Maritime Provincial Coins
Newfoundland made the decision to introduce its own decimal coinage in 1863, but the first coins were not issued until 1865, with 1, 5, 10 and 20 cent pieces, as well as $2.00 gold pieces being issued that year. 50 cent coins followed in 1870, with 100 cents equal to a Spanish 8 real. The coins were all struck in England until 1913, sometimes at Royal mint London without a mint mark, and sometimes at the Heaton mint with a small H mint mark. No coins were made from 1914 to 1916, and when coinage resumed in 1917 many of the coins were then minted at the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa with with a small C mint mark on them.
This is an extensive series of coins, with most issues having relatively low mintage. The pre-1920 coins circulated extensively, and many of the examples we see are either very worn, damages, or both. Finding nice attractive circulated specimens is often difficult, and mint state examples very difficult (nearly impossible for some dates). In spite of this, the prices can often be very reasonable relative to their scarcity when one does find them.
The last Newfoundland coins were struck in 1947 (1, 5 and 10 cent pieces) more than a year before Newfoundland joined Canadian Confederation to become Canada's 10th Province. The coins largely stopped circulating after Newfoundland joined with Canada in 1949, and most Newfoundland coins newer than 1940 are today found with very little wear on them.
Newfoundland large cents were struck from 1865 to 1936, but it is not a continuous series as there are many dates during which none were struck. All were struck with medal axis except for 1872 which was struck to coinage axis. The weight remains consistent at 5.67 grams. There were 25.53 mm except the 1917 to 1920 issues where were 25.40 mm. From 1865 to 1920 the alloy was 95% copper, 4% tin and 1% zinc but was changed starting after 1920 to 95.5% copper, 3% tin and 1.5% zinc. Most dates were struck at the Royal Mint in London England and do not have mint mark. 1872, 1876 and 1904 were struck at the Ralph Heaton and Son's mint indicated by an "H" mint mark. 1917, 1919 and 1920 were struck at the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa as indicated by a "C" mint mark.
Some examples of the 1940 NFLD one cent coins show a very distinct doubling of the date as if there were a high date over a low date. The most distinct doubling is on the 4, but all all four digits show some degree of doubling. This type is known as the re-engraved (or RE) date.
Some examples of the 1941 NFLD one cent have some doubling of the date, but not as distinctly as on the 1940's. The most distinct thing to look for on these is for some doubling along the bottom of the second 1 in the date. This type is known as the double date date.
Newfoundland struck small silver 5 cents from 1865 through to the end of the series in 1947, never adopting the large 5 cent nickel coins used in Canada after 1921, however there are many years during which these were not struck. They were struck to 15.49 mm throughout the series with the exception of 1929 and 1938 which were 15.69 grams (noting no dates were struck between them). The weight is fairly consistent through out with most dates at 1.17 grams and a few at 1.18 grams. The biggest change was that dates from 1865 to 1944 are 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper (sterling silver) and then the alloy is reduced to 80% silver and 20% copper from 1945 to 1947.
Newfoundland struck 10 cent coins from 1865 through to the end of the series in 1947, although many dates were not struck. From 1865 to 1896 these 17.98 mm and 2.36 grams, 1903 to 1912 they were 17.96 mm but still 2.36 grams. 1917 is 18.03 mm and 2.36 grams. 1919 to 1947 are 18.03 mm and 2.33 grams. From 1865 to 1944 they are 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper (sterling silver) and then the alloy is reduced to 80% silver and 20% copper from 1945 to 1947. These were struck at three different mints, with those without a mint mark being struck at Royal Mint in London England, and "H" mint mark at Ralph Heaton mint in England, and those with a "C" mint mark at the Royal Canadian mint in Ottawa, with the one exception being 1940 which does not have mint mark but which was struck at the Royal Canadian mint in Ottawa.
The great rarity in these series is the 1871 H which has a Newfoundland 10 cent obverse die but which was struck with a Canadian 10 cent die. This "mule error" mix up occured at the Ralph Heaton mint and as no 1871 H regular Newfoundland 10 cents were struck, but it is the commonest date of Canadian 10 cent during that period, it is likely the mint thought they were striking Canadian 10 cents where the mix up occured, but since they say Newfoundland on them, they are considered part of the Newfoundland series.
The Newfoundland 20 cent coins were introduced in 1865 and struck until 1912, although there are many years in which none were made. The were struck to a standard of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, with a diameter of 23.19 mm, and a weight of 4.71 grams, with a coinage die axis. It should be noted that they are approximately 20 lower weight than a Canadian 25 cent coin of the same period, which is fitting since the denomination is also 20% lower. Those with the H mint mark were struck at the Heaton mint in Birmingham, and all others were struck at the Royal mint in London.
