years later, Breen specifically listed as John Law issues only the copper demi-sol and sol au buste enfantin (Gadoury-273, 276). He mentioned in an introductory paragraph the 1720-A petit Louis d'argent (Gadoury-305) as a John Law coin.80

From July 25, 1719 to January 5, 1721, Law's Compagnie des Indes enjoyed the premier b�n�fice des monnaies and operated the French mints for their own profit. Coin types specifically authorized by the crown during this period, and others for which deliveries of dies to local mints fall within these dates, may be considered to be "John Law" coins. Modern American collectors tend to assume that a coin type struck during Law's control of the mints is automatically a "colonial coin," because of the association between Law and his Mississippi Scheme. For example, the Garrett Collection sale included specimens of the 1720-A demi-sol au buste enfantin (Lot 1298, Gadoury-273), the 1720-A livre d'argent fin (Lot 1299, Gadoury-296), and the 1720-B petit Louis d'argent (Lot 1300, Gadoury-305) as French colonial coins. The "colonial" association is misleading, however. Law, in common with his generation, looked upon the French overseas colonies as sources of natural products to be purchased at home on credit, payable in finished goods exported to the colony. His attitudes toward hard currency in the colonies, as well as at home, became negative in the extreme and from the beginning his scheme may have been aimed at withdrawing specie currency from circulation entirely.81 The coinages struck during his control of the mints, until the recoinage of September, 1720, were grudgingly approved and not altogether successful. None was struck for Canada. The Council's order directing the La Rochelle mint to strike copper 12 deniers pieces in 1720 is the only exception to Law's disinterest in coinage for Canada and the other overseas colonies, and, as we have seen, even this issue was not actually struck.

The question of which coins may properly be considered "John Law" coins has been discussed in my "The Compagnie des Indes and the Premiere B�n�fice des Monnaies: French Coinage and the Mississippi Scheme, 1719-1720."82 There appear to be three copper, 10 silver, and three gold types attributable to the period of Law's control of the French mints. It should be reemphasized that "the coin types included...are the company's, but they are not necessarily colonial...All of the coins listed...had currency value in the French colonies and any colonist lucky enough to have had these when he landed would have been in an enviable position compared to the coin-poor residents of his new home."83


The review of the historiography of French-Canadian numismatics has shown that there has been a gradual tendency to include more and more French coin types in the corpus of those considered to be French-Canadian colonial ones. Some, few voices were raised against this trend, but over the years they have been drowned by collectors' enthusiasm for finding new types to add to their holdings. If we review the types commonly thought to be French-Canadian we find that many must be reconsidered. No French issue was struck exclusively for Canadian circulation. However, there are many that were coined specifically for circulation in Nouvelle France, as well as other colonies, and others that were authorized to pass current in Canada. Some others, mainland types, were officially exported to Canada, to pay military expenses or in answer to pressing needs for small change. Most foreign and all French coins had currency in Canada at one time or another. The so-called "John Law" coins may have passed in Canada but were not officially struck for or exported to Nouvelle France. In general terms, Nouvelle France appears to have been adequately supplied with minor copper or billon coins for small daily transactions, but deliberately kept undersupplied with silver and gold coins.

End Notes

1 The Numismatic Society of Montreal was founded in December 1862, just short of five years after the founding of the ANS. See Alfred Sandham, Coins, Tokens and Medals of the Dominion of Canada (Montreal, 1869), pp. 71-72. For a city considerably smaller in population than New York City, this was by no means unremarkable. In 1866 the society expanded its interests to include documents and artifacts and changed its name accordingly. The Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Montreal is the oldest Canadian organization of its sort still active. Its publication, The Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal, has appeared irregularly. Volume 1, no. 1 of the Fifth Series will be published shortly, under the editorship of Warren Baker, another participant in the 1992 Coinage of the Americas Conference.I should like to thank Warren Baker for making selections from his library available to me; and Frank Campbell, the Society's Librarian, for a similar favor.
2 Sandham (above, n. 1), pp. 3-7. The journals from which he quoted were those of Kalm (1749) and Heriot (1805).
3 R. W. McLachlan, "The Sou Marque Not a Canadian Coin," The Numismatist 30 (1917), reprinted in Canadian Tokens and Medals, ed. Alfred D. Hoch (Lawrence, MA, 1974), p. 27, hereafter cited as Hoch.
4 "A New 'Colonial'," AJN 4 (1870), p. 65. The history of the AJN and its editors has been unduly overlooked. William T. R. Marvin, one of the truly important founders of modern American numismatics, merits only four mentions in the index (his por-trait. photograph appears on p. 149) in Howard Adelson's The American Numismatic Society, 1858-1958 (New York City, 1958). Yet, Marvin was one of the editors of the journal for the Boston Numismatic Society from before the early 1890s to 1912 and was its publisher for nearly 15 years.
5 (Boston, 1875), pp. 133-34.
6 Transactions of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec (1877), pp. 105-134. I owe this reference to Warren Baker.
7 AJN 11 (1877), pp. 49-53.
8 (Paris, 1892), pp. 41-51.
9 The topical arrangement in Victor Gadoury and Georges Cousini�, Monnaies coloniales françaises, 1670-1980 (Baden-Baden, 1980) largely preserves Zay's own format, even to including the so-called Franco-American jetons and an inordinately large section on the card money, virtually none of which either survives or is collectable.
10 Zay (above, n. 8), pp. 66-67.
11 Adam Shortt, Documents Relating to Canadian Currency, Exchange and Finance During the French Period, 2 vols. (Ottawa, 1925), could find no contemporary evidence for calling the billon issue of 1738 "marqu�s" either, and was reduced to arguing that this name came from the way in which they were struck. (See below, n. 63). The use of the term "sol marqu�" predated the 1738 billon issue. When Vaudreuil and B�gon wrote to the Count de Maurepas on November 2, 1724, regarding the habitants' resistance to the copper nine deniers of 1721-22, they stated that the new coinage " not necessary as the smallest purchase is never below a sol marqu�." Shortt, pp. 536-537. In 1752 the sols were called "marqu�s" however. Confusion of terminology reigned then, as now. The �dit that authorized them in 1738 called them sols and demi-sols, not sols and double sols or sou marqu�s. I have used the original, enabling act's terms.
12 Montreal, 1892.
13 Leroux's section entitled "French Dominion" was not paginated. Page 2 begins his section on the Franco-American jetons.
14 Leroux added two more in the undated Supplement to his catalogue, 254h (1757 liard counterstamped with a crowned C) and 254i (a plain flan with the same counterstamp). These additions were undoubtedly inspired by Zay's note regarding them
15 Montreal, 1894.
16 Breton (above, n. 15), p. 7. Breton also thanked McLachlan for making his collection available for study. Later in the new century McLachlan was quite critical of some of the pieces Breton included as French-Canadian.
17 Breton (above, n. 15), pp. 228-30. Near the end Breton writes, for example, "Dr. Leroux has continued to zealously practice his profession, and notwithstanding his active interest in numismatics for one or two years past [emphasis mine], he has devoted much of his leisure to the study of the calling which has taken up a good part of his life." Leroux was both a medical doctor and a teacher.
18 Zay (above, n. 8), pp. 52-57, 66 n.
19 Number 506 was allocated for the 1721-H copper, while a separate number 507 was given to the same issue distinguished only by its different mint, Rouen. Breton nos. 508-9 were selected for the 24 and 12 deniers of 1738. In his earlier 1890 illustrated pamphlet Breton had listed only the 1670 "Gloriam Regni" silver issues and the double (his nos. 1-3), a 1720 issue (no. 4), and the 1721-H and 1721-B coppers (nos. 5 and 6) under the heading "French Domination." In the 1892 Supplement, probably published after he had seen copies of Leroux' and Zay's works, Breton added the 1717-Q coppers (nos. 1, 2) and the 1738 billon sol and 1739 demi-sol (nos. 316, 317).
20 AJN 18 (1884), pp. 84-87; 29 (1894), pp. 59-60; 39 (1905), pp. 107-9; 43 (1909), pp. 155-56.
21 "A Scheme of Coinage for the French Colonies... 1665," AJN 33 (1899), pp. 89-90. No coins appear to have been struck despite the order of November 26, 1665.
22 "John Law and His Medals." AJN40 (1906), pp. 82-92; 41 (1906), pp. 1-12; 41 (1906), pp. 37-46; 41 (1907), pp. 59-65; 41, Supplement (1907), pp. 89-94.
23 R.L. Reid, "The Gold Coins of British Columbia," The Numismatist 13 (1900), pp. 101-3; Edgar H. Adams, "Canada's Early Gold Coins," The Numismatist 22 (1909), pp. 135-36.
24 "Tokens and Medals Relating to Numismatists," The Numismatist 17 (1904), pp. 202-7, 293-98; "The Canadian Blacksmith Tokens," The Numismatist 23 (1910), pp. 97-106; "Fake Canadian Tokens," The Numismatist 25 (1912), pp. 304-13; "Patterns Struck at the Royal Mint for Canada," The Numismatist 26 (1913), pp. 121-28.
25 Hoch, pp. 249-58.
26 Hoch, p. 257.
27 Hoch, p. 257.
28 Hoch, p. 258.
29 "The Coins of Canada," The Numismatist 27 (1914); Hoch, pp. 6-9.
30 "The Money of Canada From the Historical Standpoint," The Numismatist 28 (1915); Hoch, pp. 10-15.
31 See above, n. 3.
32 Examples of sols or double sols of the 1738 type counterstamped with a crowned "C" as called for in the 1763 �dit, appear to be extremely rare. Zay illustrated one in the line drawing on p. 65 of his work; Gadoury and Cousini� reproduce a photograph of a specimen on p. 17 of theirs. McLachlan could be dogmatic and intolerant in his opinions. He could also be very wrong. In the case of the 1738 sols and demi-sols, archaeological finds and documentary evidence show that not only did some circulate in Canada, but also that several hundred thousand pieces of the larger denomination were officially shipped to Quebec by the Treasurer of Marine in Paris.
33 Hoch, p. 29.
34 Hoch, p. 29.
35 CNL 1965, pp. 160-62.
36 CNL 1965, p. 161.
37 CNL 1961, pp. 39-40; 1962, pp. 46-47, 56-57; 1963, pp. 68-70; 1965, pp. 133-35; 1967, pp. 177-78.
38 Eric P. Newman and Richard G. Doty, eds., Studies on Money in Early America (New York City, 1976), pp. 43-74.
39 Breen, Studies (above, n. 38), p. 45.
40 (New York City, 1988). Chapter 5, pp. 43-58, is entitled "Issues for Canada and Louisiana Territory."
41 (New Jersey, 1990), pp. 41-46. This section of the book included my unfinished research study of the buste enfantin type of Louis XV that I shared privately with one of the authors at his request.
42 Anton and Kesse (above, n. 4l), pp. 44-45.
43 John J. Ford, Jr., ed. (New York City, 1957), pp. 12-13.
44 See above, n. 43.
45 David T. Alexander and Thomas K. DeLorey, eds. (New York City, 1990), p. 17.
46 46th ed. Kenneth E. Bressett, ed. (Racine, WI, 1993), pp. 30-32.
47 45th ed. (Toronto, 1991), pp. 1-11.
48 See above, n. 9.
49 Gadoury and Cousini� (above, n. 9), pp. 15-17. These are their numbers 1-7. Other issues include pieces dated 1781 and later and have no bearing on this study.
50 2 vol., Board of Historical Publications, Canadian Archives, (Ottawa, 1925).
51 "The events at Quebec in 1662-64 reveal the willingness [of] French merchants to take advantage of the different valuation given to French coins in the colony. When the coins were discounted in France, they were quickly shipped to the colonies to benefit from the higher values there. This was contrary to the wishes of the government, which [later] decreed in 1699 that ships should not carry more French currency than was needed to pay for the vessel's operating expenses;" and "royal officials at Quebec and Louisbourg complained [on June 27, 1743] about the merchants and 'pacotilleurs' [trinket pedlars] who brought out the sols marqu�s and the consequent proliferation of the small coins. Traders paid them out at the colonial value, but refused to accept the same coins in payment." Peter N. Moogk, "When Money Talks: Coinage in New France," CNJ 1987, pp. 63, 64.
52 Historical Archaeology 1980, pp. 82-107.
53 See, for example, Robert L. Hall, "The Archaeology of La Salle's Fort St. Louis on Starved Rock and the Problem of Newell Fort," French Colonial Archaeology: The Illinois Country and the Western Great Lakes, John A. Walthall, ed. (Chicago, 1991), pp. 14-28, a douzaine of Francis I deposited after Fort St. Louis had been abandoned. The bibliography to this volume is extremely valuable.
54 Report by K. Skowronek in Archaeology, May/June 1991, p. 19.
55 F. Niellon and M. Mousette, Le site de l'habitation de Champlain � Québec: �tude de la Collection archaeologique (1976-1980) (Québec, 1981), pp. 139-44. Regarding these counterstamped douzains the authors suggest "Enfin, rappelons la probabilit� que quatre de ces monnaies...ont �t� poinconn�es d'un motif identique (lys dans un ovale) post�rieurement × leur frappe originale, ce qui explique peut�tre en partie [by]...Le fait que plusieurs des monnaies de la collection aient vraisemblablement �t� r�utilis�es comme médaille...." The authors also note a Connecticut copper, possibly dated 1785, found at the Place Royale site. I owe this reference to Mr. Peter Moogk, who notes that it was not made available to him when he was preparing his own study of the coins of La Nouvelle France (above, n. 51).
56 See above, n. 51. This study and its apparatus criticus has been overlooked by American collectors of French coins that actively circulated in the French colonies of North America. It is the best single review of the archaeological record yet published in English.
57 Anton and Kesse (above, n. 41), p. 46. Anton felt that it was unlikely that the host sols had been sold as blanks, since their weights were heavier than the 155 grains required of legal New Jersey coppers. On the contrary, I date three of the five New Jersey parasites to 1789-90, the height of the overstriking period in the New Jersey series, and suggest that the sols were parts of batches of various, worn hosts meant for recoinage to the New Jersey types. The weights of host coins were unimportant to the NJ coiners, I know of many "overweight" ones. These worn host coins were essentially valueless at the time as they had been discredited in the marketplace. Their NJ overtypes gave them currency, not their weights. Had sols been as plentiful as Anton states we would expect to find more of them overstruck by NJ types. Instead, they are extremely rare.
58 Breen, Studies (above, n. 38), pp. 65-68. On the other hand, the fact that Le Chameau foundered before she discharged her cargo shows that the coins she carried never actually circulated in Canada! See Moogk (above, n. 51), p. 57.
59 Speaking of the �cus, Breen wrote "here we list only those date-mintmark combinations found in the Chameau Treasure for lack of evidence that any others were shipped to North America...Other mints are possible. Provenance from the Chameau Treasure would suffice to establish American relevance." Encyclopedia (above, n. 40), p. 51.
60 Hoch, pp. 7, 11, "the first coin directly referring to this country, an English token, inscribed 'Copper Company of Upper Canada', dated 1794..." McLachlan's characterization of the issue as a British merchant's token was shown to be incorrect by John J. Ford, Jr. in his "The Copper Company of Upper Canada," The Coin Collector's Journal 1951, pp. 61-69. The issue actually appears to be a pattern for a copper coinage ordered by Governor John G. Simcoe and placed with Boulton and Watt for execution.
61 Eric P. Newman, Coinage for Colonial Virginia, ANSNNM 135 (New York City, 1956).
62 Droit public, ou gouvernement des colonies fran�oises (Paris, 1771), vol. 2, pp. 360-61; quoted from Moogk (above, n. 51), pp. 63, 72.
63 Shortt (above, n. 11), pp. 4-7, 15 n. 2. Breen, believed the ordinance's "sols marquez" referred to the douzains and demi-douzains of 1658, and included them in his ANS study as nos. 2, 3 (Breen, Studies [above, n. 38]. In this, he borrowed from Shortt, who had earlier argued that the 1658 issues had been struck on new minting equipment and that the word "marquez" referred to this fact. If Shortt meant the introduction of screw presses at the Louvre, however, he was late by nearly 100 years. It is my belief that Quebec or Louisbourg references to "sols marquez" before 1710 should be understood as meaning the counterstamped billon coins of the 1640 and 1692 recoinages. A royal ordinance of June 20, 1743, for Louisbourg (enacted for Canada on March 30, 1744), distinguished the "anciens sols" and the "nouveaux sols" of 1738, the former to be current in France at 18 deniers, the latter at 24, Shortt, pp. 718-19. An ordinance of Beauhamois and Hocquart dated January 30, 1744, reduced the "vieux sols marqu�s" to 18 deniers, the rating ordered by the king for the "anciens sols" the year previous, Shortt, pp. 726-27. This was the ordinance referred to by Zay in his note describing the 1738 billon sols and double sols. Zay incorrectly attributed the 18 deniers rating to the sols of 1738, whereas the ordinance of 1743 actually rated the 1738 issue at 24 deniers. Zay's misattribution, together with later Canadian references to sols of the 1738 mintage as "marqu�s," have obscured the real identity of the "sols marqu�s" in circulation before 1710. It is likely that in Canada before 1710 the term "vieux sols marqu�s" referred to the billon pieces with fleur-de-lys counterstamps. Another ordinance of Beauharnois and Hocquart at Quebec on October 5, 1743, restricted the tender of "anciens sols marqu�s" to one-fortieth the total of any payment, noting that these had been demonetized in France by conciliar decree on August 1, 1738, three months prior to the �dit that authorized the new billon issue.
64 But not the 15 deniers issues, which were struck only at Metz for the frontier garrisons.
65 An electrotype copy seen by a reliable source is described as taken from a specimen quite different in appearance from the Ferrari-Norweb coin. Breton noted two examples in 1894, the Ferrari specimen and another he said was in M. Ulex's collection in Hamburg. There may have been a second example of this rarity, therefore, whose present whereabouts are untraced.
66 Shortt (above, n. 11), pp. 468-71.
67 Gadoury and Cousini� (above, n. 9), p. 376.
68 Shortt (above, n. 11), pp. 624-25, 628-31, and 727-28, for examples.
69 Shortt (above, n. 11), pp. 730-31, 800-801, 806-7. In the 1745 request the coins were called double sols but in 1752 they were named as "sols marqu�s."
70 Personal communication to the author from Greg Spies, a Mobile archaeologist whose company conducted the rescue dig. At least one jeton of Louis XIV was also found. Recent reports in the numismatic trade press of a 1670 issue uncovered are inaccurate. Attributions and dates recorded have not yet been verified.
71 Shortt (above, n. 11), pp. 36-37.
72 See above, n. 71.
73 Shortt (above, n. 11), pp. 4-5. Another was Vaudreuil's and Begon's formal receipt to the crown of the edict authorizing the new issue of Louis d'ors de Noailles (Gadoury-335). They write that "none of this issue has yet come to this country." None probably ever did, the one year type being extremely rare today.
74 Shortt (above, n. 11), pp. 566-69.
75 Shortt (above, n. 11), pp. 50-53.
76 Shortt (above, n. 11), pp. 550-59; also n. 6, above.
77 Cf. Breen, Studies (above, n. 38), p. 53 and Gadoury and Cousini� (above, n. 9), p. 115.
78 Shortt (above, n. 11), pp. 188-89 and 214-19. The memorandum goes on to state that "we [i.e. the royal government] are in no position to remit anything for the expenditures of the present year, 1711." The royal shipment for 1710 had to be entrusted to the hands of private merchants; the one for 1711 was even more difficult to arrange and had still had not been fully loaded.
79 Breen, Studies (above, n. 38), pp. 58-63.
80 Breen, Encyclopedia (above, n. 40), pp. 44-46, 49.
81 The recoinage of September 1720, was proposed by Law, however, as an extreme response to the serious inflation then raging in France.
82 The Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal 1992, pp. 14-64. [Author's note: as of May 1994, this journal had not yet revived publication.]
83 Hodder (above, n. 82), pp. 59, 60.

Boulton, Watt and the Canadian Adventure

Richard G. Doty

Coinage of the Americas Conference at the American Numismatic Society, New York City

November 7, 1992

� The American Numismatic Society, 1994

Boulton, Watt & Company, the coining and machinery firm founded by Matthew Boulton of Soho near Birmingham, prepared coins, tokens, dies and machinery for a variety of places around the world. Some of these were logical indeed, bearing numismatic testimony to the old adage that trade follows the flag. Thus, the British occupation of India first resulted in coinages for various parts of this enlarged sphere of influence, and eventually the provision of mints for the striking, in India, of a colony-wide coinage on Boulton's model.

In other cases, the paths of coinage and minting machinery take us by surprise: what, precisely, was Matthew Boulton doing in Russia? What did he think he was doing when he actively solicited business from Britain's mortal foes, the Revolutionary French? This cheerful ability to pop up in unexpected places is one of the more interesting aspects of the Boulton operation, but it was not the most profitable. Taking the overall view, Matthew Boulton, his successors, and their firm had their most persistent, most lucrative dealings with those areas under British political and/or commercial control. India is a prime example, but the English possessions in the Caribbean are another. Canada is a third, and it forms the subject of this article.

The connections between the Birmingham firm and the British possession lasted, in an episodic way, for over half a century. To a degree, they functioned in the shadow of Soho's largest concerns and hopes vis-à-vis Canada's southern neighbor, and, indeed Soho's successes in the Canadian arena can only be fully understood with due regard to its failures in the American one.

Matthew Boulton had long enjoyed an ambivalent relationship with the inhabitants of the former thirteen colonies. In the mid-1770s, he had spearheaded a remonstrance to Parliament, condemning American insurgency in highly intemperate language.1 By the following decade, his views toward Americans had mellowed, Boulton wishing them well in their new government experiment. In part this originated in a natural desire to increase the volume and types of business which his company had with the former colonists. But it also stemmed from an authentic progressivism, one which was doubtless reinforced by all the trouble and blind obstinance which Boulton was now encountering in his attempts to secure a regal coining contract from the British king and his minions.

Domestic resistance to new ideas, along with several thousand pounds' worth of improved minting equipment which he could not profitably allow to stand idle, led Matthew Boulton into a number of speculative contacts with the Americans. His primary contact in these early negotiations was John H. Mitchell of Charleston, South Carolina. Boulton first discussed the possibilities of a state coinage with this young, prematurely-optimistic planter. After the creation of the new national government under the Constitution (which document prohibited state coinage), Boulton and the Charlestonian explored the prospects of securing the right to strike our new, national coinage. Boulton would fail in both attempts, in part because of the spirited opposition of Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson to the national proposal.2 But an American coinage would shine before Matthew Boulton and his successor like a numismatic Holy Grail for the next two decades. Meanwhile, they would content themselves with lesser things. And here is where the contact with Canada originated.