The reference books list three varieties for the 1899 Newfoundland 20 cent, the hook 9's, large 9's and small 9's. The hook 9's is a distinct variety and we will list them as that when we have them. Having now examined both the illustrations in the reference books, and many of the coins, we have concluded that there are no "small" and "large" 9 varieties, but rather the differences people have noted are due to metal spreading during wear, not how the 9's were engraved into the dies. What does exist is a minor difference in the T in the word "CENTS" on the reverse, where the bar at the bottom of the T is slightly longer to the right on some than others, but we consider this a very minor variety and not really worth being listed separately. As such, we will now only list them as either just 1899 or 1899 hook from now on.
1912, the only date during which the 20 cent was struck under George V, has exactly the same size, alloy and weight as the earlier issues, but the die axis was changed to medal axis.
TWENTY FIVE CENTS
1917 saw two changes in these coins. The first was that coins would now be struck at the Royal Canadian mint in Ottawa, most likely to avoid having to ship precious metal across the Atlantic during World War I. The second was to increase the denomination from 20 to 25 cents which would allow them to circulate freely side by side with Canadian 25 cents coins. It was also necessary to raise the weight from 4.71 grams to 5.83 grams, and the diameter from 23.19 mm to 23.62 mm, so that they were now the same standard (struck on the same blanks) as a Canadian 25 cent of the period. The C mint mark of the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa as also added, and these coins struck to a medal die axis on the Canadian coins of this period.
Newfoundland struck 50 cent coins from 1870 through to 1919, although many dates were not struck. From 1897 until 1911 these 29.85 mm and 11.78 grams. From 1917 to 1919 they were 19.72 mm and 11.66 grams. All dates are 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper (sterling silver). These were struck at three different mints, with those without a mint mark being struck at Royal Mint in London England, and "H" mint mark at Ralph Heaton mint in England, and those with a "C" mint mark at the Royal Canadian mint in Ottawa.
Newfoundland struck $2.00 gold coins in 1865, 1870, 1882, 1880, 1882, 1882, 1885 and 1888. All are 17.98 mm and 3.33 grams of 91.7% gold and 8.3% copper (22 K gold) and have a coinage die axis. All years except for 1882 were struck at the Royal mint in London with 1882 being struck at the Ralph Heaton mint (with the H mint mark).
New Brunswick first issued coins in 1861, with a denomination set based on the Province of Canada issues of 1858-1859. The silver coins used the same reverse designs as the Province of Canada issues, except the 20 cent with a design from a pattern originally rejected by the Province of Canada. The bronze 1 and 1/2 cents used the same basic designs as the Nova Scotia coins (with just the name changed), but it is interesting that the 1861 1/2 cent was minted in error due to confusion at the Royal mint. They had never actually been ordered, but were put into circulation after 200,000 of them arrived in New Brunswick.
Several people have commented to us that they have New Brunswick coins dating prior to 1861 and in 1/2 or 1 penny denominations. Those items are technically tokens rather than coins, and are listed on our Canadian tokens page when we have them available.
In 19th century Nova Scotia the most common coins in circulation were British. When the government determined a need for their own coins struck them to the same diameters as the British farthings and half pence of the day at 20.65 mm for the 1/2 cent and 25.53 mm for the 1 cent. Both were struck of an alloy of 95% copper, 4% tin and 1% zinc with the 1/2 cent weighing 2.84 grams and the 1 cent 5.67 grams. They use the same obverse design as the equivalent British coins, but the reverse designs were a central crown with the date below, surrounded by a wreath with "NOVA SCOTIA" below and the denomination above. The 1/2 cents were struck in 1861 and 1864, while the 1 cents were struck in 1861, 1862 and 1864.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
In 1871, two years before joining with the Canadian Confederation, Prince Edward Island issued 1 cent coins, as it's only independent coinage. The obverse portrait of Queen Victoria is the same as seen on Canadian coins of this period, but with a different legend that reads "VICTORIA QUEEN 1871". The reverse shows an Island on which stands a tall Oak Tree representing England, and three smaller trees representing PEI's three counties. The Latin phrase "PARVA SUB INGENTI" meaning "The small under the protection of the great" occurs below and has been the Islands motto nice 1769.
2,000,000 of these were struck at the Heaton mint in England but do not bear the normal "H" mint mark one would expect. It has been recorded the coins were not well received and it took almost 10 years for the government to put them all in circulation, although one should consider how large the mintage was relative to the small population of the island in 1871.
Some years ago a hoard of choice uncirculated examples were found at the Heaton Mint, which were extremely well struck lustrous coins which are occasionally incorrectly offered for sale as specimen strikes. These business strikes have a small area of bare ground just to the bottom right of the oak tree, which the much rarer specimen strikes do not.
They are struck to the same standard as the Canadian large cents of the period at 25.4 mm and 5.67 grams of 95% copper, 4% tin and 1% zinc. These are the same alloy and weight as the NS and NB 1 cents, but the flans are very slightly thinner and broader.
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