We have no archival testimony bearing on that first connection; there is only the evidence of the coins. Or rather tokens; from 1794 come extremely rare pieces struck on behalf of the Copper Company of Upper Canada. They are unquestionably Soho products, their obverse die created by No�l-Alexandre Ponthon, who worked for Boulton between 1791 and 1795 (fig. 1).3 Ponthon may have gotten the idea for the composition from a previous Boulton piece, the 1791 Glasgow token for Gilbert Shearer & Company, the product of an earlier, equally short-term engraver, Rambert Dumarest. The lettering surrounding the figure, sunk into a raised border, was a distinctive Boulton touch from the mid-1790s, which would soon find a more important expression, on Soho's regal copper issues of 1797.


The reverse of the Canadian pattern is problematic. Ponthon presumably created it as well, for its style is highly reminiscent of the reverses used for the Monneron tokens, pieces for which Ponthon was certainly responsible. But its very simplicity renders such an attribution uncertain; virtually any middling diesinker could have created it. It seems to me that this plainness of reverse design may be ascribed to one of two possibilities. Boulton may have counseled haste in filling a request for a pattern, assuming that the artistry of Ponthon's obverse would carry the project to success. Or he may have viewed its prospects as unlikely, not worth the time of an elaborate effort for the reverse die. Of the two possibilities, the former strikes me as the more probable, for it corresponds to Boulton's business procedure in several other instances. But the contrast between obverse and reverse, however it originated, strikes us as jarring. Walter Breen suggests that the Copper Company of Upper Canada token was created on behalf of Governor Simcoe, whose recall in 1796 might explain why the pieces never got beyond pattern stage.4

There is a second, related piece worth mentioning, a mule created by combining the reverse of the Upper Canada token with the obverse of a second Soho pattern for American consumption, a speculative halfpenny ordered by Philip Parry Price Myddelton for a new settlement in Kentucky (fig. 2). The scheme never came to fruition, but a few tokens did get manufactured, harbingers of what would have been a large issue had irate Crown officials not prevented Myddelton and his flock from proceeding with their plans.5


Soho tended to save dies, even those for unsuccessful coinages. After the demise of the firm, many of them were reused to create restrikes and mules by W. J. Taylor, a Birmingham diesinker. Active between the 1860s and the 1890s, Taylor has made matters miserable for several generations of scholars and collectors of Boultoniana: many of his concoctions are readily identifiable, but others are not.6

In the case of the Myddelton/Upper Canada mule, a restruck concoction by Taylor is definitely suggested. Photographs of the piece indicate rust spots, which is precisely what one encounters on other Taylor restrikes, pieces made decades after their purported date. Additionally, coins, tokens, and medals made at Soho, even those manufactured beyond their stated date, tend to have an internal consistency. Put another way, there are very few mules in the legitimate Soho series. This piece, with not one but two unrelated American references, strains credulity: the Soho coiners simply did not em- brace that sort of practice. In my opinion, this hybrid is a later concoction, done outside the Soho Mint. But only a minute examination of the actual piece, its surfaces, and especially its edges (Taylor's edges are generally less precisely finished than Soho's) will tell for certain.

There is a peculiarly episodic quality about Boulton, Watt's Canadian connection. The next chapter in the story would take place in the early 1820s, a dozen years after Matthew Boulton's death. Like the initial contact of the 1790s, this one was abortive, but with a crucial difference. For the first period, we have coinage without archival testimony. For the second, we have archival testimony without coinage.

This second stage in Soho's dealings with Canada is represented by a single document in the Birmingham Reference Library Collection. It is a reply to a letter of January 21, 1821, from W. Richardson of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Richardson had written to Boulton and Watt (the branch of the firm which built steam engines, which eventually forwarded the letter to the coining branch of the operation), apparently requesting information on the firm's prices for preparing one or more orders of commercial tokens for Canadian circulation. M. R. Boulton's reply sets down the general parameters of a business arrangement:7 Not possessing the advantage of being personally known to you, I hope it will not be deemed improper on my part, previous to our entering upon the subject of your letter, to beg the favor of a reference to some mercantile house of acknowledged respectability in England, who may be willing to take upon themselves the responsibility of answering my drafts for the amount of all your orders... It will also be requisite for your correspondent in this country to furnish me with a license from the Privy Council for Trade and Plantations, authorizing the export of these tokens, the making and shipping of which would otherwise be considered illegal.

The younger Boulton was being prudent here: the firm had been less cautious in several other initial contacts, and it had occasionally paid dearly for its naiv�t�. But its polite request for credentials may have cost it dearly in this instance as well: we hear no more of Mr. Richardson in the Birmingham Archives. And if he had tokens struck, they were not elaborated at Soho.

What might they have been? As far as I have been able to determine, there are no tokens of this period from Nova Scotia, or from any other Canadian province, made for a Mr. Richardson. It is con- ceivable that he was involved in the semi-official Nova Scotian halfpence and pence of 1823-1824. But these coins were most definitely not Soho products, with a standard of workmanship far inferior to anything emanating from the Boulton mint. At present, nothing further can be said, and we are simply left with one more instance of an initial contact left unfulfilled.

The next contact would come during the later 1830s, and it would generate concrete results. Soho would carry through, actively solicit Canadian minting business, and create an excellent token coinage which would add much credit to its name, much vitality to an aging coinage operation.

Between the beginning of 1838 and the spring of 1845, Boulton, Watt designed and produced no less than 90 tons of penny and halfpenny tokens for four fiscal institutions in Lower Canada, the Bank of Montreal, the City Bank, the Quebec Bank, and the Banque du Peuple. During these activities, the venerable firm showed a surprising degree of celerity and panache, characteristics which stood in obvious contrast to the stodgy ways in which it had tended to conduct its affairs in previous years. Only replying by letter to an initial request made in late January 1838, Soho actually had dies engraved, copper rolled and struck, and the first batch of penny tokens (for the Bank of Montreal) out the door within three weeks' time.8 And the Birmingham coiners were soon sending them to their British port of debarkation by a newfangled, time-saving invention called a railroad. 9

What had happened? Why should Soho have behaved with an activity worthy of the elder Boulton, when it had very recently displayed a cheerful indifference to timeliness, an absentmindedness which drove its clients to distraction?10

The answer may be that the firm had just lost a lucrative piece of business, its lackadaisical tradition having perhaps been a factor. The severed connection had been in place for over 40 years, and it had been with one of the elder Boulton's targets of keenest interest, the United States of America. We need not go into details here, and in any case they are covered in an article I published in the British Numismatic Journal. It must be admitted that there is no mention of habitual lateness in carrying out orders as a factor in the decision to end the United States Mint's links with Boulton, Watt, either in the Mint Papers at the National Archives or in the Birmingham Reference Library. But Soho's tardiness in filling and sending orders had annoyed the Mint on numerous occasions, and one virtue of the new, American supplier was that it was American, and hence somewhat more amenable of influence from Philadelphia. In any event, Matthew Robinson Boulton and the other, aging members of the Soho operation must have gone through extensive soul-searching once the surprising and irrevocable decision of the Mint became known, and a determined resolve to do better with any future coining contracts would have been a logical reaction. And history would repeat itself: the disappearance of a moneying possibility with the Americans would, once again, inspire increased attention to the land to the north.

Soho's tokens for Lower Canada bear dates of 1837, 1842, and 1844. The dates are generally inaccurate as to the time of manufacture. While 1842-dated issues actually were made in the summer of the year whose date they bear, the 1837 tokens were struck on several occasions from the winter of 1838 through the summer of 1839, while tokens dated 1844 were made well into 1845.11 This was reasonably common procedure at Soho, as indeed it currently was or had been at many other mints, including our own. But confusion over the correct year to place on a die might explain the fact that there are also extremely rare halfpence dated 1845.


These pence and halfpence featured two designs. The 1837 issues, for the four Lower Canada banks already mentioned, display a habitant or French-Canadian settler on their obverses. This figure was widely though incorrectly thought to be Louis Joseph Papineau, leader of an abortive rebellion against British rule in 1837, the date given on the reverse. The primary design on that side of these penny and halfpenny tokens was rendition of the arms of Montreal. The name of the actual issuing bank may be seen in minute incused lettering on the ribbon beneath the arms (figs. 3-4). This reverse was retained for the issues of 1842 and 1844, but a frontal view of the Bank of Montreal was substituted for the habitant (figs. 5-6). I have been unable to uncover the name of the designer or designers of these tokens, although they may have been the products of John Sheriff, who was employed at Soho on Mexican coinage at the time the Canadian order was first discussed.12


A progression of sorts exists in the Canadian activities of Boulton, Watt & Company in the 1830s and 1840s. That is, the firm's first Quebec coppers were created on behalf of several strictly private banking institution, while its second series had a quasi-official air about it. The Bank of Montreal had secured what amounted to a monopoly for the importation and circulation of copper tokens before placing its second batch of orders with the Soho coiners:13 from now on, Boulton, Watt would be coining for Canada in at least a semi-official capacity.

For New Brunswick, a logical end to this progression was achieved: in this case, Boulton, Watt would be coining a purely official, colonial issue for a Canadian province.

The New Brunswick penny and halfpenny tokens were created in record time by Boulton, Watt. On August 4, 1842, J. Tarratt & Company, of Ann Street, Birmingham, made enquiries to Boulton, Watt concerning a possible coinage for the province of New Brunswick. A list of charges was sent to Tarratt & Company the following day.14 For the next several months, neither side appears to have pursued the issue: for Soho the younger Boulton's death in mid-1842 would have complicated matters, as would have its current engagement with the Bank of Montreal. But contact was resumed once the Montreal order had been finished: early in January 1843, a contract was drawn up between Tarratt & Company and John Westley, on behalf of Boulton, Watt. Pence and halfpence were wanted, but speed was of the essence: a Captain Dudne was in Britain on business for the colony, and he hoped to return to St. John, with the tokens, at the end of February. The constraint of time in this particular instance (as well, I suspect, as a lingering memory of the loss of the United States trade), inspired Soho to a celerity and an artistic excellence, a sort of numismatic grace under pressure, which would have done credit to the firm at any time during its career, and which was truly extraordinary this close to its end. Soho's estimate of charges for the coinage went out on January 6. More copper was arranged for the following day (for the coinage would exhaust the slender resources remaining after the Montreal order had been filled). An engraving of a frigate had been procured by the tenth; a rendition of this vessel would adorn the reverses of the new coppers.

Metal for the issue was being rolled by the sixteenth. Dies were to be ready by the twenty-second (in the event, Soho had to wait until the second of February for them, John Westley explaining to the impatient Captain Dudne "that artists in our business are most notorious for procrastination, much to our annoyance"; he added that the delay would be worthwhile, considering the quality of the resulting tokens). Actual striking was under way by the middle of February, and this, the most crucial part of the operation, had been completed by about the end of the month. On March 1, Westley wrote Captain Dudne proudly to inform him that "I hope to have the pleasure to transmit the New Brunswick coinage per railway on Saturday next, the 4th instant, being six days before the time you gave us." And on the day following, Westley passed a final judgement on the new money. In a letter to Thomas Jones Wilkinson, he boldly said that "a more beautiful coinage was never before issued from our mint."15

History supports this view. For all the speed with which it was executed, the New Brunswick coinage must certainly stand as one of Soho's loveliest creations. These are heavy pieces, the pence weighing 26 to the pound and the halfpence 52. The depiction of the frigate is rendered with the greatest attention to detail, while the head of the young Queen is charmingly presented (figs. 7-8). These pieces are simply superb productions, and they invite comparison with the better-known Heaton issues of 1854.


By that time, of course, Soho no longer existed, having gone out of business at mid-century; but since Ralph Heaton & Sons had purchased the earlier firm's coining machinery, a direct line of descent exists between the issues of 1843 and those of 1854. Those machines, first developed by Matthew Boulton and carefully tended by generations of Soho artisans, still had much work to do. And if a high degree of wear means anything, then the products they struck for Canada enjoyed an eager and sustained acceptance among several generations of a growing nation. Matthew Boulton could not have wished for a better, more lasting, Canadian legacy than this.

End Notes

1 Derek Jarrett, The Begetters of Revolution: England's Involvement with France, 1759-1789 (Totowa, NJ, 1973) p. 137. See also B. D. Bargar, "Matthew Boulton and the Birmingham Petition of 1775," William and Mary Quarterly 13 (1956), pp. 26-39.
2 For correspondence between John Mitchell and Matthew Boulton relating to a projected South Carolina coinage (carefully edited to flatter Mitchell), see Mitchell-Boulton Correspondence (privately printed, 1931). This correspondence largely occupies the years 1787-90, and the complete, unedited version may be found in the Matthew Boulton papers at the Birmingham Reference Library (hereafter BRL), largely in Letter Box Ml (Ma-Mit). The negotiations in the direction of a possible national contract coinage came during this same general period; parts of them may be found in the locations mentioned, the remainder in letters to Matthew Boulton from his nephew, Zacchaeus Walker. Walker was in the infant United States on business for Boulton at the time, and his papers occupy their own box in the Matthew Boulton papers. The Canadian portion of this archival material was gathered by me during an extended visit to Birmingham in the spring of 1988, and it will be dealt with again in my forthcoming book, Matthew Boulton and the Industrialization of Money.
3 A handy summation of Ponthon's career at Soho may be found in Brian Gould's "Noel-Alexandre Ponthon, Medallist and Miniaturist (1769/70-1835)," Seaby's Coin and Medal Bulletin 648 (1972), pp. 312-19, and 649 (1972), 361-67.
4 Walter Breen, Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins (New York City, 1988) p. 107. While Breen was a ranking expert on early Cana-diana, he cites no source for the connection between Governor Simcoe and these tokens. His suggestion of an 1802-3 date for the Myddleton/Upper Canada mule is almost certainly too early, for reasons discussed in the text.
5 Breen (above, n. 4), p. 117. Additional information on Matthew Boulton's role in the creation of the Myddleton tokens will be found in BRL, Letter Box M2 (Mol to Mz), documents 276-282 (letters from Boulton to Myddelton and Myddelton to Boulton, December 1795 to February 1796). Boulton never seems to have received payment for his efforts; perhaps to recoup his losses, he later began selling the pieces to collectors. See BRL, Assay Office 34, Mint Book [Number 4] (Day Book Mint, 1795-1798), p. 51 (entry for February 25, 1797) for an example of Boulton's making the best of a bad situation. Conrad Heinrich Küchler created the dies for this pattern.
6 C. Wilson Peck, English Copper, Tin and Bronze Coins in the British Museum, 1558-1958, 2d ed. (London, 1964), pp. 221-26, 228, 229. Peck's observations refer specifically to Soho patterns for regal coinage, but they apply equally to private tokens.
7 BRL, AO65 (Mint and Coinage Letter Book, 1820-1823), Zacchaeus Walker for Matthew Robinson Boulton to W. Richardson, March 15, 1821.
8 BRL, AO84 (Letter Book 1835-1839), Matthew Robinson Boulton to Joshua Scholefield & Sons, January 31, 1838; BRL, AO81 (Mint and Coinage Day Book, 1834-1849), p. 51 (entry of February 21, 1838).
9 BRL, AO84, John Westley for Matthew Robinson Boulton to the Grand Junction Railway Company, August 22, 1839.
10 Richard G. Doty, "Early United States Copper Coinage: The English Connection," BNJ 57 (1987), pp. 54-76 for examples of the problem.
11 BRL, A081, (Mint and Coinage Day Book, 1834-1839).
12 Richard G. Doty, "A Mint for Mexico: Boulton, Watt and the Guanajuato Mint," BNJ 56 (1986), p. 139.
13 R. W. McLachlan, "The Copper Currency of the Canadian Banks—1837-1857," Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada (1903-1904), vol. 9, Section 2, pp. 224-27. McLachlan is invaluable for his citation of Canadian correspondence and documents related to these tokens—in essence, the other side of the Canadian correspondence.
14 BRL, AO86 (Mint and Coinage Letter Book, 1840-1845), letter of John Westley toj. Tarratt & Company, August 5, 1842.
15 BRL, AO86, John Westley to Thomas Jones Wilkinson, March 2, 1843.

The Magdalen Island Token

Barry D. Tayman and Frank J. Katen

Coinage of the Americas Conference at the American Numismatic Society, New York City

November 7, 1992

� The American Numismatic Society, 1994

Sir Isaac Coffin, Bart., the individual responsible for ordering the Magdalen Island token, also referred to as a Penny, was born in Boston on May 16, 1759. In 1773 he was appointed Midshipman in the British navy and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in only three years. He proved to be a capable young officer and continually rose through the ranks, eventually becoming an admiral in 1802 and a baronet in 1804.1

While still in the British navy, in 1786, he was appointed to the frigate Thisbe and ordered to take Lord Dorchester and his family to Quebec. While on his way up the river to Quebec the Thisbe was becalmed off the Magdalen Islands, in the St. Lawrence River. Sir Isaac was struck by the islands and requested that Lord Dorchester bestow them on him. He was initially refused.2 W.A.B. Douglas notes, however, that in 1787 Sir Isaac alerted the legislative council of Quebec to American exploitation of the fisheries and illicit trade on the Iles de la Madeleine (The Magdalen Islands). A committee of the council favored Sir Isaac "proprietor" of the islands. The matter was not acted on until 1795 when he raised the issue again with the Treasury in London, and letters patent were issued to Sir Isaac on April 24, 1798, for the seigneury of the islands. According to the terms of the grant, he was obliged to allow free access to the beaches and shores of the fishery. W.A.B. Douglas also notes that because of Coffin's professional abilities and reputed knowledge of the fisheries much "public utility" was expected from his proprietorship. As an absentee landlord acting through agents, however, he himself obtained nothing but aggravation.3

R. W. McLachlan, one of Canada's premier numismatists, first addressed the topic of the Magdalen Island token in 1880. He noted that while Sandham in 1869 gave a separate division to this coin, the Magdalen Islands are attached to the Province of Quebec. At that time he believed that the penny was imported by some of the large fish dealers for change which was scarce on the islands.4

In 1886, R. W. McLachlan again addressed this topic, and noted that Sir Isaac visited his Canadian possession or kingdom only once and during this visit placed the token under consideration into circulation. He noted that the visit and the striking of the token was well described by the medallist Sir Edward Thomason in his "Memoirs during half a century" published in London in 1845 McLachlan quoted Sir Thomason's entire entry regarding the Magdalen Island token which we deem worthy of repeating: 1815. I had manufactured this year a large quantity of tokens for Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin, Bart., who is the sole possessor and king, as he calls himself, of the Magdalen Islands, situated in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in North America. They were principally of copper, pence and half-pence. The obverse was a seal, and the legend around the edge, "Magdalen Island Token, 1815" The reverse, a split codfish; the legend "Success to the Fishery. One Penny." As soon as a large quantity of these were struck off, Sir Isaac sailed off with them, packed up in casks, and took with him a powerful coining press and machinery, and dies ready engraved, to establish what he called a little mint for his subjects to manufacture their coin for the future, on receiving the rolled copper from England, and disposing of the scrap part to the Americans. All this I arranged for him, agreeably to his wishes. On Sir Isaac's return to England, he informed me that the inhabitants paid him every attention and courtesy and were much delighted with the new coin which Sir Isaac advanced by way of loans to some of the superiors, at a fair interest, and for the expense that he had been at for their well-doing. They allowed him to institute a kind of poll tax, a trifle for each to pay annually to the Committee of Management, but no sooner had he left the Island, but they broke faith and at the waters edge shouted out "Fouettez King George and King Coffin!" I have reason to believe that the Admiral never again went to visit his subjects.

McLachlan noted that "No specimen of the 'half-pence' mentioned in this memorandum has ever come to light." He felt that Sir Edward, writing from memory, took it for granted that there was a coinage of half-pence. He did concede, however, that such dies were prepared as noted by Sir Edward, and that they were probably sent to the Magdalen Islands with the coinage press.5 McLachlan's conclusion regarding the half-pence has remained unchallenged to the present. But to our surprise, the landmark 1871 sale of the Dr. Charles Clay sale catalogued by William Harvey Strobridge, contains the following entry for lots 43 and 44: 43. Magdalen Islands. Pennies; Rev. dried fish. Two pieces. One uncirculated. 44. do. Half Pennies. Fine. Two pieces.

Contemporary numismatic reports of the sale in the American Journal of Numismatics as well as Mason's Coin Collectors' Magazine are silent with respect to the lot in question. Perhaps the fact that lot 43 only brought 20 cents while lot 44 only brought the lofty sum of 40 cents, coupled with the fact that the lot is not plated, accounts for the numismatic press of the day failing to realize the potential importance of the two half-pence listed in the sale. More importantly, no subsequent writer has challenged the entry as an error. We note, however, that Ebenezer L. Mason in the January 1872 issue of Mason's Monthly Coin Collectors' Magazine commented about the extensive typographical and other errors found in the Clay sale;6 unfortunately, he did not comment on the lot with the "two Half Pennies." Given the importance of that sale in its day, we are surprised that this lot went unreported. Nevertheless, in the absence of specific evidence to the contrary, and, despite Mason's criticism in general, the present writers are of the opinion that lot 44 of the Clay sale may represent examples of Magdalen Island Halfpennies, presumably from the aforementioned dies. Worthy of note is the fact that proofs of the Magdalen Island penny were struck and, as we will develop, are far more common than uncirculated business strikes. Given the fact that proofs of the penny were struck, it seems unlikely that neither Sir Edward nor Sir Isaac obtained impressions from the Halfpenny dies. The two Halfpennies listed in the Clay sale may be such impressions. This, however, does not answer the question of why such a rarity existed only in circulated condition and why both of the specimens in question were identically described as in fine condition. If they exist, perhaps they were carried as pocket pieces.

Returning to the Magdalen Island penny, we note that it was first described by Thomas Sharp in his catalogue of the Sir George Chet-wynd collection published in 1834 in an edition of 60 copies. He accurately described the token noting that the edge was "engrailed-Halliday," referring to the fact that the dies were cut by Halliday. Thomas Halliday was one of the leading manufacturers of nineteenth century tokens, and was also a diesinker. He was known to have engraved many of Sir Edward's tokens including the Magdalen Island penny. Thomas Sharp went on the describe two such tokens in Sir George's collection; one noted as "fine bronzed impression," and the other noted as "another specimen - unbronzed." Sir George's collection was auctioned in England in 1872, by Christie, Manson and Woods. Lot 549 of that sale contained a grouping that included a Magdalen Island penny without any further description.

Typical specimens of the Magdalen Island penny weigh between 17 and 18 g. Warren Baker, however, in his catalogue No. 33, at lot 343, offered for sale a plain edge test piece struck without a collar on a very thick flan of 3 mm which weighed 23.93 g That specimen was in extra fine condition and was described by Mr. Baker as having a small scratch on the obverse seal. He also noted the ex- istence of one other such specimen that was in about very fine condition.

We believe that all specimens, both proof as well as the business strikes, were struck from the same single pair of dies. We note that the obverse of proofs and high grade business strikes that we have examined all exhibit a shifted recut 5. We also note that the reverse of all proof and business strikes that we have examined contain what appears to be the remaining portion of the serif from the top of the Y to the right of the Y in Penny, and above the period between the Y in Penny, and the Y in Fishery. While we believe that all such specimens were struck from a single pair of dies, we note that lot 204 of the Dr. A.N. Brushfield sale by Glendining in 1945 contained two Magdalen Islands pennies, one of which was described as struck from "cracked dies." We also note that in his fixed price list No. 12, October 1969, Lot 212, Warren Baker offered for sale the following described specimen: Breton 520. Magdalen Island Token, a proof, but due to little rubbing now a.u: a die crack extends from right rim opposite "K" through "N" and to lower rim just left of date.

Regrettably it was not illustrated, and its exact nature cannot now be ascertained. If this specimen is indeed a proof and not a high grade business strike from a late state of the die as we suspect, it obviously raises the possibility that more than one obverse die was used as such a die break is generally not found in business strikes, and is unknown to the present writers on proofs. That business strikes are known from a cracked die is further confirmed by the following example offered for sale by Warren Baker in his list No. 32: Lot 27. Magdalen Island penny, v.f., obv. corrosion, somewhat affecting some letters, still presentable. Heavy die crack in right obv. border to rim to left rev. border.

We also note a further example in extra fine condition, with a planchet defect at top of coin in the United States Coin Company sale of the William Earl Hidden collection (Oct. 15, 1914, lot 17).

The most colorful description of a Magdalen Island penny is found in the 1884 H. P. Smith sale of the Alfred Sandham and George Cushing collection. Lot 148 of that sale which brought the sum of $2.10, contains the following entry: 1815 Magdalen Island Penny: a seal on cake of ice: rev., a dried codfish: this is the finest specimen I have seen: but little circulated: the very bones of the cod are so distinct that one involuntarily grasps for his perfumed handkerchief.


The American Numismatic Society has a number of Magdalen Island pennies in its collection, two of which are described and illustrated herein, together with a counterstamped specimen in the author's collection: 1. A proof formerly in the collection of Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb, Sr. and noted in Mrs. Norweb's ledger which is also in the Society, as having been obtained from Tennant (fig. 1). According to Fred Bowman, William B. Tennant was an enthusiastic collector who was convinced that he had an almost complete collection of Canadian coins and tokens. Following his death in 1943, his collection remained in the hands of his trustees until 1955 when it was purchased by the New Netherlands Coin Company on behalf of Mr. R. Henry Norweb.7 2. An example in fine condition, which is stamped twice with a quatrefoil, the meaning of which is unknown (fig. 2). This example which is also from the Norweb collection, is noted in Mrs. Norweb's ledger as having been obtained from Spink and Sons in 1955. We are aware of only three other counterstamped Magdalen Island pennies. One counterstamped twice "Eugene H. Freeman" was sold at auction in 1982 in Canada.8 Unfortunately, the catalogue did not illustrate this lot. Another was described by D. T. Batty in 1898 as being slightly circulated with a permanent countermark on obverse not injuring the surface of the coin, which will be further described below. Unfortunately, the countermark was not described. Lastly, we note a low grade specimen in the author's collection that is stamped W. STEEL twice on the obverse and numerous times on the reverse (fig. 3). 3. A high grade business strike from the collection of Isaac J. Greenwood in 1911.


Returning to the relevant numismatic literature, we note that following the publication of Thomas Sharp's catalogue of Sir George Chetwynd's collection in 1834, there are no references to the Magdalen Island penny until Rev. Henry Christmas in 1862. The entry for the Magdalen Island penny accurately describes it, but does not reveal any information of interest.9

We next note an extreme rarity of Canadian numismatic literature issued in a very small quantity through the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Montreal in 1863. Fred Bowman notes that in 1863 Adelard J. Boucher, the first president of that society, along with Joshua L. Brondson, and James Rattery, were commissioned by the society to compile a catalogue of Canadian coins. Bowman notes that this was the first catalogue of its kind but it was never published.10 Through the kind assistance of Warren Baker in Montreal, we had an opportunity to examine one of the few copies in existence of the partially completed work which is illustrated with plates by W. Notman. Of interest is the following remark: "No precisely corresponding half-penny has yet been met with."11

The Magdalen Island penny did not escape the notice of German numismatic writers and collectors. It was listed by Joseph Neumann in his exhaustive work on copper coins published in 1863.12 In addition, examples were auctioned in the North American section of the Fonrobert sale in 1877 by Adolf Weyl (lot 225); by Adolph Weyl again in his 147th sale in 1899 (lot 210), and by Adolph Hess in 1908 in his sale of the George F. Ulex collection (lot 117).

Alfred Sandham described the Magdalen Island penny in his work on the Coins and Tokens of Canada published in 1869.13 His work was illustrated with an excellent line drawing, but shed no light on the half-penny.

James Atkins also described the Magdalen Island penny in 1889, noting that the islands contain about 2,000 people who are chiefly supported by the cod, herring and seal fisheries. He also pointed out that there was "[b]ut one token and that bears direct reference to the prevalent industry."14

Both Joseph LeRoux, M.D. in The Canadian Coins Cabinet published in 189215 and P.N. Breton in his Illustrated History of Coins and Tokens Relating to Canada published in 189416 shed no further light on the mystery, although Breton notes that the half penny was never issued.

The next important reference to the Magdalen Island penny is found in D.T. Batty's monumental catalogue of British and Irish copper.17 Batty described proof pennies in both bronze and copper. He also described a "slightly circulated" penny that had a "permanent countermark on O (obverse), without injuring the surface of the coin." He made no comment regarding the half penny.

Robert W. McLachlan revisited the Magdalen Island penny in an address to The Royal Society of Canada in 191518 and again in The Numismatist that same year but shed no new light on the topic.19

William Butler addressed the topic of the Magdalen Island penny in an article in The Numismatist in 1924, but again did not add to our information.20

In the Romance of Canada's Money published in Toronto in 1933, Paul Montgomery erroneously concluded that the penny in question was coined in Canada with a coining press manufactured in Birmingham.21

Howard Kurth discussed the Magdalen Island penny in 1942 in an extensive article on Canadian tokens. He stated that it was the only coin or token that he knew of that depicts a seal. He noted that the token was "quite scarce."22 The present authors believe that it is only scarce in grades above fine.

Robert C. Willey in 1958 correctly noted, "this well-made coin comes on a somewhat thicker flan than most pennies of the early 19th century. Of some rarity, fine specimens have become ever more difficult to locate."23 Willey returned to the topic in 1960 and noted that Sir Isaac intended to strike half pennies, "however, his plans were foiled by the arrival of a British man-of-war with official notification that the right to coin money there pertained exclusively to the crown."24

G. J. Dickie discussed the Magdalen Island penny in 1963. He believed that it was unlikely that Sir Isaac would have brought a cumbersome coin press to the islands, and therefore all of the tokens were struck in England. Mr. Dickie noted that Sir Isaac never revisited the Islands after he distributed his tokens, but that "[h]e and his descendants retained complete, if absentee, ownership and control of the islands. The relationship between inhabitants and the Coffin family was frequently stormy, with several rebellions against the arbitrary treatment meted out by their absentee landlords." He also noted that in 1903 a Canadian corporation, the "Magdalen Island Company," bought out the heirs of Coffin, with the result that the islanders had control of their own affairs for the first time since 1787.25

In the Coins of Canada, authors James A. Haxby and Robert C. Willey noted that there is evidence that the Magdalen Island token also circulated in Halifax, Nova Scotia.26

Lastly, we note that Sir Isaac was responsible for one other issue of interest to numismatists. It is a medal commemorating his ancestor Tristram Coffin of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and listed in Betts as number 533 (fig. 4). Betts described the medal as follows: 533. Obv. TRISTRAM COFFIN THE FIRST OF THE RACE THAT SETTLED IN AMERICA. Full length figure standing, facing, doublet, cloak, ruff and hat, upon a pedestal inscribed 1642. His right hand rests on his hip, and in his left hand he holds a staff. Rev. DO HONOR TO HIS NAME. BE UNITED. Four hands united to form a cross. (Punctuated with stars) Copper, (silver-plated) and lead. Rare. Size 34. Med. III., Chas. I, 121, which says it may have been struck at the time of the War of Independence.


Betts notes that the medal was struck under the direction of Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin. He felt that it was struck at the beginning of the nineteenth century rather than at the time of the War of Independence as listed in Medallic Illustrations.

As an aid in determining pedigree, to assist in determining the known specimens in high grade of the Magdalen Island penny, some of the more important Canadian collections not previously mentioned, with examples grading very fine and above, are listed:

Gerald E. Hart, E. Frossard, December 26-28, 1888, Lot 1135, plated in the sale and appears to be a business strike. Described by Frossard as "In superb condition, by far the finest I have seen; very rare."

F. J. Grenny, E. Frossard, October 10-11, 1893, Lot 179, Very Fine.

Gerald E. Hart, Scott Stamp & Coin Co., April 13, 1895, Lot 148. Extremely Fine. Light olive. Obverse a few nicks, reverse shows no wear.

Charles Steigerwalt, Fixed Price List 55—1895. Beautiful light olive proof.

John G. Murdoch, Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge, July 24, 1903, Lot 475, an unbronzed proof graded very fine and Lot 476, a brilliant proof with a "beautiful purple tone" noted by Murdoch "this is considered the finest specimen extant."

Lyman H. Low sale July 21, 1904 (owner not listed) Lot 350. Brilliant proof. "I have never seen its equal."

A. H. Lockwood and Samuel W. Treat, S. H. & H. Chapman, December 20, 1905, Lot 476. A resale of the Murdoch specimen, now described by the Chapmans as "proof, steel color and believed to be the finest specimen known, from the Murdoch collection where it was so designated and we may add its equal we have never seen. Very rare in such preservation."

Matthew H. Stickney, H. Chapman, June 25-29, 1907, Lot 2925- Uncirculated. Light olive. Very rare in this preservation.

J. B. Caldecott, Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, June 13, 1912, Lot 387. Brilliant and rare as a proof.

William Earl Hidden, United States Coin Co., October 15, 1914, Lot 16. Extremely fine, barely circulated, light brown, rare in this condition; Lot 17, Extremely fine, but with a planchet defect at top of coin, rare.

George M. Parsons, H. Chapman, January 24-27, 1914, Lot 2350. Proof. Steel with traces of original color. Slight nick on edge.

H. Alexander Parsons, Glendining & Co., May 11, 1954, Lot 1012. Three Magdalen Island pennies: a) Copper proof; b) Bronzed proof; c) "Currency" (presumably a business strike); all mint state.

Canadian Numismatic Association, Canada Coin Exchange, September 21-22, 1956, Lot 4. Illustrated, XF, but slight edge defect on obverse, probably in minting.

C.N.A., Canada Coin Exchange, August 31-September 1-2, 1961, Lot 11. Extra fine.

Rupert E. Kingsford, Lyman H. Low, June 21, 1915, Lot 9. Extra fine and "scarce".

John Story Jenks, H. Chapman, December 7-17, 1921, Lot 5335. Dull proof, slight nick on seal.

W.W.C. Wilson, Wayte Raymond, November 16-18, 1925. Lot 448. Proof, bright red. "Very rare condition."

W.W.C. Wilson, Part 2, Wayte Raymond, November 3-4, 1926, Lot 21. Olive and red proof. Rare.

W.W.C. Wilson, Part 3, Wayte Raymond, November 21, 1927, Lot 14. Uncirculated, light olive proof surface.

W.W.C. Wilson, Part 4,; Wayte Raymond, J. W. Scott and others, May 24, 1928, Lot 10. Extremely fine.

The Coin and Medal Bulletin, Wayte Raymond Fixed Price List, 13, February 1928, Lot 1797. Olive and red proof. (Ex W.W.C.WUson 1926?)

Frank and Laurese Katen, destined for auction sale 35, April 9-10, 1971. Instead acquired by private treaty. Very fine. Now in the Katens' Collection.

Hans M.F. Schulman, Fixed Price List 30, (date unknown) Original proof in original metal case. We note that proof Canadian tokens in such metal cases are not uncommon.

John A. McKay-Clements, Frank Rose, May 13-16, 1976, Lot 36. VF, usual nicks, obv. and rev. This specimen is in the Tayman collection.

Peter Broeker, Almanzar's, Part 2, December 5, 1978, Lot 1313. Described as AU, proof-like, perhaps a proof.

Richard F. Buckley, Joseph Lepczyk, November 20-21, 1981, Lot 33, toned proof. From Jess Peters MSNS sale, November 1974, Lot 2320.

Warren Baker Catalogue No. 33, Lot 342. "AU, with pinpoints in field." An impaired proof.

Torex, Summer 1988. London Coin Centre Catalogue 8, by Jeffrey Hoare, Lot 671. Choice, about uncirculated with mirror-like surfaces and considerable luster.

Torex, Fall 1989. Jeffrey Hoare Auctions No. 13, Lot 2154. AU, some red, a business strike.

Torex, June 1990. Jeffrey Hoare Auctions No. 16, Lot 1012. Lustrous AU. some rubbing on high points of design, slightly soft strike.

Torex, February 1991. Jeffrey Hoare Auctions No. 18, Lot 1504. EF+, with some imperceptible digs in rev. field.

Torex, February 1992, Jeffrey Hoare Auctions No. 22, Lot 607, VF.

Torex, June 26-27, 1992, Jeffrey Hoare Auctions No. 23, Lot 1024. About XF, nice clean business strike.

Torex, October 30-31, 1992, Jeffery Hoare Auctions, Lot 972. EF + with beautiful surfaces but for a barely perceptible scratch in the lower reverse field.

In conclusion, much remains to be learned about this early Canadian token. The mystery of the so-called half penny may never be solved, although we believe, on the scanty evidence in the aforementioned Clay sale, and Sir Edward's memoirs, that patterns may exist. We know that proofs exist in both bronze and copper, and that all examples thus far examined by the authors appear to have been struck by just one pair of dies. We also know that some specimens were struck from late states of the dies and exhibit die cracks, the precise nature of which will have to await future study.

The Authors would like to acknowledge the help of the following individuals: Mark Auerbach, Warren Baker, Armand Champa, Richard Doty, John J. Ford, Milton Lynn, John M. Kleeberg, Scott Miller and Harry Tayman.

End Notes

1 Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography (New York City, 1888), s.v. "Isaac Coffin."
2 Thomas C. Amory, The Life of Admiral Isaac Coffin (Boston, 1886), p. 46.
3 W.A.B. Douglas, Dictionary of Canadian Biography (Toronto, 1988), s.v. "Isaac Coffin."
4 Robert W. McLachlan, Canadian Numismatics (Montreal, 1886), p. 8, no. 23.
5 Robert W. McLachlan, "The Magdalen Islands Coinage," CANJ 13 (1886) pp. 78-80.
6 Mason's Monthly Coin Collectors' Magazine 6 (1872), pp. 11-14.
7 Fred Bowman, "Collector of Canadian Coins of the Past," Transactions of the Canadian Numismatic Research Society 7 (1971), pp. 95-99.
8 Empire Industries Inc. (Montreal), Oct. 29, 1982, 5.
9 Henry Christmas, "Copper Coinage of the British Colonies in America," NC 1862, p. 200.
10 Bowman (above, n. 7), p. 97.
11 Adelard J. Boucher, A Catalogue of the Silver and Copper Coins of Canada and of the other British North American Provinces; Also the Annual Reports of the Officers of The Numismatic Society of Montreal (Montreal, 1863), pi. A.
12 Joseph Neumann, Beschreibung der bekanntesten Kupfermiinzen, vol. 3 (Prague, 1863), p. 175.
13 Alfred Sandham, Coins, Tokens and Medals of the Dominion of Canada (Montreal, 1869), p. 18.
14 James Atkins, The Coins and Tokens of the Possessions and Colonies of the British Empire (London, 1889), p. 283.
15 Joseph Leroux, The Canadian Coin Cabinet, 2nd ed. (Montreal, 1892), Supplement (1898), p. 495.
16 Pierre N. Breton, Illustrated History of Coins and Tokens Relating to Canada (Montreal, 1894), p. 36, no. 520.
17 D.T. Batty, Batty's Descriptive Catalogue of the Copper Coinage of Great Britain, Ireland, British Isles and Colonies, vol. 4 (London, 1895), p. 1180, nos. 10-13.
18 Robert W. McLachlan, "Presidential Address," Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada (Ottawa, 1915), p. 54.
19 Robert W. McLachlan, "The Money of Canada from the Historical Standpoint," The Numismatist 28 (1915), pp. 421-26.
20 William Butler, "Canada's Token Currency," The Numismatist 37 (1924), pp. 16-17.
21 Paul Montgomery, The Romance of Canada's Money (Toronto, 1933), pp. 14-15.
22 Howard Kurth, "Canadian Coppers," Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine 8 (1942), p. 340.
23 Robert C. Willey, "Coins and Tokens of Canada Before Confederation," CNJ 3 (1958), p. 157.
24 Robert C. Willey, "Coins of Canada," CNJ 5 (1960), p. 376.
25 G.J. Dickie, "The Magdalen Islands Token," CNJ 8 (1963), pp 235-36.
26 James A. Haxby and Robert C. Willey, Coins of Canada (Toronto, 1992), p. 153.

The Powell and Sutherland Golden Wedding Commemoratives

Warren Baker

Coinage of the Americas Conference at the American Numismatic Society, New York City

November 7, 1992

� The American Numismatic Society, 1994

Golden wedding anniversary medals constitute a rather unusual category of medallions. The type is in no way commonplace, and it seems rather extraordinary that Canada can lay claim to two medals of the first part of the nineteenth century. It is not peculiar that few such medals exist as couples of the era rarely attained the age together wherein such an event could take place. For those who did, it could only have been the elite that would have so distinguished it with the gift of bronze and silver medals commemorating the happy occasion.

One of the early golden wedding medals to come to my attention is that struck in 1730 for J.P. Winterbach, Burgermeister of Rothenburg and his wife, Sophia M. Schilling.1 The first British medal known to me most closely related to our subject is that of the fortieth wedding anniversary of Peter Mullman and Mary Chiswell in 1774.2 Sir Edward Thomason, the great English medal manufacturer, talks of a medal ordered by Robert Gilmor of Baltimore, the dies of which were finished in February, 1822, "to commemorate that his father and mother had lived in the marriage state in perfect harmony 50 years." According to Thomason, "a large number, consisting of gold, silver and bronzed, were struck off agreeable to Mr. Robert Gilmor's order, and the whole highly approved."3

The two medals to be discussed have the distinction of being amongst the first medals struck for a purely Canadian subject. Earlier British and French medals commemorating military conquests, and those awarded to the Indians as tokens of allegiance to either crown, are considered as representative of their respective nations.

In the case of the first medal, that of Powell/Murray, 4 it goes unchallenged as the first for Upper Canada. The Quebec Fishing Club medal,5 according to Norman Willis bears "the earliest date, 1825, on a medal assumed to be of wholly Canadian origin ..."6 In fact this is an error originating with Leroux, who while giving the proper date, 1826, in his text description, illustrated the piece with the date 1825. The mistake was repeated by Breton, through to Willis 80 years later. At the same time Willis rightly points out that the date on the medal probably represents the year in which the club was established, not necessarily the year of its issuance. Nevertheless, if we take the dates indicated on the medals, viz. that of Oct. 3, 1825 for the Powell medal, and July 1826 for the Quebec Fishing Club piece, the Powell clearly antedates the latter by a full nine months, and takes the place of honor as Canada's first medal. McLachlan's description of the medal is as follows: Obv. WILLIAM DUMMER POWELL AND ANNE MURRAY Exergue: INTERMARRIED/ 3RD OCTOBER/ 1775- The hand of a woman to the left and of a man to the right together clasping and holding a lighted torch over an altar. Rev. TO CELEBRATE/ THE/ FIFTIETH/ ANNIVERSARY/ UPPER Canada/ 3RD OCTOBER 1825- The whole within a circle of true lover's knots. Size 39 mm.7

The weight of the silver specimen (fig. 1) is 22.81 g and the thickness of the edge is 3 mm; the copper piece (fig. 2) weighs 31.51 g, the edge thickness being 4 mm. The unique gold medal (fig. 3) weighs 38.72 g including the loop attachments; the thickness is the same as the silver medal, 3 mm. The clasped hand theme is a common one for marriage medals from at least as early as the midseventeenth century.


William Dummer Powell and Anne Murray 8 were married in Boston in 1775 after what appears to have been a very short courtship. The wedding took place without parental consent. Opposed to the revolutionary party, William decided to leave North America, sailing for England with Anne soon after the marriage. They lived variously in Norfolk, London and Norwich while William studied law in London. By 1779, unable to afford the fees for his formal call to the bar, he departed for Quebec on the recommendation of William Grant, former attorney general of Quebec, a relative of Powell's mother. However, Powell was not well received. The Governor, Sir Frederick Haldimand, had an aversion to Americans, and considered all, even loyalists, to be tainted. To make matters worse for Powell, he considered lawyers contemptible. It was therefore recommended to Powell by the then attorney general, James Monk, 9 and a brother-in-law to be, Isaac Winslow Clarke, the deputy commissary general, that he quit the capital and set up private practice in Montreal. This suggestion he immediately seized upon and his practice soon developed into a highly successful one, enabling him to acquire a house on Mount Royal for his wife and three sons whom he had brought out from England. His first and most famous case was the defence of Pierre du Calvet charged with libelling two of the judges of the Court of Common Pleas. Powell had been advised not to take the case, advice he chose to ignore. He triumphed in the matter, but it was an unpopular victory and with it he earned for himself the enmity of several of the ruling class. There soon after were accusations concerning his loyalty, suspicions that were renewed by his enemies time and again throughout his life.

In 1789, Powell was appointed first judge of common pleas at Detroit, a position he occupied not without severe problems as well as a couple of lengthy leaves of absence, for about five years. At this time, Detroit and Michilimackinac were controlled by Britain and were under the jurisdiction of the District of Montreal. As important fur trade centers, it had proven a great inconvenience that no courts closer than Montreal could handle the quantity of litigation that would naturally occur in the course of the complicated trade. Powell had either represented or opposed many of the prime movers in the trade, such Montreal merchant outfitters as McTavish, Frobisher, Gregory, Richardson, and McGill. 10

The Constitutional Act of 1791 had divided the province of Quebec into the two provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. The former's capital was at Newark,11 Niagara, and the first administrator of the province was Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe. Powell had hoped that on the formation of a new province he would be elected its first Chief Justice, but was passed over for the less experienced William Osgoode. In October 1794, his tenure at Detroit having ended, he removed to Niagara. The position of Chief Justice would further elude him under successive Lieutenant-Governors, Peter Russell and Peter Hunter, and it was not until well toward the end of the administration of Francis Gore that he gained the office he had long felt entitled to.12

Alfred Sandham is the first to record the Powell medal. In 1869, he states, "...during a visit to England, in 1825, he (Powell) caused dies to be prepared, and these medals were struck for circulation among his personal friends. They were in gold, silver, and copper, and the number struck was about 60 in all. We have never met with a copy, and are indebted to Mr. Groh of New York City for a rubbing, from which we take the description."13 McLachlan, who by 1886 had not seen a specimen of the medal, agreed with Sandham's estimate of about 60 medals having been struck, and places it "as of the highest degree of rarity, although it has appeared in sales rather frequently."14 He knew of but two in Canada, one in the Government Collection at Ottawa (now National Archives) and the other in a private Montreal collection, likely that of Gerald Hart. 15

The medals that were reported to Sandham and McLachlan were likely copper examples as it is only very much later that silver pieces become recorded. Fifteen of the copper medals and four silver specimens have been accounted for. The first silver Powell medal to come to my attention had been acquired by John Ford from the Brand estate. That medal, along with a Sutherland silver was exchanged by Ford to Doug Ferguson around 1964.16 Another piece had been acquired by a private collector in Ontario in 1954 from the Montreal dealer, Jules Mero.17 A third silver medal, as well as a specimen in copper had been secured in England by Bill Barrett around 1983.18 The last of the four silver medals known to me was only recently discovered. Appropriately, it was acquired from a Powell descendent by an indefatigable acquisitor by the name of Hugh MacMillan. Other copper medals are reported to be in the hands of family members, cherished mementos of an illustrious family. The unique gold medal for Anne Murray surfaced in Toronto only four years ago. It was purchased from a collector who had acquired it from a local Toronto coin dealer. The medal had, previous to that, belonged to a descendent who, quite properly, had the given name William Dummer Powell.19 As late as the 1970s, he was said to have been seen scuba diving in Boca Raton, Florida, sporting the medal suspended from a chain around his neck.20

When the Powell/Murray medals were actually struck and distributed will probably never be known with certainty, but in order to arrive at a likely approximation it is necessary to trace William's movements from sometime before the anniversary, as well as for the period shortly after the event.

Powell had been hurt and angered as a result of having been replaced as commissioner to England in the matter of settling the division of customs duties between Upper and Lower Canada. His replacement was John Beverley Robinson, the attorney general, a man Powell considered his prot�g�. In need of a rest, Powell indicated his intention of going to Bermuda. Instead, around January 21, 1822, he left for England, via New York City. He would, at the same time, try to obtain a sum he considered long due him from the government.21

The thought of a medal for his beloved Anne for their approaching fiftieth anniversary could have been on William's mind when in London in 1822. The Gilmor medal had been struck earlier that year and could possibly have come to his attention if he had made inquiries about having one made. On April 20 of that year he writes (from London) that he would "even coin myself into Gold if I could thereby afford you a single Hour of perfect Satisfaction. Mine and my highest is the grateful remembrance of your past kindness and the delightful hope of still experiencing in your affection the only solid Comfort I have ever known. God bless and preserve you all."22

But if Powell at that time had contemplated a medal, the thought must soon have been abandoned, for two days later occurred one of the great tragedies in the Powells' lives. Their daughter, Anne, had had an infatuation with John Beverley Robinson. Robinson had travelled to England after the War of 1812 in order to further his legal training. Anne had succeeded in convincing her father that she should accompany him to England and arrived a few months after Robinson, only to find that he had become engaged to a lady named Emma Walker. Robinson family legend has it that Anne continued her pursuit of Robinson in a most obsessive fashion. Nevertheless, five years after his marriage to Emma Walker, Robinson made the mistake of casually inviting Anne to travel with him and his wife to England.23 This was very much against his wife's and Anne's family's wishes. Anne's family, anticipating her eagerness to join the couple, virtually incarcerated her, but she escaped from her home, arriving in New York City with plans to set sail for England. Her uncle, George Murray, arranged for her to sail on the Albion, a ship carrying other female passengers. The ship was caught in a violent storm, and after taking on water for several days, was wrecked off the coast of Ireland. Anne was drowned in full sight of horrified spectators on the shore. Her death absolutely devastated the Powells.

Powell returned home to York after making the final arrangements for his daughter, Anne, who was buried in the churchyard of Templetrine. In London, he had stayed with his brother-in-law, Charles Murray, and an active exchange of letters was carried on after Powell's return to York. 24 Murray may well have been helpful in procuring the medals for the couple's anniversary. Seventeen years later, no doubt influenced by the medal for their aunt and uncle, the children of Charles and Elizabeth Murray had struck a medal to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of their parent's marriage.25 The medal's design, however, is entirely different, and the sentiment is a family one, rather than a personal one as exhibited on the Powell medal. The description of the medal is as follows: Obv. SOLE DEO GLORIA above a closed wreath. Between: PRESENTED/ 9 NOV. 1842/ TO/ CHARLES & ELIZABETH/ MURRAY/ WHO WERE MARRIED/ 9 NOV. 1792. Rev. A/ TRIBUTE/ OF DUTY AND LOVE/ FROM/ TEN CHILDREN/ TO THEIR/ PARENTS/ ON THE/ FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY/ OF THEIR/ HAPPY MARRIAGE. Around, from top: CHARLES ELIZABETH JAMES THOMAS MARIAN JOHN GEORGE EDWARD CATHERINE WILLIAM. AR (fig. 4). Size 41 mm.


One would have expected the Powell/Murray anniversary to have been the social event of the year, attended by members of the Family Compact as well as friends and relatives from afar. The occasion is virtually never mentioned.26 In fact, this was a very unhappy period of their lives. Powell's earlier discontent over not having been named commissioner to England had escalated into open rancor. He offended other members of the Executive Council with the publication of two pamphlets in late 1824 which assailed the Governor, Sir Peregrine Maitland, and addressed the slight he had felt in the case of John Beverley Robinson. The material that he used for these attacks was of a private nature, being personal correspondence. This sounded the end of a long and brilliant career for Powell. He sat as Chief Justice and Speaker for the last time on July 2, 1825, and was obliged to resign from the Executive Council in September, being replaced by William Campbell as both speaker and Chief Justice on October 24, 1825, a mere three weeks after the golden wedding anniversary.

The only reference found concerning the celebration, if such it can be called, comes in a very subdued letter to his brother-in-law, George Murray of New York City, written on October 8, from Montreal. Powell had left York for Montreal the day after the anniversary: "... your Sister wears well and supports the Change [Powell's retirement] without complaint & I believe feels no regret but the diminished power of rendering service. We celebrated, without even Cake or Wine the fiftieth Anniversary of our wedding day the 3rd inst but tho the feast was wanting at the table, the Heart felt nothing wanting"27 This hardly smacks of a gala where copper and silver medals, and a special one-of-a-kind gold jewel for Anne, were being cheerfully distributed.


The Sutherland/Robertson medal,28 dated September 1, 1831, ranks as the second for the Lower Canadian province, after that of the Quebec Fishing Club. The medal of the Quebec Literary and Historical Society, though dated 1831, simply signals the date that the society was incorporated, and not the date of even the first of its medal awards.29 The design of the Sutherland medal is similar, though not identical to that of the Powell. On the obverse, the base of the tablet is squared, whereas it is angular on the Powell medal. The lover's knots on the reverse are somewhat more delicately com- posed in the case of the Sutherland piece, but the execution and relief of the Powell medal is superior to the Sutherland. This suggests that the Sutherland medal was not engraved by the same artist nor struck by the same firm.30

The description of the medal, again taken from McLachlan: Obv. DANIEL SUTHERLAND AND MARGARET ROBERTSON. exergue: INTERMARRIED/ 1ST SEPTEMBER/ 1781. Hands clasping torch over altar as in last. Rev. TO COMMEMORATE/ THE/ FIFTIETH/ ANNIVERSARY/ QUEBEC/ 1ST SEPTEMBER/ 1831 within a circle of true-lover's knots as on last. Size 39 mm.31 The weight of the silver medal (fig. 5) is 25.87 g and its thickness is 2.2 mm; the copper (fig. 6) weighs 27.86 g, being of a thickness of 3 mm. The lead piece (fig. 7) is a die splash of the obverse.


Daniel Sutherland was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1756 and was in the Province of Quebec at least as early as April 1778. That year he entered into the business of the fur trade as a merchant outfitter with John Porteous of Montreal. By 1781, the partnership with Porteous having been dissolved, he signed an agreement with James Grant. Later that year, he married Margaret Robertson, a daughter of Captain Daniel Robertson, commander of the post of Michilimackinac from 1782-87.32

A letter from Sutherland to Powell suggests a warm friendship existed between the two couples, and it is apparent that Sutherland had one of the Powell/Murray medals. Dated from Quebec, the August 17, 1831, he writes: My Dear Sir As the 1st of September is fast approaching, & is the fiftieth anniversary of our marriage, I wished to surprise Mrs. S. on that occasion with a gold medal, but cannot find any workmen here capable of striking one; may I therefore request the favor of your informing me where yours were made? Have the goodness to remember me most cordially to Mrs. Powell in which Mrs. Hallowell begs leave to join, as also to Mr. & Mrs. Jarvis & Miss Powell. Mrs. Sutherland is still absent, but expected to-morrow.

A postscript on the back states: Have the goodness to say what the die & each of the bronze & silver medals cost you, that I may provide according'y, whether in London, or the United States. Excuse this liberty & oblige D.S.33

Alas, the letter responding to this question, if indeed there was an answer, is not extant or has yet to be located. This may be due to the fact that the Sutherland family papers, in contrast to those of the Powell family, are unlocated, perhaps yet with descendants, or destroyed.

Doubtless, the Sutherland/Robertson medal could not have been struck in time for the celebration. Assuming Powell was to write Sutherland with the information by return mail, the answer could have arrived no earlier in Quebec than the first couple of days of September. The letter would have probably been sent overland to New York City on one of the fast sailing packets which would arrive in London in about a month. Clearly, the medals could not have arrived in Quebec before the end of May or beginning of June the following year. Let us hope they arrived by then, for two months later, on August 19, 1832, Sutherland became another victim of the cholera epidemic which had been particularly devastating in Quebec and Montreal that year. Had there been a delay in the striking of the medals, or in shipping them out, it is entirely possible that Sutherland never saw them. Margaret Robertson eventually must have received her gold medal. The discovery of an inventory of her estate, found by McLachlan in the files of John Griffin, the notary, an early associate of Daniel Sutherland, is of great interest: "One Gold Medal, value 40 Shillings." McLachlan states, "at the rate of 5 shillings currency to the dollar, this would give its estimated value as $8.00, which taking the size of the medal into consideration, being larger than a $20 gold piece, would indicate that it was only plated or that the appraisers did not know its value."34 The assessment was under the heading of "Trinkets," so little thought was given to the medal, but it is probable that the medal valued at 40 shillings was the Sutherland/Robertson commemorative.

The Sutherland medal was apparently unknown to Sandham and is first described by McLachlan who took his description from a specimen in the collection of the Quebec numismatist, Cyrille Tessier, apparently a descendent of the couple.35 It is rarer than the Powell medal although the celebration, in contrast to that of the Powells', appears to have been joyous and well attended. The event also received appropriate attention in the press which recorded the celebration: On Thursday evening last an elegant entertainment was given by Mr. and Mrs. Sutherland at their house on St. Ursule St. in celebration of their 50th anniversary of their wedding day. About 200 persons were present. It was gratifying to see the hospitable host and hostess appear in excellent health and spirits. F�tes in commemoration of the grand jubilee of the day of marriage cannot be of every day occurrence, and when they do happen, it is still more rare to find both parties able to endure, much less to promote with so much hilarity, the festivities of an evening party in the manner which was done on the occasion we record.36

The quantity of medals struck would likely coincide with the size of the respective families. The Powells' family far exceeded that of the Sutherlands'. The medals, which were unquestionably not given at the celebrations, were likely presented to family members only, with perhaps the occasional one to a close friend.37 Based on the known medals, and the fact that Sutherland pieces appear to be much scarcer than those for the Powell anniversary, it is my opi- nion that silver medals were given to the children, while sisters, brothers, grandchildren, etc. would have been offered copper ones. The Powells had five surviving children, and about ten grandchildren as well as several brothers and sisters each. The Sutherlands had three children, and Daniel had two sisters; his wife, Margaret Robertson, had two sisters and a brother. This would suggest that there were five silver medals for the Powell children, of which four are located today, and a goodly number of copper examples for the large Powell/Murray family.38 The Sutherlands would have had three silver medals struck of which two are known today; the copper specimens were, due to the small size of the family, probably struck in a very limited quantity, accounting for its scarcity today.39 The gold medal is as yet unlocated, a challenge for some enterprising numismatist.

When did Powell and Sutherland meet and develop what would be a lifetime friendship? The precise date is not known, but it would likely have been around 1787 when Powell represented many of the more important fur trade interests in Montreal. Sutherland was in Detroit in 1791 and would no doubt have come into contact with Powell. His father-in-law, Daniel Robertson, as commander at Michilimackinac would certainly have been well known to Powell when judge at Detroit. By 1790, Sutherland was offered a share in the North West Company, but in 1795, suffering financial problems, he sold his interest back. Three years later, he became involved in a new firm, the New North West Company, sometimes styled the XY Company, probably to differentiate the bale markings XY from those of the NW Company. In 1806, two years after the amalgamation of the old and new company, he retired from the fur trade. In 1807, he was appointed postmaster of Montreal, and in 1816, moving to Quebec, succeeded George Heriot as deputy postmaster general of British North America. In 1827 he retired from the Post Office, his son-in-law, Thomas Allen Stayner succeeding him as the new deputy postmaster general.40

Many years later that friendship, now between the two couples, was firmly established. Powell had visited the Sutherlands shortly after his anniversary, on his trip to Montreal. Anne writes William (in Montreal) from York on October 27, 1825: "I hope you will assure the Sutherlands and other friends (if there are any) of my regards."41 Another letter, from William to Anne on November 1, 1825, likely in response to hers of the 27th, states: "... Sutherland and his family, the Coffins and their connections, and the Taylors are warm in their expressions of grateful remembrance of your virtues and kindness to them ..."42

The issue of where the Powell/Murray and Sutherland/Robertson medals were struck is yet another question that may never be absolutely proven. There is no evidence that any medals were struck in Canada until the 1830s.43 In the case of the Sutherland/Robertson medal, there having been such a rush, it is likely that a manufacturer in the United States was sought in order to expedite the production of the medal.44 But the superior Powell medal could have only been produced in England, and it is likely that it came from the Thomason manufactory. In his memoirs Sir Edward Thomason makes the following rather bold statement: His Royal Highness the Duke of Saxe Weimar, in 1825 and 1826, travelled through the United States, and I understood he was present at the completion of the Grand Canal, uniting the Erie with the Atlantic. The American Government employed their best artist in medal engraving to engrave a pair of medal dies (of small size, about one inch and a quarter in diameter) to commemorate this important undertaking, which was accomplished towards the end of the year 1825. The Duke, on his return, landed at Liverpool, and called upon me as he passed through Birmingham, and was so obliging as to present me with one of the American medals. His Royal Highness was well aware of the inferiority of the workmanship, both as to the execution of the dies and the making of the medal; but it was the best their artist could do. As so important an event was worth recording upon a medal, I had a pair of dies engraved, about four times the size, by one of my first artists, the allegory of the medal being exactly a facsimile of theirs. On the Obverse was a River God encouraging Neptune for a time, whilst he conducted him to the River Erie, the Legend, "Union of Erie with the Atlantic." On the Reverse was the Eagle standing upon, and in the attitude of protecting one-half of the Globe. A ship at a distance— an escutcheon with the sun rising out of the water, and in a garter the word EXCELSIOR. The Legend "Erie Canal, commenced 4th July, 1817, completed 26th October, 1825." The Americans were delighted with this production, and seemed to acknowledge, without jealousy, the vast distinction between English and American artists.45

Clearly, Thomason was seeking an entry into the North American market, boasting that his product was far superior to anything in the United States. Canada would certainly be a prime marketplace, there being no facilities for the striking of medals. It is possible that Powell had been aware of a medal for a fellow North American in 1822, and had one ordered on his return to England in 1826 while awaiting Anne who was to make the sacrifice of leaving her children behind to follow William later in the year. A gold medal would have been a deserving reward.

The friendship between the two couples likely dates from before Canada was divided in 1791 when it incorporated the vast area called the Indian Territories, from the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi, northward to the southern boundary of the Hudson's Bay Company lands. It is fitting that two of Canada's earliest medals commemorate two of its important families, in both government and mercantile affairs, and represent the capitals of both the Upper and Lower Canadian provinces.

End Notes

1 Spink and Sons (London), Feb. 27, 1980, 87. The first 284 lots of this sale feature "A Collection of Commemorative Medals Relating to Love and Marriage." I have not gone beyond this in seeking examples of early medals. My purpose is simply to approximate the period when such medals commenced, and the medal cited was the earliest offered in that sale.
2 Laurence Brown, A Catalogue of British Historical Medals 1760-1960, vol. 1 (London, 1980). Only one medal relating to a fiftieth wedding anniversary is listed by Brown. It was for Henry William Atkinson and his wife Susanna's anniversary in 1830. There are others, but the volume is selective, and only medals relating to personages of note are recognized.
3 Sir Edward Thomason, Sir Edward Thomason's Memoirs During Half a Century, vol. 1 (London, 1845), pp. 200-201. I recently secured one of these medals in bronze. This is Robert Gilmor, the American numismatist.
4 The medal is first illustrated in Joseph Leroux, Le Medaillier du Canada (Montreal, 1888), no. 730; P.N. Breton, Histoire illustr�e des monnaies du Canada (Montreal, 1894), no. 183.
5 Leroux 635, Breton 180. Not known to R.W. McLachlan, Canadian Numismatics (Montreal, 1886); Norman M. Willis, "Medal-Making in Canada. The Beginnings To the 1920s," C.F. Gilboy, ed., Aspects of the Numismatics of North America (Regina, 1986).
6 This does not include the maritime provinces which were part of British North America, but were not part of Canada until the Confederation of 1867. Two maritime medals actually pre-date the Canadian pieces. One is an Nova Scotian agricultural medal issued in the 1790s; the other is the Halifax National School medal, instituted about 1817.
7 McLachlan (above, n. 5), p. 69, no. 280.
8 For biographical information on William Dummer Powell, see Dictionary of Canadian Biography, s.v. Powell (S.R. Mealing, former Prof. of History, Carleton University). Anne Murray's biography was prepared by Edith Firth, former head, Canadian History Department, Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library. A paper of great interest is Katherine McKenna, "Anne Powell and the Early York �lite." Another important work used was The Life of William Dummer Powell First Chief Judge at Detroit and Fifth Chief Justice of Upper Canada (Lansing, MI, 1924). There is a great deal of manuscript material at the Metropolitan Toronto Library and the National Archives of Canada, Ottawa.
9 Sir James Monk, another Boston born lawyer, became associated with Powell, but the association became bitter by 1794, Monk having forced the sale of Powell's residence for debt, purchasing it himself. The affair was not settled until 1848, 12 years after Powell's death, and 22 after Monk's.
10 A letter in my collection showing Powell's early involvement with fur traders is dated May 31, 1787, and concerns a transaction of some importance involving John Richardson, George & Thomas Forsyth, Phynn & Ellice, and Leith & Shepherd. R.W. McLachlan, Two Canadian Golden Wedding Medals (Montreal, 1901), also refers to connections between Powell and some of the above fur traders.
11 Newark was the capital from 1792 until 1796, when it was changed to York (present day Toronto).
12 Powell was appointed Chief Justice on Oct. 1, 1816, only eight months before Gore's departure.
13 Alfred Sandham, Coins, Tokens and Medals of the Dominion of Canada (Montreal, 1869), p. 68.
14 (above, n. 5), p. 69, "Two of them were sold at different times in Philadelphia, the latter of which was at the second Mickley Sale and brought $12.50. Two were shown at one of the meetings of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York City. Major Nichols of Springfield, Mass., has two in his collection, Mr. Frossard of Irvington, N.Y. had one for sale..."
15 Not, however, in the Hart sales of 1888 or 1889, but offered as lot 405 in his sale of Apr. 13, 1895, catalogued by Scott.
16 Communication to me by both John Ford and Doug Ferguson about 1975. The Ferguson collection of Canadian medals was the finest ever formed, and was sold to the Glenbow Institute about 25 years ago.
17 The collector was Dr. G.G. Suffel of London, Ontario. I purchased it from him in September 1974.
18 Acquired by Warren Baker.
19 William Dummer Powell Jarvis.
20 Recounted to Hugh MacMillan by a Powell descendent.
21 This concerned a sum of £500 that Powell claimed was due him, retroactive from 1797 to 1799, when the salaries of the puisne justices had been raised from £500 to £750 per annum. It was Powell who had sought the raise, but Allcock, the other puisne justice, received it according to Powell.
22 Letter in the Metropolitan Toronto Library. I thank Katherine McKenna for bringing it to my attention.
23 Katherine M. J McKenna, "Options For �lite Women in Early Upper Canadian Society; The Case of the Powell Family," J.K. Johnson and Bruce G. Wilson, eds., Historical Essays on Upper Canada. New Perspectives (Ottawa, 1989), p. 415. Robinson family tradition has it that Anne had attempted to accompany the couple uninvited.
24 Some of these letters are at the National Archives, Ottawa.
25 An "Ode on Presenting the Above Medal" was printed, and likely distributed with the medals. Charles Murray died in 1847, survived by his wife of 55 years. Robert Powell kindly sent me a copy of an interesting Memoir of Charles Murray, offprinted from the Gentlemen's Magazine, May 1847. It is a matter of some interest that another descendent, Paulus Aemilius Irving, no doubt aware of the Powell medal, contemplated having one struck for his twenty-fifth anniversary in 1908.
26 A few of the Powell letters refer to the upcoming anniversary. One, from William to Anne, dated September 4, 1825, refers to "an affectionate Commerce of Half a Century." Metropolitan Toronto Library, communicated to me by Katherine McKenna (letter, Oct. 4, 1992).
27 Powell Papers, National Archives, Ottawa. Communicated to me by Katherine McKenna, Oct. 4, 1992.
28 The medal is first illustrated in Leroux (above, n. 4), no. 650; Breton (above, n. 5), no. 182.
29 It is the oldest historical society in Canada, having been founded in 1824. It appears that the medals were being contemplated in 1838, and ordered the following year The records of the Society are incomplete as a result of fires in the nineteenth century.
30 This is a reversal of what I had originally stated. It became apparent to me shortly after this paper was presented that the medals showed sufficient differences in weight, fabric, and, most importantly workmanship. Also, the stock design and letter punches would probably still be in the hands of the original firm responsible for the Powell medal. I subsequently sent the medals to Michael Hodder who stated the same view.
31 McLachlan (above, n. 5), p. 47, no. 182.
32 DCB, s.v. Sutherland, Daniel (Myron Momryk, Archivist, National Archives of Canada); Dr. Harry Duckworth kindly sent me his biographical notes on Daniel Sutherland for which I am most appreciative. Pierre-Louis Lapointe was helpful in supplying me with a copy of Sutherland's will which showed that Sutherland had two surviving sisters, presumably in Canada.
33 McLachlan, Wedding Medals (above, n. 10), pp. 9-10. The letter was discovered by McLachlan amongst the Powell Papers, presumably the Toronto resource.
34 R. W. McLachlan, "The Sutherland Golden Wedding Medal," The Numismatist 32 (1919), pp. 106-7.
35 McLachlan (above, n. 5), p. 47, no. 182.
36 Quebec Mercury, September 6, 1831.
37 Daniel Sutherland was either given or lent a medal
38 I know of 14 examples of the copper medal; McLachlan (above, n. 10) knew of 6 specimens. There are, no doubt, other examples with Powell descendants.
39 Five specimens only are known to me. As with the Powell medals, others may be with descendants, or in collections unknown to me.
40 See above, n. 32.
41 Powell Papers, Metropolitan Toronto Library.
42 See above, n. 41. Katherine McKenna brought this letter to my attention.
43 There were three engravers in Montreal who sign their names to medals, but it is doubtful that all had the necessary apparatus to strike them.
44 C.C. Wright is the most likely possibility. McLachlan felt very strongly that the medals were products of either Birmingham or London, and this cannot be discounted.
45 Thomason (above, n. 3), p. 292.

The So-Called English Issues of the Bank of Montreal

J. Graham Esler

Coinage of the Americas Conference at the American Numismatic Society, New York City

November 7, 1992

� The American Numismatic Society, 1994

The discussion of Canadian numismatics in a historical context can engender some discomfort. First, Canada does not have a long numismatic history and then, when a national currency did appear, it had very little relationship to the monetary difficulties of earlier times. It does not reflect the struggles and the problems with which the average person, whether consumer, shop-keeper or manufacturer, had to contend in carrying out his daily activity. However, there is an area of Canadian numismatics which does reflect these difficulties, that is paper money and the institutions which issued it. Until the eve of Confederation, paper money was issued and circulated by the various banks which operated under provincial charters. Some of these were founded to satisfy a real economic need; some because business interests in a given district felt that they were not being treated fairly by the existing banks; and still others as a matter of civic pride.

One of the puzzles in the Canadian bank note field is the so-called "English Issues" of the 1850s of the Bank of Montreal. Discussion of this topic requires consideration of the Bank of Montreal itself, some of the principles by which Canadian banks functioned, and then the notes themselves.1

The Bank of Montreal, founded in 1817, was for over 100 years the dominant bank in Canada, although from time to time it was forced to share some of its prominence with other institutions such as the Bank of British North America.

The bank was founded as the Montreal Bank and opened on November 27, 1817. The directors authorized the opening of an agency in Quebec on December 17, 1817. The opening of agencies in Upper Canada soon followed: Kingston and York (Toronto) in 1818, Queenston and Amherstburg in 1819 and Perth in 1820. In 1822, the directors of the Montreal Bank received a charter from the Legislature of Lower Canada to operate under the name The Bank of Montreal.

In 1824 the Legislature of Upper Canada, influenced by its own supporters and by local business interests which had favored the opening of The Bank of Upper Canada, York in 1821, enacted legislation prohibiting banking operations in the province unless the head office of the bank was also located in the province. As a result of this legislation the Bank of Montreal closed its agencies in Upper Canada.

During the next 15 years the Bank of Montreal conducted its affairs in a steady, if unspectacular manner. It took over the business of the faltering Bank of Canada, another Montreal based bank which found itself in difficulty. Surviving the depression of 1837-38 and the Rebellions of the same years, the bank again cast its eyes toward the business market of Upper Canada. This time in 1840, to comply with the provincial legislation, it purchased the Bank of the People which had its head office in Toronto.

In 1841, the political situation changed. The Rebellions of 1837-38 in both Upper and Lower Canada had their roots in the conflict between political elite who wanted to retain their aristocratic privilege and reformers who wanted a representative government. The rebellions were put down but as a consequence, the two Canadas were united to form the Province of Canada, with first Kingston, then Montreal as its capital. Lower Canada was designated Canada East and Upper Canada, Canada West.

With the new political arrangement the banks, in theory, could operate anywhere in the province. In reality, however, the Bank of Montreal still did not have the authority to open branches or agencies in Canada West until the proclamation of the Currency and Banking Acts in April 1842. Within a week of the passing of the Bank Act, the Bank of Montreal closed the Bank of the People and operated a branch in its own name out of the premises of the Bank of the People.

The Bank of Montreal reorganized to meet the new challenge. The province was divided into three districts with the head office in Montreal and district or branch offices in Quebec and Toronto. Each branch office had its own president and board of directors with the authority to conduct business, such as establishing agencies in its area, subject to the right of veto, at all times, by the Board of Directors in Montreal. The bank notes issued by the district offices were to be signed by the branch president and the cashier (manager) and were to be redeemable in specie at that branch. By the fall of 1842 the reorganization was complete.

The Bank of Montreal also served as the Government's bank. In reality, this meant the bank held the Government's accounts, advanced the Government funds to carry out its obligations, and accordingly enjoyed the major share of the public works business.

In 1849, a bill was introduced in the Legislature to recompense citizens who had suffered losses in the Rebellions. Many of the leaders of the Rebellions were now sitting as members of the Legislature, as were their former opponents. Since the rebels had suffered most of the losses, the loyalists felt and argued that under the terms of the bill the rebels would be rewarded for their treason. Feelings on both sides ran high. The bill passed and when the Governor-General, Lord Elgin (of the Elgin Marbles fame) signed, giving Royal assent to the Rebellion Losses Bill, rioting broke out in the streets of Montreal, led by the loyalist(?) middle class element who resented their tax money being spent in this manner. On April 25, 1849, the Parliament House in Montreal was burned to the ground. The Government then moved to Toronto.

It is commonly believed that, when the Government moved from Montreal to Toronto, the Bank of Montreal lost its position as the Government's bank to the Bank of Upper Canada. This is simply not the case. Bank management was becoming more concerned about the Government's methods of financing its obligations. The Government approached both the Bank of Montreal and the Bank of British North America and when both respectfully declined, then turned to the Bank of Upper Canada which became the Government's bank from January 8, 1850 to December 31, 1863.

The provincial Government found itself in constant need of more and more revenue to finance its commitments. As early as 1848, Francis Hincks, the Inspector General, in effect the Minister of Finance, realized that issuing its own notes was a most effective way of increasing government revenue. The chartered banks who had the sole responsibility for issuing notes under the terms of their charters bitterly opposed what they perceived to be government intrusion into their traditional domain. So in 1866 when Alexander Galt, the current Minister of Finance, again proposed that, in return for certain government concessions, the banks suspend their own note issues and act as fiscal agents for the Government, only E.H. King, general manager of the Bank of Montreal agreed. The Government's offer was not restricted but in reality there were only four banks with branch networks capable of carrying out note distribution throughout the entire province.

The Commercial Bank of Canada and the Bank of Upper Canada had their own financial problems as a result of railroad speculation, the collapse of land values, and the depression of 1857-58. The last thing in the world these institutions desired was surrendering a sure source of revenue, or closer government scrutiny of their affairs. The Bank of British North America, with its Board of Directors in England, was not really interested in resolving Canadian political difficulties. The Bank of Montreal suspended its own note issue in 1866. This arrangement remained, even after Confederation, until 1871 when the Ministry of Finance assumed responsibility for the new Dominion's note issues.

The management of the Bank of Montreal has been praised for its farsightedness in accepting the government proposal. Indeed the close association between the bank and the Government continued long after the formal dissolution of the agreement in 1871. The Bank of Montreal continued to serve as the Dominion Government's Bank in both domestic and foreign fiscal matters until the formation of the Bank of Canada in 1934.

The development of banks and banking in Canada followed quite a different path from that in United States. In the United States banks sprang up in communities as individual, independent, local enterprises. In Canada, banking followed the branch bank system. One of the enduring myths in Canadian numismatics is that branch banking in Canada was borrowed from the Scottish system. The Bank of British North America basically followed Scottish banking practices and is generally credited with introducing branch banking into Canada. However, as the Bank of British North America did not operate in Canada until 1837 and, as the Bank of Montreal operated a series of branches from 1818 and, as the Bank of Upper Canada by its charter of 1819 was required to open and operate branches, let us hope that this myth will be finally laid to rest and that credit for pioneering branch banking be given, where it properly belongs, to the Bank of Montreal. It is difficult to quarrel with Merrill Dennison, the author of the History of the Bank of Montreal who states, "branch banking [in Canada] owed as much to the exigencies of geography and politics as to the assimilation of systems elsewhere."

This branch bank system with a head office and branches or agencies in other areas meant that any branch or agency which found itself in difficulty could draw on the resources of the whole bank rather than be forced to face a crisis on its own. One might also argue that the public was better protected by use of internal auditors sent by a head office of a bank which had a financial stake in the operation of the branches than by state examiners who were public servants.

In addition to the city where the bank was domiciled, many bank notes also had the name of the branch stamped or engraved on them. This practice had its roots in a fundamental economic principle that every nineteenth or early twentieth century Canadian banker knew, but many of us may have forgotten. Bank notes were not money, only gold and silver were. Canadian bank notes were, in essence, bearer promissory notes convertible to specie on demand. The notes stated clearly "will pay" or "promise to pay the bearer on demand." The purpose of an overprint was not to limit the circulation of a note to a particular area, although this was often the effect, but rather to restrict its convertibility. Until 1890, a bank was required to redeem its notes only at the head office or at the branch indicated on the note. This measure was designed to prevent other banks from amassing quantities of notes, and then presenting them at a small branch which might not have sufficient specie on hand to redeem all notes, thereby causing a "run" on the bank.

After the reorganization of 1842, the Bank of Montreal used two distinct sets of notes—one for Canada East which was subdivided into Montreal and Quebec issues, and the other, with a completely different design, for Canada West and issued from Toronto.


On the notes dated 1849, the partially engraved date was replaced by the fully engraved date—January 1, 1849, on the Canada East issues and May 1, 1849, on the Canada West issues (fig. 1).1 Both issues had red word protectors and space was provided for the signatures of two signing officers. The Canada East issues have the imprint Rawdon, Wright and Hatch, New York City, but the Canada West issues have Rawdon, Wright, Hatch and Edson, New York City. Rawdon, Wright & Hatch had printed the earlier Canada East issues, whereas the printing of the Canada West issues had been shared by Rawdon, Wright & Hatch and by Danforth, Underwood & Co. or one of its other reincarnations.


We do not know whether the shift of the Government's accounts to the Bank of Upper Canada in 1850 had any bearing on the Bank of Montreal's decision to abandon its separate issues for Canada East and Canada West, and adopt a single issue for the entire Province. However, printer's face proofs on card stock exist for a radical, new issue of notes, with the same basic design for all denominations.

The serial number, the office, Toronto and the date, July 1, 1851, were added by letterpress (fig. 2).


These proofs form the basis for the issue of 1852, the so-called "English Issue" (fig. 3); an issue which conventional wisdom either ignored or dismissed as an issue withdrawn because of extensive counterfeiting.

As all researchers are aware, one of the most difficult problems to be faced is locating sufficient material on which to base a premise. This problem is particularly acute in dealing with bank notes given the fragile nature of the pieces, and it is further compounded if the notes are redeemable. Banks were very thorough in withdrawing older notes once a new issue was released, simply to avoid confusion, and in mid-nineteenth century Canada no one was putting aside redeemable notes as souvenirs.

Once the notes were grouped by region, it immediately became clear that the letter prefix established both the district and the denomination. The upper letters A, B, and C represented Montreal, Quebec and Toronto; the lower letter, the denomination from one dollar to ten dollars.

Table 1


1. Region

A = Montreal B = QUEBEC C = Toronto

2. Denomination

1.00 A,[B] A A,F
2.00 C [B] B,G
4.00 D [C] C
5.00 [E] D D,I,O,S
10.00 F E E,[K]

The Quebec office and the Toronto office had identical denomination letters, while the Montreal office set aside two letters A & B as designations for the one dollar denomination. No notes are known for the letters in brackets. However, the Montreal $5.00 A/E prefix is substantiated from a photographic counterfeit. It might appear that assigning the B prefix to the Montreal $1.00 note is simply a way of making the denomination letter scheme work. I realize that "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" reasoning is suspect but a proof sheet of the next issue clearly indicates that the $1.00 plate had two Montreal notes to one each for Quebec and Toronto (fig. 4). Examination of the notes themselves supports the proposed denomination letter code; the notes were also color coded to indicate the district: black-Montreal; blue-Quebec; red-Toronto.

The 5 digit numbering scheme could accommodate 100,000 notes of each denomination and when this total was reached, the denomination letter and the date were changed. As yet we have not been able to determine the quantity of notes issued for each branch within the 100,000 maximum for each denomination (fig. 5).

The basic design of all denominations was the same. The vignette in the upper left corner depicted the arms of the Bank of Montreal, flanked by a standing and a seated native. In the upper right corner was the counter but the vignettes varied with the denomination. In the lower left, the denomination in dollars was written in full, either with or without a numeral. The signature of the signing officer appeared on the lower right.


The name of the Bank, the pledge of redeemability and the values in shillings appear in the upper half of the note. The district office and the date, in the center, the serial numbers, and the branch offices at both ends of the note were added by letterpress. The Bank of Montreal also introduced its one signature notes with this issue.

It is generally believed that, faced with a serious counterfeiting threat, the Bank of Montreal withdrew the issue. However, I believe we should reassess the situation. It would appear that initially the counterfeiting involved only the one and two dollar notes (fig. 6).


As early as 1853 the Bank of Montreal was considering replacement of the one and two dollar denominations. An unissued note, with a blue back dated February 1, 1853, exists. It is generally grouped with the 1856-57 blue back issues but the prefix CO clearly links it with the 1852 series (fig. 7). This is not to say that other denominations were not counterfeited, only that they did not appear to constitute a major problem at this time (fig. 8).

Table 2


    Montreal   QUEBEC   Toronto
  A   B   C  
1.00 A JAN. 1, 1852 A JAN. 5, 1852 A JAN. 3, 1852
F JUNE 6, 1852
2.00 C MAR. 1, 1852 B B MAR. 5, 1852
G JULY 1, 1852
4.00 D APR. 1, 1852 C C FEB. 5, 1852
5.00 E MAY 1, 1852 D APR. 3, 1852 D APR. 5, 1852
(Ctft.) C
I SEPT. 1, 1852
O FEB. 1, 1853
S MAR. 1, 1853
10.00 F JUNE 1, 1852 E MAY 3, 1852 E MAY 5, 1852
K OCT. 1, 1852

Looking at the 1852 issue as a whole, it becomes quite apparent from the prefixes that there was only one issue of notes from Montreal and Quebec but that there were two issues of one and two dollar notes and three issues of five dollar notes from Toronto. No genuine issued notes are known with a C/I prefix. The C/S prefix is listed on the authority of the late Lindsey McLennan, an eminently qualified Canadian paper money pioneer. He records the note as being Toronto-Hamilton op Guelph and gives the number as C/S 17028.

I have some difficulty in accepting the authenticity of the listing in spite of the details, because it does not seem reasonable that a bank could issue 100,000 notes dated February 1, 1853, in the course of one month and then require a subsequent issue of $500,000 dated March 1, 1853, unless these issues were intended for use throughout the entire province.2 The C/K issue of the ten dollar note is known only from counterfeits.

One important part of this study which still remains is determining the number of notes issued for each branch within a given denomination letter but, at this time, we do not have enough material available to do this.

This is the issue that cataloguers have identified as the English Issue. I can find no reason or justification for doing so. In fact, it just does not make any sense. If one were determined to apply a label to this issue, surely the Uniform or Common Issue of 1852 would be preferable. Or better still simply The Issue of 1852.

The "blue back" issue, the next dated issue chronologically, was introduced in 1856. The initial date is August 1, 1856. In general the notes follow the same pattern as the 1852 issue. However, in this case the upper letter D denotes the entire district, Canada West, rather than the district office, Toronto.

Table 3

Canada WEST ISSUES, 1852-1857

C = Toronto (1852-1853) D = Canada WEST (1856-1857)
1.00 A,F A.F.K
2.00 B,G B,G
4.00 C H,M
5.00 D,I,O,S These denominations supplied by
10.00 E,[K] the 1852-1853 issues.

The one and two dollar notes were redesigned to increase their security. The quality of the engraving was improved; portraits were employed as vignettes, and a block of microprinting involving the denomination in words was added to the face of the note (fig. 9). The names of subsidiary branches were engraved on a separate plate and inserted on either side of the block of microprinting. Other significant characteristics of these notes are the large word denomination beside the lower left counter and the single signature. The backs were printed in blue. The most significant change was the replacement of the district office Toronto, with a series of area branch offices (fig. 10).


As before, when 100,000 notes were issued, the denomination letter and the date changed. The four dollar note retained its original design and upper letter designation (C), but the district office was replaced by an area branch office. The five and ten dollar notes of the 1852 issue remained in use.

The issue gives rise to some intriguing questions. Why are the notes all domiciled in Canada West? What was happening in Canada East? and perhaps the most fundamental of all: did the district offices continue to issue notes and if so, which notes?

The answer lies in a third issue of notes; an issue whose association with the 1850s has been either unappreciated or ignored—the issue of one and two dollar notes dated January 1, 1849, with a green word protector. The basic design reverted to the 1849 notes of Canada East, except for the word denomination at the lower left and the single signature at the lower right.

I thought it all worked out. The issue consisted of only one and two dollar notes and was issued from the three district offices; Montreal, Quebec and Toronto, while the Canada West notes were issued from the area branch offices (fig. 11).

However, closer examination of the notes themselves forced me to abandon this theory. First, it did not take into account the rare Canada West area branch offices on the green protector notes and second, all the Quebec notes were printed after May 1, 1858.


The 1849 issue with green protector was issued from the three district offices and two area branch offices—Cobourg and Hamilton (fig. 12). It may be divided conveniently into two parts: notes without the ABN logo and those with the logo. The notes with the logo can be dated after May 1, 1858, the official date of the founding of the American Bank Note Company. None of the Cobourg and Hamilton issues has the logo but, at the same time, all the Quebec notes do. Since the serial number on one note is 00010, it is extremely unlikely that there are Quebec issues without the logo. The Montreal and Toronto issues occur with and without the logo.


The starting date for the issue is the critical point. Does it predate the Canada West issue or does it follow it? I believe that the use of the green protector provides the answer. There is a two dollar note with a green protector in the 1852 issue. This is the note which provides the link between the 1852 issue and the 1849 green pro- tector notes. There is also a five dollar note of the same issue, with a green protector. This note comes near the end of the first 100,000 notes of the issue (fig. 13). These are the only two 1852 notes known with green protectors. I would argue that the 1849 green protector notes were issued between the 1852 and 1856 issues. It does not seem logical to issue the 1856 notes, follow them with the 1849 green protector issue and then reissue the discredited 1852 notes, even with a green protector.


The green protector notes were printed from plates prepared by Rawdon, Wright, Hatch and Edson, the foremost security printers of the day, and all had 5 digit serial numbers. When the Canada West issue, also consisting of one and two dollar notes and dated August 1, 1856, was introduced, the Bank withdrew the 1849 green protector notes with area branch office designations but continued to issue the notes from Toronto and Montreal. Notes from the Montreal office made up the bulk of the issue.

In Toronto issues, the change from no logo to logo notes occurred between 28000 and 31000 for the one dollar notes. The highest number recorded for a one dollar with the logo, i.e. after May 1, 1858, is 38188. There are no known two dollar notes with the logo. It would appear that the Canada West issues filled the need.

In the Montreal issues, the change from no logo to logo notes occurred between 71000 and 81000 for one dollar notes and somewhere between 2800 and 95000 for two dollar notes. However, unlike the Toronto issues the serial numbers in the Montreal one dollar series increased to 6 digits with the highest known number being 157163. As indicated earlier all the Quebec issues carried the logo. That the 1849 green protector issue began before 1856 and continued beyond 1858 is supported by the evidence of the bank notes.

The period from 1853 to 1857 was one of prosperity in Canada West. The Crimean War increased the demand for wheat and timber and Canada West, modern Southwestern Ontario, had some of the richest farmland in the province. The shipyards of Georgian Bay were booming and railroads were being constructed to speed the delivery of Canadian goods. The Grand Trunk Rail Road was being constructed to link Montreal with the Great Lakes port of Sarnia. The Great Western was under construction from Toronto to London and then on to Windsor. Indeed the branch names on the Bank of Montreal notes, Hamilton, Brantford, Woodstock, London, read like station stops on the Great Western. Goderich on Lake Huron sent salt and other goods to the Upper Great Lakes or south to Chicago and the Mississippi valley. The Bank of Montreal was an integral part of this development.

On the other hand, the previous decade had been the period of railroad building in Canada East. There were only two major commercial centers, Montreal and Quebec. The business community was still attempting to recover from the economic collapse of 1847. Lord Elgin's letter of April 23, 1849, to Lord Grey paints a very somber picture of the situation in Montreal: "Three quarters of the commercial men are bankrupt and property has fallen 50% in value."

Given this situation perhaps it is not surprising that the Canada East issues were cut back and there is a strong possibility that, apart from the Montreal one and two dollar notes without the logo, the majority of the notes in circulation were supplied by Canada West issues.


Counterfeiting continued to be a problem but this time, the four, five and ten dollar notes were the targets (fig. 14). These were the old 1852 designs. There are no known counterfeits of one and two dollar notes from either the 1849 green protector or the Canada West issues.


An entirely spurious issue of five dollar notes dated September 1, 1858, purporting to be domiciled either in Montreal or Quebec created havoc with the public (fig. 15). The notes were printed in three colors reflecting the three district offices. The record simply states that all notes dated 1858 are counterfeit. These notes are so good that, even today, many collectors question the validity of the above statement. But the statement most certainly is correct. Simply look at the prefix. While the lower denomination letter I is a legitimate designation for the five dollar denomination, there is no way that C, the designation for the Toronto district office, could possibly be used for a Montreal or Quebec note. The ten dollar notes were not quite as deceptive (fig. 16).


There is one other mystery: the possibility of a very short-lived Canada East issue for Montreal. Fig. 17 is an example of a raised counterfeit. The N of the word denomination is clearly visible and the microprinting leaves no doubt as to its original value. It is also evident that the counterfeit was quite successful as the PAID indicates that it was taken at face value by the Bank.


This counterfeit differs from all the rest in that it is a raised note. However, the significance of the original note appears to have been totally overlooked. The prefix is EA and the note dated January 2, 1857, is domiciled in Montreal. Instead of a blue back the note has an orange one. The upper letter E is a logical designation for Canada East and the lower letter A for the one dollar denomination is supported by the N of the word denomination ONE, the microprinting on the face and the numeral and words one and une on the back. I believe we are looking at a note of a very short-lived, unsuspected Canada East issue of one dollar notes parallel to the Canada West issues.

The release of a complete, new issue of notes, from one to ten dollars, dated January 3, 1859, brought a close to the note issues of the 1850s. The 1850s opened and closed with full sets of notes. There are some questions still to be resolved, but shifting the 1849 green protector issue to the mid-1850s, a move which is defensible on the basis of the word denomination, single signature, and the use of the green protector itself resolves the puzzle of the apparent lack of notes from the Canada East offices. This arrangement of the issues: 1852-53; 1849 green protector; 1856 Canada West also explains why there are two sets of notes issued with only one and two dollar denominations.

The records of the Bank of Montreal are, for the most part, silent on the notes of this period. We were hoping that the records of the American Bank Note Company might shed more light on the topic but since they are not forthcoming, we have to rely on the evidence of the notes themselves.

End Notes

1 I would like to express my thanks to Yolande Toussaint of the Bank of Montreal Archives and to James Zagon (photographer) for their assistance in the preparation of this paper.
2 However, since the C/I and C/O prefixes are known only from a specimen note and a precursor of the 1856 series, and the C/S only from a listing, we can not dismiss the very real possibility that the C/D prefix was the only one actually issued. The five dollar note (fig. 13) which was overprinted for use as a provincial note in 1866 comes from the C/D prefix.

Medallic Memorials of the Visit of the Prince of Wales to North America in 1860

Scott H. Miller

Coinage of the Americas Conference at the American Numismatic Society, New York City

November 7, 1992

� The American Numismatic Society, 1994

In studying the medals relating to Canada during the nineteenth century, we find only one event marked by an appreciable number of medals, the visit by the Prince of Wales in 1860. The earliest catalogues of these medals were by Alfred Sandham, first in his 1869 work, Coins, Tokens and Medals of the Dominion of Canada ,1 and later in his lesser known Medals Commemorative of the Visit of H.R.H. The Prince of Wales in 1860. 2 Since that time, however, cataloguers and collectors have generally disassociated the medals from one another, so that they are no longer thought of as memorials of a single event. By examining the circumstances surrounding their issue, we can perhaps undo the practice of the last century and present these medals in their original context, as well as demonstrate how medals can be used to establish the cultural importance of events generally considered insignificant.

As an historical event, the Prince of Wales visit is thought to have little importance. However, to the popular imagination of the time, the visit meant a great deal. In addition, it appears to have been the first of many official tours undertaken by the British royal family which have made them more accessible to their subjects. Unlike earlier travels, the Prince was accompanied by a corps of journalists to report his every move. At least two of these reporters, those from the London Times and the New York City Herald, later rewrote their dispatches and published them in book form. In fact, the tour was so popular that 50 years later, another book was published telling the reminiscences of a midshipman who served aboard the ship on which the Prince travelled. Despite its amazingly peripheral relevance to the tour, Lieutenant Thomas Bunbury Gough managed to fill a book with his Boyish Reminiscences of His Majesty the King's Visit to Canada in 1860.3

Although there seems to have been a desire for some time by Canadians to host a royal visit, the specific request may be traced to an address voted by both houses of the Canadian Parliament informing Queen Victoria of the approaching completion of a bridge to be named in her honor, and requesting that she, or a member of her family, visit Canada for the purpose of inaugurating it when completed. The address was carried to London by the Hon. H. Smith, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. While Queen Victoria replied that it would be impossible for her to comply personally with the wishes of her Canadian subjects, she did consent to have the Prince of Wales journey to Canada as her personal representative.4

Having set sail from Plymouth on the frigate HMS Hero, the Prince of Wales arrived at St.John's, Newfoundland on July 24, 1860. Upon landing, the Prince received addresses from various notables and organizations, saw some of the local sights, and was honored with balls and levees.5 This was to be a standard routine throughout the tour, and one which seems to have changed little in more than 100 years.

During the Prince's tour, much attention was paid by the popular press to the more social aspects of the visit, such as the many balls and the fashions of the participants. In describing a ball held in New Brunswick, Mr. Woods of the Times wrote: After this, of course, there was another Levee, at which every one was presented; and the local papers explained the niceties of evening dress, and were at pains to point out at length what it meant, and that a dress coat should not be frock coat, or of any color but black, with other valuable and important information with regard to neckerchiefs and waistcoats. Even these slight rules of etiquette were not without their use, and had the effect of keeping the applicants for the honor of presentation within tolerably moderate bounds. There was no limit to the number of those who wished to attend, but there was a most decided limit to the number of dress coats in the province, and the levees were thus kept down.6

In the mid-nineteenth century, most of the United States, as well as Canada, was not fully developed, or as urban as today. Perhaps Mr. Woods should not have been terribly surprised that even the elite of Canadian society did not have what in London would be considered proper attire. Still, the people of New Brunswick were treated well by him; at a people's ball in Montreal where there were no restrictions as to attire, and the tickets cost one dollar, Mr. Woods wrote that: The 'no restrictions as to dress' was popularly interpreted to mean corduroys, brown or gray shooting-jacket, yellow vest, and scarlet necktie, without gloves, or with thick leather ones, as the case may be... The toilets of the ladies, of course, are never alluded to except in terms of praise, but it may be said that I could praise them more if there had not been rather a sameness of bonnets and shawls.7

While on the many stops of his tour, it might be noted that the Prince did more than attend balls and meet poorly clad colonials; he received more than 380 addresses and provided more than 100 replies.8 In addition, although the visit was generally nonpolitical, it should be mentioned that on many occasions, arches were erected by various Orange Societies, which were nearly always frustrated in their attempts to have the Prince ride through them.9

Of the many medals relating to the visit, only one general commemorative was issued, and it was a purely commercial venture. Struck in white metal, it bears on the obverse a military bust of the Prince, and on the reverse an eight line inscription within a wreath. At least two different varieties exist. The more common of the two depicts the Prince with a moustache, and has a legend in sans sens serif letters. A second obverse die using roman letters and portraying th Prince without moustache and in much higher relief was used to strike a quantity of medals which were imported by J. E. Ellis & Co. of Toronto.10

A number of authorities have written that three different obverse dies were used. Besides the Ellis die, Sandham and McLachlan claim that two different varieties exist using sans serif letters and low relief. On these medals, the Prince is depicted both with and without moustache.11 Despite the frequency with which a sans serif, no moustache medal has been reported, all examples so far examined and noted in catalogues with plates have been of the moustache variety.

The reporters from the Times and the New York City Herald seemed to have had something of a rivalry going. While in Quebec, a Grand Ball was given by the Mayor and citizens. Dress, as we have seen, was an important topic to the correspondents, and details of the various balls were not treated with any less enthusiasm. The Time reported that His Highness: Danced every dance that was danced between that night and four next morning! Great numbers were at the same time dancing, or rather trying to dance, and knocking against each with an energy and determination that was worthy of a better cause. None could well avoid collision when limited to a spot little larger than an ordinary table-cloth, and the Prince with his fair partners had to run the gauntlet of polkas and waltzes like the rest. During one of these terpsichorean struggles, the Prince caught his spurs in a lady's dress—tripped and fell. He was up again in an instant, laughing heartily, and dancing away more vigorously than ever. In its vulgar way the New York City Herald did its best to make the Prince appear ridiculous from this little contretemps. Five minutes after the occurrence it was telegraphed to that Journal. Probably in half-an-hour it was known in Texas, while the Herald drew attention to the fact in an alarming series of 'headings,' of which the following are only a few: "THE CANADIAN COMMOTION. "Splendid Splurge of the Quebeckers. "The Prince at the Grand Ball given by the City. "He danced Twenty-two Times, tripped and fell, his Beautiful Partner rolling over him. "Honi soit qui mal y pense. "The Prince immediately picked himself and Partner up and continued the Dance. "Terrible flutter of Crinoline." Certainly to judge from the accounts in this voracious journal, the fall must have been an extraordinary one, inasmuch as it was detailed in no less than three different ways, and with four different partners. Princes fall very much like other people, and even if they did not, His Royal Highness would have found it most difficult to have touched the floor in the way indicated by the Herald, according to which 'he cut his eye' while coming 'heavily on the back of his head'.12

In fact, while the headlines as reported by the Times correspondent are correct, the incident was actually reported in the Herald as "while dancing a waltz he slipped and fell heavily on the floor, dragging his partner, Madame Cartier, the wife of the Canadian Premier, over him. Neither of them were injured, and the Prince instantly jumped up and raised the lady so quickly that but few in the room knew of the occurrence. He apologized to Madame C., and continued the dance."13 Our ancestors, it would seem, were equally as adept in the use of exaggerated headlines as are our contemporaries.

Poor weather travelled with the Prince through much of his tour so that his landing at Montreal, scheduled for August 24, was delayed due to a heavy storm. Things improved a bit the following day so that the Prince and his suite were able to disembark, at which time one gentleman was overheard to remark that "his Royal Highness was not only heir apparent to the British throne, but the Raining Prince."14 Upon arrival on dry land, the Prince was greeted by the usual dignitaries and addresses. He then proceeded in procession to his residence while in Montreal, and to the Crystal Palace where he inaugurated the Industrial Exhibition of Montreal and Province of Canada. The exhibition was opened approximately 10 days early to allow for the Prince's schedule and consequently many of the exhibits had not yet arrived. The extra space was put to good use owing to the great crowds present.15

Exhibitors were awarded prizes, and given the option of receiving a medal in lieu of cash. The dies were engraved by J.S. Wyon, and bear on the obverse the arms of the Board of Arts. The reverse carries a wreath of maple leaves with the commemorative inscription EXHIBITION OF/CANADIAN INDUSTRY/OPENING OF/VICTORIA BRIDGE/BY H.R.H./PRINCE OF WALES/Montreal/1860. Ten medals were struck in gold, 100 in silver, and 250 in bronze.16 According to Sandham, the silver was available in place of a ten dollar cash prize, and the bronze in lieu of five dollars.

After inspection of the exhibits, the Prince departed for what was the prime reason of his visit, the opening of the Victoria Bridge.17 Commenced in 1854, the bridge was the connecting link of a continuous rail line joining the westernmost limits of Canada with the east. It also offered an outlet to the Atlantic when the St. Lawrence was closed. Despite the presence of the Prince and the usual complement of dignitaries, the laying of the last stone was not a very impressive affair. The visitors were taken by special train to Point St. Charles, the entrance at the Montreal side. After the Prince patted the bed of mortar, the final granite stone was lowered from the scaffold into place. Although the arrival of the Prince was met with great enthusiasm, the crowd was silent after the stone was laid, so that the Times correspondent likened it to the laying of a tombstone over the grave of 15 million pounds. The Prince then went by car to the middle of the bridge where he drove the final silver rivet. Afterward, the Prince was presented with a gold medal to commemorate the occasion, and his suite with similar ones, but in silver.18

Besides its use as a commemorative by the Grand Trunk Railway Company, the Prince of Wales appears to have obtained a number of specimens for his personal use. In his memoirs of the voyage of the HMS Hero, Thomas Gough recalled that during the voyage home, on November 9, the Prince's nineteenth birthday, the Prince distributed these commemoratives among the crew. Lt. Gough wrote: As my turn came, I arrived breathless from a rush up the lower-deck ladder. His Royal Highness laughed at my excitement. "Well, Mr. Gough," he said, "do you want a medal?" "Yes, sir, if you please," I answered. "Teesdale, where's Mr. Gough"s medal?" asked His Royal Highness. Major Teesdale began looking on the table, where the medals were laid out. I believe he was slow on purpose, to have a joke with me. The Prince went over to the table. "Why, here it is, just in front of you," he said, taking up the case. "So it is, sir," replied the Major. His Royal Highness handed me the medal, for which I thanked him....The medal was enclosed in a blue morocco case with the Prince's feathers embossed outside; inside was a small slip of paper with "Mr. Gough, from A.E.," written on it by His Royal Highness. The medal itself was a beautiful piece of work, by Wyon, and it is now amongst my most precious relics.19

Although not generally noted, two different reverse dies were used to strike this medal, and can be most easily distinguished by the use of stars as opposed to stops on either side of the date. Of the few specimens examined, the bronze medals all have stops, while the solitary silver specimen in the cabinet of the American Numismatic Society has stars. While it is possible that the different dies were used to distinguish their use, the small number of specimens examined and their lack of pedigrees make any explanation inconclusive.

In addition to the medals presented by the Grand Trunk Railway Company, two other medals were produced and sold as commercial ventures. The first utilizes the same with moustache obverse as the general commemorative described earlier, while the reverse depicts the bridge from the north shore, with a train coming out of the north entrance. The medals were produced by an unnamed Birmingham firm for Savage & Lyman of Montreal, and were offered for sale in silver at $3, bronze at $1, and white metal for 25¢.20 Judging by the number of surviving specimens, it would seem that this offering, at least in white metal, was quite successful. Although LeRoux claims that different varieties exist with the moustache longer or shorter ("il y a plusieurs vari�t�s avec la moustache plus ou moins longue," but translated into English as "both with and without moustache"), it appears that only one obverse die was used.

The second commemorative is generally referred to as the Hoffnung medal because the dies were prepared for Mr. Hoffnung of Montreal who was also its designer. The medal was offered for sale in gold, silver, bronze and white metal, with the latter being the most common. Prices ranged from $100 for the gold to $1 for a white metal specimen. Sandham reports that a gold medal was presented to Queen Victoria in July 1860, though a later presentation would not be unlikely.21

The Hoffnung medal is a particularly fine example of overcrowding as an attempt seems to have been made to include every possible fact or figure within as small a space as possible. On the obverse is a view of the bridge with the arms of Montreal above, on either side of which is a lion and unicorn. The names Ross and Stephenson inscribed on the ribbon refer to the engineers who designed the bridge. Below is an inscription describing the bridge as the greatest work of engineering skill in the world. On the reverse are the royal arms and medallions depicting the Queen, Prince Albert and the Prince of Wales, along with a 14 line inscription giving the physical dimensions and statistics of the bridge. Two varieties are known; the original states the cost was $5 million, while a subsequent version shows the amount corrected to read $7 million. On the latter variety, the 5 can be seen faintly beneath the 7.

After the formal opening of the bridge, the Prince and his suite returned to one of the workshops of the company where a lunch had been prepared, and to which, according to The New York City Times, none but the uppiest of the uppy were invited. After toasts to the Queen, Prince Albert and the Prince of Wales, Albert Edward proposed "The health of the Governor General, prosperity to Canada, and success to the Grand Trunk Railway".

After Montreal, the Prince visited Ottawa where he laid the cornerstone for the Parliament buildings, and then toured Kingston, and on to Toronto, where he visited the University and signed his name in the student's book. From the University the Prince proceeded to inaugurate the Horticultural Societies' grounds by planting what the Times correspondent described as "a meek-looking vegetable called a young maple-tree".22

From Toronto the Prince and his suite departed by special train for London, and then to Sarnia, the westernmost terminus of the Grand Trunk Railway.23 The Prince was greeted at the Sarnia railway station by a crowd of about 4,000, among whom were a group of about 150-200 Indians from the Chippewa tribe, including the Chief, Kanwagashi, who presented an address to the Prince in his native language. At the end of each sentence the Prince heard a translation, which "reminded the Prince that the sky was beautiful, and that it was preordained that Albert Edward and Himself should meet and that his heart was glad of the event. He hoped the sky would continue fine for both those of the white and those of the red skin, and that His Royal Highness would remember the red man when he came to the throne." The Prince replied that "he was grateful for the address, and hoped the sky would continue beautiful. He would never forget his red brethren."24

After the addresses were given, the Prince presented each of the chiefs with a large silver medal in commemoration of the visit. There appears to have been some confusion among the popular press about these medals, as the Times correspondent wrote that he "was told that they had been struck at the close of the last century for distribution among the chiefs of the tribes who had most distinguished themselves in the war against the Americans. From some cause or another they were never given, but remained 'in store' till the arrival of His Royal Highness, when the matter was recollected by some one or other, and they were once more brought out, furbished out, and re-chased with the coronet of the Prince of Wales....As a rule the Indians prize their medals beyond anything, and I saw several who cherished as priceless heir-looms the medals their forefathers had earned in the War of Independence."25

Cornwallis, who was associated with the New York City Herald, described the actual presentation when he wrote

The chiefs, in addition to being ring-nosed, painted, and moccasined, had buffalo horns on their heads, and snake skins around their waists, thickly set with porcupine quills or colored grass. To these His Royal Highness presented medals as large as the mouth of a tumbler, while to the Indians of lower rank he gave medals of smaller size, and these bore the likeness of the Queen on one side and the royal arms on the reverse. The Indians felt flattered, and returned the compliment by giving him a present of tomahawks, wampums, pipes, bows and arrows, and bark work.26

Three sizes of silver medals were presented, 3 inch, 2 3/8 inch, and 1 1/2 inch, and the distribution correlated size with rank. Despite reports from the Times, the medals presented do not date from the eighteenth century and with at least one exception bear the effigy of Victoria. Originally issued in 1840, they are distinguished by the Prince of Wales's plumes and the date 1860 to the left and right of the Queen's bust. The two larger medals carry the Queen's title VICTORIA DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM REGINA F: D:; on the smaller size the legend is somewhat abbreviated. In addition, it should be noted that the W.W.C. Wilson sale featured a 3 inch George III Indian Peace Medal, dated 1814, which bears, to the right of the king's bust, the engraved Prince of Wales plumes and the date 1860.27 This specimen is now in the cabinet of the American Numismatic Society. Jamieson mentions that the Prince distributed these medals at the various gatherings of tribes throughout Canada.28 However, although both the Times and Herald correspondents report meetings between the Prince and Indians of many tribes on different occasions, they only mention distribution of medals on the one occasion already discussed. Ad- ditional research utilizing contemporary records might provide the evidence necessary to determine under what circumstances medals were presented.

The next stop of consequence for the Prince was Niagara Falls where he was entertained by the renowned aerialist Jean François Gravelet, better known as Charles Blondin. During the exhibition Blondin crossed the rapids on a tightrope with a man on his back, and offered to take the Prince across in a similar manner, but the offer was politely declined.29 It might be of interest to note that Blondin was not alone in the ability to cross the Falls on a tightrope. Prior to viewing Blondin's performance, the Prince happened to notice a similar feat by Farini.30 However, today we only remember Blondin, and, not surprisingly, we find that only he is depicted on a medal, struck in white metal, 35 mm in diameter, portraying Blondin on the obverse and a view of his crossing over the Falls by tightrope on the reverse. The inscription reads, on the obverse, BLONDIN/THE HERO OF NIAGARA, and on the reverse, CROSSED THE FALLS OF NIAGARA/IN PRESENCE OF/H.R.H. PRINCE OF WALES/SEPR 1/1860.31

In addition to the medals already mentioned, most of which relate to specific events during the tour, a number of medals exist which represent a portion of the charities distributed by the Prince. During the course of his travels, Albert Edward visited a number of schools, and donated money to be used for medals which could be distributed as prizes. Although generally catalogued as school awards, they should be thought of as royal charities, and as lasting memorials of the royal tour.

In a letter dated September 17, 1860, the Duke of Newcastle, who accompanied the Prince, wrote to the Governor General, Sir Edmund Head: I have the pleasure of informing you that the Prince of Wales has placed in your account at the Bank of Montreal, a sum of money, which His Royal Highness requests you to be so good as to distribute to the institutions in Canada named in the following schedule, in the sums placed opposite to each, as some token of the very great gratification which His Royal Highness has derived from the interesting visit which is now nearly completed, and as proof of the deep interest which he must always take in the future progress of this magnificent Province. His Royal Highness wishes that the sums appropriated to each should be applied in the distribution to the students in such a way as may be suggested by the governing body as the most conducive to the interests of the institutions, subject in each case to your approval.32

At least four medals have been issued which directly reflect the Prince's generosity: those for McGill University; Bishop's College; Victoria College; and the Canada Normal Schools.

On September 30, 1860, the Prince departed Canada for an unofficial tour of the United States,33 which was marked by a 30 mm medal by Joseph H. Merriam of Boston. After enjoying several days shooting on the prairies of the midwest, the Prince travelled, as "Baron Renfrew," east from St. Louis, stopping at many of the major cities along the way.34 Of all the stops on the royal progress, the visit to New York City was the most spectacular. A grand ball organized in honor of the Prince began most inauspiciously when the floor collapsed. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured, and many of New York City's social elite were given an opportunity to display their finery, which Mr. Howard of the New York City Times described in excruciating detail: Mrs. Gov. Morgan wore a dress of white silk, elegantly trimmed and clouded with flounces of black lace, and lighted up with diamonds as became her matronly rank...Mrs. Dr. Alex Mott of New York City, wore a white silk, trimmed with quillings of shaded violet, extending up the left side of the skirt to the corsage. A sentimental and yet intellectual style of beauty.35

The New York City Times also reported that

One lady, indeed, startled the Prince into expressing opinions, by regretting for him the unhappy fate which had compelled him to travel through the United States without sharing in a railway accident, and by explaining to him that if American ladies lay aside their bouquets when they waltz, it is from their considerate anxiety "not to tickle their partner's ears."36

The following day the Prince did some sightseeing, which included visits to Brady's Gallery, where a number of photographs were taken, and to Mr. Bamum's museum.37 In the evening a magnificent fireman's torchlight parade was held along a rather strange route, so that Fourteenth Street was transversed three times. A small medal is perhaps the only reminder today of this brilliant event. As the Prince stood on the balcony of the Fifth Avenue Hotel, he viewed the procession of 5,000 firemen, along with their engines and other apparatus: Hour after hour, mile after mile, the gorgeous phalanx wound its slow length along, suffusing the sky with the lurid glare of rockets, snakes, Prince's plumes, and much beside, and dazzling the eyes of the half million that beheld it with the blaze of Drummond lights, here and there softened by the mellow tints of variegated lanterns.38

Overall, the Prince's visit can only be termed a resounding success. Most importantly, coming at a time when the function of the British monarchy was undergoing radical change from political activism to one of seeming impartiality, symbolizing the nation and above politics, the monarchy needed to redefine its role. Had the Prince's tour been a failure, it is questionable whether the monarchy would have developed as it has into a major media event or even whether it would have survived the turmoils which have toppled similar institutions. However, the tour did prove a success, and became a precedent for the many subsequent tours which have brought the British monarchy into contact with its territories and colonies.

One aspect of the Prince's tour has special significance for the American Numismatic Society, and deserves special recognition. Although no medals were issued by the Society to mark the Prince's visit to the United States, the ANS did not pass up the opportunity to do so when his grandson Edward visited this country as Prince of Wales in 1919. In honor of that visit, the ANS struck a medal designed by John Flanagan. On November 18, 1919, during a ceremony aboard the HMS Renown, the Prince of Wales received a gold specimen of the medal housed in a wooden case made from a tree planted by his grandfather on October 12, 1860, in New York City's Central Park.39


References are as follows:

  • Breton Canadian Coins, Medals, Etc. (Montreal, 1912)
  • Brown A Catalogue of British Historical Medals, Vol 2, 1837-1901 (London, 1987)
  • Jamieson See above, n. 28
  • LeRoux The Canadian Coin Cabinet (Montreal, 1888)


Obv. Uniformed bust of the Prince of Wales with moustache 3/4 left; legend in sans serif letters: H.R.H. THE PRINCE OF WALES; below bust: BORN 9 NOV 1841

Rev. Eight line inscription within a wreath: TO/COMMEMORATE/THE VISIT OF/ALBERT EDWARD/PRINCE OF WALES/TO/Canada/1860

White Metal. 44 mm. Breton 178, LeRoux 935; compare Brown 2670.



Obv. Uniformed bust of the Prince of Wales without moustache and in higher relief than No.l, 3/4 left; legend in roman letters: H.R.H. THE PRINCE OF WALES; below bust: BORN 9 NOV 1841

Rev. As No.1

White Metal. 44 mm. Breton 178, LeRoux 935. This variety, much scarcer than No. 1, was imported by J.E. Ellis & Co. of Toronto.




Rev. Eight line inscription within a wreath of maple leaves, the Prince of Wales plumes at top. EXHIBITION OF/CANADIAN INDUSTRY/OPENING OF/VICTORIA BRIDGE/BY H.R.H./ PRINCE OF WALES/Montreal/1860

Gold, Silver, Bronze. 38mm. LeRoux 612. Ten medals were struck in gold, 100 in silver and 250 in bronze. The dies were prepared by J.S. Wyon, and a gold specimen in a case of Canadian maple was presented to the Prince of Wales on the day of his departure from Portland. (Note: Sandham reports 16 were struck in gold)


Obv. Bust of the Prince of Wales left. ALBERT EDWARD PRINCE OF WALES; below the bust, J.S. WYON SC.

Rev. Prince of Wales plumes, surrounded by a wreath of maple leaves upon which is a ribbon with the words WELCOME WELCOME WELCOME. VISITED Canada AND INAUGURATED THE VICTORIA BRIDGE* 1860*; below, M.D. WYATT DES., J.S. WYON SC.

Gold, Silver. 48 mm. Breton 174, LeRoux 641, Brown 2669. By J.S. Wyon; M.D. Wyatt, designer.



Obv. As No. 4

Rev. As No. 4, except that the stars on either side of the date are replaced by stops.

Bronze. 48 mm. Breton 174, LeRoux 641. By J.S. Wyon; M.D. Wyatt, designer.



Obv. As No. 1

Rev. View of the Victoria Bridge from the north shore, with a train coming out of the north entrance. OPENED BY THE PRINCE OF WALES/ 1860/VICTORIA BRIDGE/Montreal

Silver, Bronze, White Metal. 44 mm. Breton 177, LeRoux 642, Brown 2671.


Obv. A view of the Victoria Bridge; above is the arms of Montreal, on either side of which is a lion and unicorn, and ribbons bearing the names of Stephenson and Ross. THE VICTORIA BRIDGE MEDAL/THE VICTORIA BRIDGE, Montreal,/THE GREATEST WORK OF/ENGINEERING SKILL/IN THE WORLD,/PUBLICLY INAUGURATED/AND OPENED IN/1860. GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY OF CANADA



Gold, Silver, Bronze, White Metal. 51 mm. Breton 175, LeRoux 643. By A. Hoffnung. A. Hoffnung was a dealer in fancy goods in Montreal. The medal was available in gold for $ 100, silver for $ 10, bronze for $3, and white metal for $1.


Obv. As No. 7.

Rev. As No. 7, but the dies have been corrected to read $7,000,000.

Breton 176, LeRoux 644.

It is uncertain whether or not both versions were issued in all metals.




Obv. Bust of Victoria left; to the left is engraved the Prince of Wales plumes, and to the right of the bust is engraved the date 1860. VICTORIA DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM REGINA F: D:

Rev. The royal arms and the date 1840.

Silver. 76 mm, 65 mm. Jamieson, figs. 33, 34. By William Wyon


Obv. As No. 9, but with inscription VICTORIA D: G: BRIT: REGINA: F: D:

Rev. As No. 9.

Silver. 37 mm. Jamieson, fig. 35. By William Wyon.


Obv. Bust of George III right; to the right of the bust is engraved the Prince of Wales plumes and the date 1860. GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARVM REX.F.D:

Rev. The royal arms and the date 1814.

Silver. 76 mm. By T. Wyon, Jr.


Obv. Bust of Blondin, head turned left. BLONDIN/THE HERO OF NIAGARA

Rev. View of Blondin crossing over the Falls on tightrope. CROSSED THE FALLS OF NIAGARA/IN PRESENCE OF/H.R.H. PRINCE OF WALES/SEPR 14/1860

White Metal. 35 mm. Brown 2672. By J.W. Moore.


Obv. Bust of Albert Edward right. ALBERTUS EDVARDUS ARTIUM LIBERALIUM FAUTOR Canada VISA D. .1860.

Rev. University arms within a wreath composed of an oak and maple branch. UNIVERSITAS MCGILL. MONTE REGIO.

Bronze (also Gold?). 41 mm. Breton 119, LeRoux 671. By C.F. CARTER Sc.

"In 1860, the sum of £200, presented to the college by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, was applied to the foundation of a Gold Medal to be called the 'Prince of Wales Gold Medal,' for an honor course in Logic and Mental and Moral Philosophy."



Obv. Bust of Albert Edward left. ALBERT EDWARD PRINCE OF WALES


Bronze. 45 mm. Breton 105, LeRoux 636. By J. S. Wyon



Rev. Prince of Wales plumes atop wreath of maple leaves. PREMIUM A CELSISSIMO ALBERTO EDWARDO PRINCIPE WALLIAE INSTITUTUM A.D. 1860.

Bronze. 45 mm. Breton 146, LeRoux 749. By F.B. Smith.


Obv. Bust of Albert Edward left; below bust: CAQUE F./GRAVEUR DE S.M. L'EMPEREUR


Bronze. 55 mm. Breton 107, LeRoux 638. By Caque.



Obv. Standing figure of fireman, with trumpet and waterhose; S&H below THE BRAVE, FEARLESS & GENEROUS HEARTED FIREMAN

Rev. 8 line inscription within wreath. THE N.Y./FIREMAN'S/GRAND TORCH/LIGHT PROCES/-SION IN HONOR/OF THE PRINCE/OF WALES/OCT. 13. 1860

White Metal, Brass. 29 mm. By S&H.



Rev. Prince of Wales plumes. VISITED THE UNITED STATES OCT. 1860.

Copper. 30 mm. By Merriam, Boston.

End Notes
1 Montreal, 1869.The author would like to thank Kathie Abrams, Paul Bosco, Francis D. Campbell, F. Gordon Frost, Jeremy Garber, John Kleeberg, Normand Pepin, Alan M. Stahl, and Barry Tayman for their assistance and suggestions in the preparation of this article.
2 Montreal, 1871, unpaginated.
3 London, 1910.
4 Sandham (above, n. 2).
5 Kinahan Cornwallis, Royalty in the New World; or, the Prince of Wales in America (New York City, 1860), pp. 23-28.
6 N.A. Woods, The Prince of Wales in Canada and the United States (London, 1861), pp. 54-55.
7 Woods (above, n. 6), pp. 143-45.
8 Woods (above, n. 6), p. 9.
9 Woods (above, n. 6), pp. 184-93.
10 Robert W. McLachlan, Canadian Numismatics (Montreal, 1886), p. 75, no. 303.
11 See McLachlan (above, n. 10), p. 75, no. 302, where he states "the specimen in my collection is the only one of this variety known to me." This illustrates the importance of catalogues with plates.
12 Woods (above, n. 6), pp. 101-2.
13 New York City Herald, Aug. 23, 1860.
14 Cornwallis (above, n. 5), p. 91.
15 Woods (above, n. 6), pp. 114-18.
16 McLachlan (above, n. 10), p. 37, no. 141.
17 Woods (above, n. 6), p. 119.
18 Woods (above, n. 6), pp. 125-28.
19 Gough (above, n. 3), pp. 207-9.
20 McLachlan (above, n. 10), p. 35, no. 136.
21 Sandham (above, n. 2).
22 Woods (above, n. 6), pp. 148-25.
23 Woods (above, n. 6), p. 230.
24 Cornwallis (above, n. 5), pp. 139-40.
25 Woods (above, n. 6), p. 232.
26 Cornwallis (above, n. 5), p. 140.
27 W. Raymond, No. 16, 1925 (Wilson), 940.
28 Melville A. Jamieson, Medals Awarded to North American Indian Chiefs, 1714-1922, and to Loyal African and Other Chiefs in Various Territories within thr British Empire (London, 1936), p. 44.
29 New York City Times, Sept. 17, 1860.
30 Cornwallis (above, n. 5), pp. 147-48.
31 Cornwallis (above, n. 5), pp. 145-51.
32 Sandham (above, n. 2).
33 Cornwallis (above, n. 5), "synoptical view".
34 Woods (above, n. 6), pp. 293-368.
35 New York City Times, Oct. 15, 1860.
36 See above, n. 35.
37 Woods (above, n. 6), p. 397.
38 Cornwallis (above, n. 5), pp. 213-14.
39 Howard L. Adelson, The American Numismatic Society, 1858-1958 (New York City, 1958), pp. 220-21.

Patterns and Trial Pieces of Canada

Hillel Kaslove

Coinage of the Americas Conference at the American Numismatic Society, New York City

November 7, 1992

� The American Numismatic Society, 1994

This paper discusses patterns and trial pieces of Canada including those of the former colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Province of Canada, British Columbia and Newfoundland.

Given the great rarity of the vast majority of Canadian patterns and trial pieces, it is not surprising that they are seldom encountered by numismatists. Several pieces found only in the British Royal Mint collection or the National Currency Collection, Bank of Canada are believed to be unique.

This paper presents only patterns and trials that were examined by this writer and includes some previously unpublished pieces. Patterns and trials contained in the R. Henry Norweb Collection, as well as those of the American Numismatic Society, National Currency Collection, Bank of Canada and the British Royal Mint were examined and recorded.


In North America, a piece is considered a pattern if it bears a proposed new design, denomination, or metal that is not adopted for currency use during the year it was produced. However, in Great Britain, a piece bearing the adopted design but dated earlier than the currency issue is termed a "proof." The term "proof' also applies to off-metal strikes of the adopted design.

Trial strikes are pieces produced at any stage of the preparation of a die allowing the designer or engraver to have a threedimensional representation of the piece. They are rarely struck in precious metal and are meant only for internal use. Trial pieces always display the adopted design but may differ in shape, finish, metal or have the addition or deletion of a mint mark. Some trial strikes occur only as proofs or specimens.

The first major article dealing with Canadian patterns appeared in 1908.1 Written by one of Canada's leading numismatists, R. W. McLachlan, the article listed and described 25 pieces without illustrations. Another outstanding Canadian numismatist, Fred Bowman, produced the second major article on Canadian patterns in 1957,2 listing 43 pieces illustrated mostly with line drawings. The most comprehensive list to date appears in the Charlton catalogue, the latest edition of which contains 87 pieces, the vast majority illustrated by photographs.3


Charlton PC-1

ONE CENT 1858, bronze. Not a proof. 5.7 g, 23.7 mm

Obv. Blank.

Rev. Pattern design, wide date, 1 & 5 of date recut.

Charlton PC-2 ONE CENT 1858, bronze. Proof.

4.0 g, 23.7 mm

5.118 g

5.431 g

Obv. Blank.

Rev. Pattern design, narrow date, first 8 and 5 of date recut.

Charlton PC-3 ONE CENT 1858, bronze. Proof; dies-124

3.875 g, 23.7 mm

Obv. Diademed bust of Victoria, legend as adopted for currency.

Rev. Pattern design, narrow date, first 8 and 5 of date recut.

Charlton PC-4

20 cents 1858, silver. Proof, plain edge; dies-12

4.4 g, 23.27 mm

4.624 g, 23.27 mm

20 cents 1858, silver. Proof, plain edge; dies-6

4.033 g, 23.27 mm

Obv. Adopted design. N of Canada recut.

Rev. Adopted design for New Brunswick in 1862. T of CENTS tilted right, top left side of T touches N, 5 of date recut.

This pattern is known with both coin and medal die alignments. The upset dies may be a restrike as the coin is more than a half gram lighter. Sir Charles W. Freemantle, Deputy Master at the Royal Mint, London 1868-94, authorized restrikes of various British and British Colonial coins for exhibition purposes.

Charlton PC-5 ONE CENT 1859 (roman), copper-nickel. Proof; dies?


5.628 g, 25.4 mm

Obv. Adopted design.

Rev. Pattern for a British halfpenny.

This piece is a mule and not a pattern. Bowman records it being struck in copper and Charlton in bronze. The piece examined is from the Norweb Collection and is struck in copper-nickel.


Charlton NS-3 HALF CENT 1861, bronze. Proof; dies-6

2.8 g, 20.65 mm

2.865 g, 20.65 mm

2.9 g, 20.65 mm

Obv. Large bust of Victoria by James Wyon.

Rev. Pattern design showing a crown in center surrounded by a wreath of roses.

The three pieces examined are all bronzed proofs. Charlton incorrectly shows a medal die alignment; all the pieces examined are struck from upset dies.

Charlton NS-4 ONE CENT 1861, bronze. Proof; dies-12

4.691 g, 25.4 mm

Obv. Large bust of Victoria by James Wyon. Obverse letters recut. A of VICTORIA has double bar in center. E in REG and F show repunching with vertical remnants showing through center of E and F (fig. 1).


Rev. Pattern design showing crown in center surrounded by a wreath of roses (fig. 1).

Charlton NS-6 ONE CENT 1861, bronze. Not a proof; dies-12

5.594 g, 25.4 mm

Obv. As adopted. Portrait slightly doubled on chin and neck. Both I's and A of VICTORIA, RITT of BRITT, EG of REG, and D all recut.

Rev. Pattern as Bowman 7.

Charlton NS-7 HALF CENT 1861, bronze. Proof; dies-12

2.778 g, 20.65 mm

Obv. Large bust of Victoria by James Wyon. One piece shows the lips, chin and neck recut and they appear doubled. The two T's in BRITT D:G, REG and F. D. all recut (fig. 2).

Rev. The adopted design showing crown and date surrounded by a wreath of mayflowers and roses (fig. 2).


Charlton NS-8 ONE CENT 1861, bronze. Proof; dies-12

5.650 g, 25.4 mm

Obv. Large bust of Victoria by James Wyon, as Bowman 7 showing E of REG and F with vertical remnants (fig. 3).

Rev. Adopted design with large rose bud variety (fig. 3).


Charlton NS-8 Variety ONE CENT 1861, bronze. Proof; dies-6

5.739 g, 25.4 mm

Obv. Large bust of Victoria by James Wyon from new dies. Letters are thicker and no signs of vertical lines on E of REG or the F (fig. 3).

Rev. As last but the outer circle is incomplete between 2 and 3 o'clock. Struck from upset dies (fig. 3).


Charlton NS-8a ONE CENT 1861, bronze. Proof; dies-12

5.8 g, 25.4 mm

Obv. Large bust of Victoria by James Wyon. This obverse die different than the previous two obverses shown as Bowman 10 and 10 variety. V of VICTORIA F & D recut (fig. 4).

Rev. Adopted design showing small rose bud variety (fig. 4).

Charlton NS-10 ONE CENT 186- (incom.), bronze. Not a proof; dies-12

5.785 g, 25.4 mm

Obv. As adopted.

Rev. Pattern as Bowman 7 except for last digit of date missing.



Charlton NB-1 ONE CENT 1861, bronze. Proof; dies-12

5.640 g, 25.4 mm

Obv. Large bust of Victoria by James Wyon. This is the same obverse die used for Nova Scotia patterns Charlton 4 and 8 showing arrow-like vertical lines through E of REG and F (fig. 5).

Rev. Adopted design (fig. 5).


Charlton NB-2 10 CENTS 1862, silver. Proof, reeded edge; dies-12

2.340 g, 18.03 mm

Obv. Adopted design, VICTORIA, D. G., G of REG NE of NEW W and C of BRUNSWICK all show signs of recutting.

Rev. The denomination and date within a circle, surrounded by arabesque design. This reverse was used on Hong Kong 10-cent patterns, Pridmore nos. 238-40 and 246.5

Charlton NB-4 20 CENTS 1862, silver. Proof, plain edge; dies-12

5.6 g, 22.0 mm

Obv. Used to record the obituary of George W. Wyon in 1862.

Rev. Adopted design for the New Brunswick 20 cents, 1862.

Not a pattern but an officially produced medalet.

Charlton NB-5 5 CENTS 1870, silver. Proof, plain edge; dies-12

1.166 g, 15 5 mm

The Charlton catalogue incorrecdy lists this as being in The National Currency Collection and having a reeded edge; incorrect on both counts.

Charlton NB-6 10 CENTS 1870, silver. Proof, plain edge; dies-12

2.319 g, 18.03 mm

10 CENTS 1870, silver. Proof, reeded edge; dies-12

2.3 g, 18.03 mm

Obv. Adopted design. D, G, R and G of REG, NSW of BRUNSWICK are recut.

Rev. Adopted design from Dominion of Canada 10 cents of same date.

Charlton NB-6 in the National Currency Collection has a reeded edge. The Norweb piece has a plain edge and is unrecorded.

Charlton NB-8 20 CENTS 1871, silver. Proof, plain edge; dies-12

5.9 g, 22.95 mm

20 CENTS 1871, silver. Proof, plain edge; dies-12

4.7 g, 23.27 mm

Obv. Adopted design. REG recut.

Rev. Top of T touches N of CENTS.

Charlton NB-9 5 CENTS 1875, silver. Proof, reeded edge; dies-12

1.160 g, 15.5 mm

Obv. As adopted design except for date.

Rev. As adopted design except for date.

The reverse is from a Royal Mint die, as the currency 5 cents for Canada in 1875 was struck with an "H" mint mark for Ralph Heaton & Sons, Birmingham. The identical reverse die was used on a 5 cents 1875 without H, Charlton DC-16. A tiny raised dot at 5 o'clock appears on top of a denticle on both pieces. The Canadian piece is struck from upset dies, while the New Brunswick piece has a medal die alignment, (fig. 6; cf. DC-16, fig. 12)


Charlton NB-5-10

Charlton NB-5 through 10 are pieces that bear dates after New Brunswick entered Confederation. They should be classified as officially authorized strikings for exhibition purposes.


Charlton NF-2 5 CENTS 1864, bronze. Proof, plain edge; dies-6

1.395 g, 15.5 mm

Obv. Adopted design.

Rev. As the adopted design for New Brunswick with crown and wreath.

Charlton NF-4 20 CENTS 1864, bronze. Proof, indented corded edge; dies-6

6.2 g, 22.95 mm

Obv. Adopted design. R of REG recut.

Rev. Similar to crown and wreath design adopted for New Brunswick with slightly smaller numbers in date. Letters CNTS of CENTS recut.

Charlton NF-5 TWO DOLLARS 1864, bronze. Proof, plain edge; dies-6

2.4 g, 17.1 mm

Obv. As adopted design for 1865. Base of T in VICTORIA, D G recut. Right side of U in NEWFOUNDLAND broken in center.

Rev. Crown and wreath from the New Brunswick 10 cents with the legend TWO/DOLLARS/1864 in center.

Charlton NF-6 ONE CENT 1864, bronze. Not a proof, dies-12

5.6 g, 25.4 mm 5.710 g

Obv. Legend reads VICTORIA QUEEN, otherwise similar to adopted design issued for currency in 1865. Bottom of F in NEWFOUNDLAND recut.

Rev. Similar to adopted design but a leaf is missing from the top of each side of the wreath. The 6 of date is recut.

Charlton NF-7 ONE CENT 1865, bronze. Proof; dies-6

5.446 g, 25.4 mm

Obv. Adopted design for the British Halfpenny. The one-cent pieces of New Brunswick, and Nova Soctia also employed this design.

Rev. Pattern design as Bowman 25: one leaf missing from the top of each side of the wreath.

Charlton NF-8

5 CENTS 1865, silver. Proof, plain edge; dies-6

0.9 g, 15 5 mm

Obv. Adopted design. Base of second I in VICTORIA partly missing.

Rev. Similar to adopted design except arches are thinner and do not touch beading; N of CENTS and 65 of date recut. The center of 5 in date weak.

Charlton NF-10

20 CENTS 1865, silver. Proof, plain edge; dies-6

4.6 g, 23.19 mm

Obv. Adopted design VICTORIA, G, R of REG and first N in NEWFOUNDLAND recut.

Rev. Similar to adopted design except arches are thinner and away from denticles. Arabic 1 in date type of 1882-1900.

Charlton NF-11 5 CENTS 1865, silver. Proof, plain edge; dies-6

1.1 g, 15.5 mm

Obv. Adopted design. VICTORIA D G recut.

Rev. Similar to adopted design except arches and dots have raised edges. N of CENTS and 65 of date recut. The 5 in date broken in center. The matrices for Charlton NF-8 were used to produce new punches which in turn produced new matrices. The arches were now enlarged, thickened and appear as raised lines.

Charlton NF-12 10 CENTS 1865, silver. Proof, plain edge; dies-6

2.3 g, 18.03 mm

Obv. Adopted design TR of VICTORIA G, E of REG and OU of NEWFOUNDLAND recut. Left upright of last N in NEWFOUNDLAND mostly missing.

Rev. As adopted design except arches and dots have raised edges. The 65 of date recut.

Charlton NF-13 20 CENTS 1865, silver. Proof, plain edge; dies-6

4.5 g, 23.19 mm

Obv. Adopted design. From same obverse die as Charlton NF-10.

Rev. Similar to adopted design except arches have raised edges. Inner loops of ornaments all closed and outer loops both open and partly closed. Ornaments touch an outer continuous border just inside the beaded denticles. Arabic 1 in date type of 1882-1900. A center dot is visible on N of CENTS.

Charlton NF-14 2 DOLLARS 1865, gold. Proof, plain edge; dies-12

3 3 g, 17.6 mm

Obv. Adopted design. G of D G recut, U of NEWFOUNDLAND has most of right upright missing. Die break at 5 o'clock from beading through right upright of last N, which is also defective on left side with middle portion missing.

Rev. Similar to adopted design; however the legend and date are in block type.

Charlton NF-15 2 DOLLARS 1865, gold. Proof, plain edge; dies-6

3.356 g, 17.98 mm

Obv. A small head of Victoria within a beaded circle with the legend VICTORIA D.G:REG: at top and NEWFOUNDLAND at bottom.

Rev. Similar to adopted design except the legend and date are in block type.

Charlton NF-16 50 CENTS 1870, bronze. Proof, plain edge; dies-12

9.4 g, 29.6 mm

Obv. Adopted design GI of REGINA, first N of NEWFOUNDLAND recut.

Rev. Adopted design except denticles are longer and touch the design in several places. The 5 of 50, CENTS and 187 of date recut.

Charlton NF-18 ONE CENT 1864, bronze. Proof; dies-12

5.6 g, 25.4 mm

5.618 g

Obv. Adopted design with D:G:REG: instead of QUEEN. F in NEWFOUNDLAND recut similar to BOWMAN 25.

Rev. Adopted design but dated 1864. The 6 of date recut and the 4 is filled with rust marks.

BRITISH Columbia

The British Columbia twenty- and ten-dollar gold pieces were to be the size and weight of the corresponding U.S. gold pieces. The dies were engraved by Küner in San Francisco and his name appears below the bow of the wreath on the reverse.

Charlton 20 BC-2a var.

DOLLARS 1862, silver (later gilt), reeded edge; dies-12

23.6 g, 34 mm

Obv. A large crown in center. Legend: GOVERNMENT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.

Rev. Denomination and date within a wreath open at top, K�NER F below. Most of the letters on the obverse have been recut.

Charlton 10 BCla var.

10 DOLLARS 1862, silver (later gilt), reeded edge; dies-6

11.2 g, 27 mm

Obv. A large crown in center. Legend: GOVERNMENT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.

Rev Denomination and date within a wreath open at top, K�NER F below. The right foot of the R in K�NER is very weak.

The two silver gilt pieces are ex Kuhn estate and appeared in the Hans M.F. Schulman sale, Oct. 24-26, 1963 ("The Golden Sale," Pt. 3), 4-5. They were purchased by the National Currency Collection from the John McKay-Clements collection sold by Frank Rose, May 13-16, 1976, 552-53. The gilt does not appear to be contemporary. Silver patterns for the gold are known with both upright and upset die alignment.


Charlton DC-1 ONE CENT 1876 H, bronze. Proof; dies-12

25.45 mm

Obv. As adopted for Province of Canada one cent 1858. Recut letters A of VICTORIA, IA of GRATIA, RGA of REGINA and upper right of C in Canada.

Rev. As adopted, the 7 of date recut, H mint mark closed at top.

Charlton DC-3 50 CENTS 1870, bronze. Proof, plain edge; dies-12

9.2 g, 29.72 mm

Obv. Without LCW on truncation. Adopted design. ORI of VICTORIA recut.

Rev. Similar to adopted design with minor differences in some leaves. The 187 of date is lightly recut.

Charlton DC-4 50 CENTS 1870, silver. Proof, plain edge; dies-6

11.2 g, 29 72 mm

Obv. Without LCW on truncation. Adopted design, different die than bronzed proof. Top of C of Canada recut.

Rev. Similar to adopted design with minor differences in some leaves. The 187 of date and the 5 of 50 recut.

Charlton DC-5 ONE CENT 1911, bronze. Not a proof. Specimen; dies-12

5.6 g, 25.4 mm

Obv. As adopted design for 1912-20 except for date. The addition of DEI GRA took place late in 1911.

Rev. As adopted design for 1912-20 except for date.

The Royal Mint approved the change in legend caused by the public outcry of the pieces being "Godless." Two pieces were struck by the Royal Mint, one of which is now in the National Currency Collection, Bank of Canada (fig. 7).


Charlton DC-6 ONE DOLLAR 1911, silver. Specimen, reeded edge; dies-12 Obv. The Bertram MacKennal standard design for GEORGE V that was later adopted for the 1936 Canadian dollar.

Rev. Crown, legend and date surrounded by a wreath composed of maple leaves.

Two pieces are known, one is in the National Currency Collection and the other in private hands.

Charlton DC-6a ONE DOLLAR 1911, lead. Reeded edge; dies-12

Obv. The Bertram MacKennal standard design for GEORGE V that was later adopted for the 1936 Canadian dollar.

Rev. Crown, legend and date surrounded by a wreath composed of maple leaves.

A lead striking from the Ottawa branch of the Royal Mint. While the piece may be classified as a pattern, it is more properly a trial striking of a pattern.

Charlton DC-7 FIVE DOLLARS, gold. Specimen, reeded edge; dies-12

21.6 mm

Obv. The adopted design for 1912-14 but dated 1911.

Rev. The adopted design for 1912-14 but dated 1911.

Weight not known. The only known piece is in the British Royal Mint Collection.

Charlton DC-8 TEN DOLLARS 1911, gold. Specimen, reeded edge; dies-12

26.9 mm

Obv. The adopted design for 1912-14 but dated 1911.

Rev. The adopted design for 1912-14 but dated 1911.

Weight not known. The only known piece is in the British Royal Mint Collection.

Charlton DC-9 FIVE DOLLARS 1928, bronze, reeded edge; dies-12

4.2 g, 21.6 mm

The corresponding five dollars not listed by Bowman. Obv. Adopted design of 1912-14 issues.

Rev. The Arms of Canada are modified by G. E. Kruger-Gray, the designer and modeller.

Charlton DC-10 TEN DOLLARS 1928, bronze, reeded edge; dies-12

8.492 g, 26.92 mm

Obv. Adopted design of 1912-14 issues.

Rev. The Arms of Canada are modified by G. E. Kruger-Gray.

Charlton DC-11 TEN DOLLARS 1928, bronze, reeded edge.

3.7 g, 21.6 mm

Obv. The design has been planed off inside the denticles after striking and the word SPECIMEN has been hand punched.

It appears that the entire coin has been acid-etched.

Charlton DC-12 TEN DOLLARS 1928, bronze, reeded edge.

7.2 g, 26.9 mm

Obv. The design has been planed off inside the denticles after striking and the word SPECIMEN has been hand punched.

It appears that the entire coin has been acid-etched.

Charlton DC-31 20 CENTS 1871, silver. Proof, plain edge; dies-12

4.697 g, 23.3 mm

20 CENTS 1871, silver. Proof, reeded edge; dies-6

4.623 g, 23.3 mm

The Charlton catalog correctly labels this piece an "official fabrication."

Obv. Adopted design of Province of Canada except for date.

Not an experiment for a 20-cent piece but struck for exhibition purposes on the authority of Sir Charles W. Freemantle, Deputy Master, Royal Mint London, 1868-94. The plain edge piece from upright dies; the reeded edge pieces are from upset dies.

Unpublished Patterns for the Montreal Olympics

5 DOLLARS 1973, silver. Proof, reeded edge; dies-12

25.6 g, 36 mm


Obv. Similar to adopted design, but a slightly smaller portrait of Elizabeth II. The maple leaf is full and frosted.

Rev. Map of North America. The map of Canada is frosted, while the others are stippled. Below the map is a line across the field, a four-line inscription OLYMPIADE/XXI/OLYMPIAD/MONTR�AL 1976. The Olympic logo within a circle off to the right. 5 DOLLARS below the inscription (fig. 8).

The 5 dollar Olympic piece that was issued was 38 mm compared to 36 mm for the pattern. The weight of issued 5 dollar Olympic pieces is 24.30 g, while the patterns weigh 25.6 g.

10 DOLLARS 1973, silver. Proof, reeded edge; dies-12

31.3 g, 39 mm

Obv. Similar to the adopted design but a smaller portrait, and the maple leaf is full and frosted.

Rev. World map with Canada frosted and the rest stippled, the remaining design is the same as the 5 dollars but this reads 10 DOLLARS (fig. 9).


The issued 10 dollar Olympic pieces are 45 mm compared to 39 mm for the pattern. The pattern weighs 31.3 g, compared to 48.60 g for the issued piece. The size of the 10-dollar pattern is only 1 mm larger than the issued 5 dollar.

Unpublished Pattern for Gold 100 Dollars 1981

100 DOLLARS 1981, gold. Proof, reeded edge; dies-12

16.965 g, 27.0 mm

Obv. Adopted design.

Rev. A sheet of music with four notes superimposed on a map of Canada (fig. 10).

This piece was struck in quantity for sale to the public. However, a decision was made to change the design and scrap the entire issue. It is believed that only two pieces survived the melting pot.

100 DOLLARS 1981, gold. Proof, reeded edge; dies-12

16.965 g, 27.0 mm

Obv. Adopted design.

Rev. The adopted design showing the correct notes for O Canada (fig. 11).



Unlisted Trial Strike 20 CENTS 1865, bronze. Proof, plain edge; dies-12

5-158 g, 23.1 mm

Obv. Adopted design.

Rev. Adopted design.

Source: Norweb Collection


Charlton NF-20 10 CENTS 1945-C, nickel. Not a proof; dies-12

1.6 g, 17.8 mm

Obv. Adopted design.

Rev. Adopted design.

This piece is on a thin planchet and is weakly struck. The edge of the coin shows only a small portion of the reeding.


Charlton PC-6 variety ONE CENT 1858, copper-nickel. Proof, dies-12

9.113 g, 25.4 mm

The adopted design was struck in copper-nickel on a blank weighing 9.113 g. This piece is a proof. However, the portrait and all the inscription shifted showing a ghosting due to light double striking. Another piece from unpolished dies in the National Currency Collection weighs 8.2 g. On the latter piece the obverse has the T of GRATIA recut, and on the reverse the entire date is recut.

Charlton PC-7 ONE CENT 1858, copper-nickel. Proof, dies-12

4.419 g, 25.4 mm

The adopted design struck in copper-nickel on normal blank.

Obv. T and last A of GRATIA recut.

Rev. Entire date recut.


Charlton DC-2 10 CENTS n.d., bronze. Proof, reeded edge.

2.1 g, 17.85 mm

Obv. Adopted design (Haxby obverse 6)6

Rev. Plain with a "B" neatly engraved.

The use of this portrait, Haxby obverse 6, indicates the piece was probably struck ca. 1891-92. This portrait first appears on pieces dated 1892.

Charlton DC-13 ONE DOLLAR 1964, tin. Not a proof, plain edge.

26.9 g, 35.5 mm

Obv. Blank but bearing a raised symbol which resembles an upside down L with a raised dot on either side.

Rev. Similar to the adopted design but struck from a matrix trial which has a higher relief.

The piece has large denticles instead of beads, and the accent mark over the first E of QUEBEC nearly touches the E and circle. It is clearly separate on the issued coins. The coin was designed by Dinko Vodanovic and engraved by Thomas Shingles. Their initials DV and TS appear.

Charlton DC-15 50 CENTS n.d., white metal.

This is a trial impression of Victoria's portrait used between 1870-72 (Haxby Obv. 2).


Charlton DC-16 5 CENTS 1875, silver. Proof, reeded edge; dies-6

1.2 g, 15 5 mm

A Royal Mint proof.

Obv. As adopted design but lacking the H mint mark (fig. 12).

Rev. As adopted design but lacking the H mint mark (fig. 12).

See remarks to Charlton NB-9.

Charlton DC-17 ONE CENT 1876-H, copper-nickel. Proof; dies-6

5.81 g, 25.4 mm

A Royal Mint proof.

Obv. As adopted design but struck in copper-nickel.

Rev. As adopted design but struck in copper-nickel.

Charlton DC-18 ONE CENT 1876, bronze. Proof; dies-12

5.6 g, 25.4 mm

Obv. As adopted design. ORIA of VICTORIA, D of DEI, GRATI of GRATIA, REGIN of REGINA all show signs of recutting.

Rev. As adopted design but lacking the H mint mark. Date recut, light line touching left side of 6.

A Royal Mint proof.

Charlton DC-19 ONE CENT 1937, brass, Specimen; dies-6

3.1 g, 19.05 mm

The adopted design struck in brass at the Paris Mint on a slightly thicker planchet.

Charlton DC-20 5 CENTS 1937, brass. Specimen; dies-6

4.981 g, 21.5 mm

The adopted design struck in brass at the Paris Mint on a slightly thicker planchet.

Charlton DC-21 10 CENTS 1937, brass. Specimen, reeded edge; dies-6

2.464 g, 18.03 mm

The adopted design struck in brass at the Paris Mint on a slightly thicker planchet.

Charlton DC-22

25 CENTS 1937, brass. Specimen, reeded edge; dies-6

6.1 g, 23.9 mm

The adopted design struck in brass at the Paris Mint on a slightly thicker planchet.

Charlton DC-23 50 CENTS 1937, brass. Specimen, reeded edge; dies-6

14.9 g, 30.0 mm

The adopted design struck in brass at the Paris Mint on a slightly thicker planchet.

Charlton DC-24

25 CENTS 1937, bronze. Not a specimen; reeded edge; dies-12

5.5 g, 23.62 mm

The adopted design struck in bronze.

Charlton DC-25 5 CENTS 1942, nickel. Not a specimen; dies-12

4.6 g, 21.3 mm (opposite corners)/20.9 mm (opposite sides)

The adopted design for the 12-sided tombac pieces struck in 1942. The first 12-sided 5-cent piece for Canada.

Charlton DC-26 1 CENT 1943, copper-plated steel. Not a specimen; dies-12

3.0 g, 19.05 mm

The piece is magnetic. The adopted design.

Unpublished 1 CENT 1943, steel. Not a specimen; dies-12

3.1 g, 19.05 mm

Trial strike of adopted designs on a slightly porous planchet.

Charlton DC-29 5 CENTS 1951, chrome-plated steel. Specimen; dies-12

4.6 g, 21.3 mm (opposite corners)/20.9 mm (opposite sides)

Adopted design of commemorative coin that was struck in nickel.

Charlton DC-30 5 CENTS 1952, unknown composition, non-magnetic. Specimen; dies-12

3.8 g, 21.3 mm (opposite corners)/20.9 mm (opposite sides)

The adopted designs.

Charlton DC-31 Canada 50 CENTS 1959, tin.

Obv. Struck on a thick oversize blank with the inscription in three lines FIRST TRIAL/Oct 27th/1958

Rev. The adopted design but lacking rim denticles.

Unpublished Pieces


100 DOLLARS 1979 gold. Proof, reeded edge; dies-12

16.965 g, 27.0 mm

Obv. Adopted design.

Rev. As adopted design except globe is frosted and legend is brilliant (fig. 13).

Proof, reeded edge; dies-12

16.965 g, 27.0 mm

Obv. Adopted design.

Rev. As adopted design except legend is brilliant instead of frosted (fig. 14).


O Canada Commemorative 1981

Test Token for 100 DOLLARS, gold. 1981

0.917 gold proof, reeded edge; dies-12

16.965 g, 27.0 mm Obv. Three maple leafs in center; TEST TOKEN ROYAL CANADIAN MINT

Rev. A sheet of music with four notes.

Struck on a blank used for the 100-dollar gold coin. This test token was used to test the polished musical notes on a frosted background. It is neither a pattern nor a trial strike, but is as indicated a test token (fig. 15).


100 DOLLARS 1982, gold. Proof, reeded edge; dies-12

16.965 g, 27.0 mm Obv. All as adopted design (fig. 16).

A) Rev. Entire book frosted (fig. 16A).

B) Rev. Book frosted, maple leaf polished (fig. 16B).

C) Rev. Book frosted, Arms of Canada and maple leaf polished (fig. 16C).

D) Rev. Arms of Canada and maple leaf polished against a stippled background. Center page and edges of book are polished (fig. 16D).

E) Rev. Arms of Canada and maple leaf polished against a stippled background. Center page frosted, bottom edges of book polished (fig. 16E).

F) Rev. The adopted version of the design. Arms of Canada and maple leaf polished against a stippled background. Center page and the bottom of pages are frosted (fig. 16F).

These 100-dollar pieces are tests of various proposed finishes and therefore they are not patterns.


The 1911 Pattern Dollar

The Currency Act of 1910 provided for a silver dollar, and the Mint in Ottawa acquired a new coining press capable of striking the large-sized silver dollar. The matrix for the silver dollar was produced in 1910.7 However, the death of King Edward VII in May of that year resulted in a delay in producing the matrix and punches bearing Bertram MacKennal's portrait of King George V. The original obverse punch produced on July 21, 1911, was the "Godless" one omitting the DEI GRA: in the legend.8 In October 1911, a new matrix was cut bearing the corrected legend (see Appendix A). A letter dated December 11, 1911, confirms that the newly elected Canadian government did not approve the production of the dollar (see Appendix B). There are two known patterns in silver along with a lead trial striking. The 1911 pattern dollar is probably the bestknown of all the Canadian patterns.


A postcard by Walter Erhard, printed in Germany sometime after 1925 depicts three Canadian pattern pieces dated 1911: the silver dollar and the gold five and ten dollars. These patterns were first illustrated in the Forty-Second Annual Report of the Deputy Master and Comptroller of the Mint, I 9 II (British Royal Mint). From the accuracy of the embossed reproductions one would believe that Walter Erhard may have had access to these pieces, which were residing in the Royal Mint, London (fig. 17).

End Notes
1 R.W. McLachlan, "Patterns Struck at the Royal Mint for Canada," Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal 1908, pp. 39-50.The author wishes to acknowledge the excellent photography provided for this article by James Zagon, Ottawa.
2 "Canadian Essais or Trial Pieces," Canadian Numismatic Journal 2 (1957) pp 149-53.
3 The Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins, W.K. Cross, ed. (Toronto, 1993).
4 With the obverse die at 12 o'clock, the relation of the reverse die is expressed as a position on the clock face.
5 F. Pridmore, The Coins of the British Commonwealth of Nations to the End of the Reign of George VI, 1952, Vol. 2, Asian Territories, (London, 1962).
6 James A. Haxby and R.C. Willey, Coins of Canada (Toronto, 1987), pp. 37-38.
7 James A. Haxby, The Royal Canadian Mint and Canadian Coinage: Striking Impressions (Ottawa, 1984), pp. 97-100.
8 Haxby (above, n. 7), p. 96.


Charlton Bowman McLachlan Piece in National Currency Collection
NS-1 a - - -a
NS-2a - - -a
NS-3 11 - Yes
NS-4 7 - Yes
NS-5 13 9 Nob
NS-6 8 7 Yes
NS-7 12 11 Yes
NS-8 10 10 Yes
NS-8a 10 10 Yes
NS-9 14 - No
NS-10 9 8 No
NB-1 15 - Yes
NB-2 20 12 Yes
NB-3 - - No
NB-4 23 - Yes
NB-5 18 - Nob
NB-6 21 15 Yes
NB-7 22 - No
NB-8 24 14 Yesc
NB-9 19 16 Yes
NB-10 - - No
- 16 13 Yes
- 17a - -a
NF-1a - - -a
NF-2 28 22 No
NF-3 29 - No
NF-4 32 18 Yes
NF-5 31d 21 Yesd
NF-6 25 23 Yes
NF-7 27 25 Nob
NF-8 - - Yes
NF-9 - - Nob
NF-10 - - Yes
NF-11 - - Yes
NF-12 - - Yes
NF-13 - - Yes
NF-14 33 19 Yes
NF-15 34 - No
NF-16 35 20 Yes
NF-17 - - No
NF-18 26 24 Yes
NF-19 - - No
NF-20 - - Yes
BC-1 37 - No
BC-1a 37 - No
BC-2 36 - No
BC-2a 36 - No
BC-3 37 - Yes
BC-4 36 - No
PC-1 4 5 Yes
PC-2 4 5 Yes
PC-3 3 4 No
PC-4 6 3 Yes
PC-5 5 - No
PC-6 - - Yes
PC-7 -e 6 Yes
DC-1 38 - Yes
DC-2 - - Yes
DC-3 -e - Yes
DC-4 -e - Yes
DC-5 - - Yes
DC-6 40 - Yes
DC-6a - - Yes
DC-7 41 - No
DC-8 42 - No
DC-9 - - Yes
DC-10 43f - Yes
DC-11 - - Yes
DC-12 - - Yes
DC-13 - - Yes
DC-14 - - No
DC-15 - - Yes
DC-16 - - Yes
DC-17 - - No
DC-18 -e - Yes
DC-19 - - Yes
DC-20 - - Yes
DC-21 - - Yes
DC-22 - - Yes
DC-23 - - Yes
DC-24 - - Yes
DC-25 - - Yes
DC-26 -e - Yes
DC-27 -e - No
DC-28 - - No
DC-29 - - Yes
DC-30 - - Yes
DC-31 - - Yes
DC-32 39 17 Yes
End Notes
a Existence not confirmed.
b Reported in error as being in the National Currency Collection, Bank of Canada.
c Both plain edge and reeded edge.
d Corded edge, may be unique with this edge.
e Listed by Fred Bowman, "Canadian Essais or Trial Pieces," CNJ 2 (1957), pp. 151-53.
f Not fully described by Bowman.




Royal Mint Records—Colonial Coinage



Letter from J. Bonar, Master of the Ottawa Mint, to Mr. Evelyn Cecil, M.P. (From Christies, New York, Apr. 22-23, 1985 [Norweb Collection], 96).