by Björn Schöpe
January 16, 2014 – When Canada abandoned the gold standard in 1914 it was left with some 246,000 gold coins. These coins were stored in security vaults and since then appeared only in tables itemising the country’s public assets. Therefore, gold coins from this epoch which had circulated once have been much in demand as collectors’ items.
Hence it caused quite a sensation when the Royal Canadian Mint announced that it planned to sell the 30,000 best preserved items of this treasure. Collectors became attentive and reportedly nearly every single of the $5 and $10 coins was sold to a new owner last autumn. The cheapest pieces were $5 coins for 500 dollars, but the range went up to 12,000 dollars for the premium hand selected set composed of six coins. Whether the price is justified or not is disputed. Anyway, some collectors fear that the enormous inflow of coins from the epoch may lead to a devalorisation. In any case it is still to early for a prediction. But there is another question to be answered: What will happen to the other 216,000 coins?
The Canadian Mint has declared right from the beginning that many coins are of no value to collectors due to their poor state of conservation. The circumstances of storage or mint flaws were reasons why these pieces were not chosen for sale. It is an open secret, though, that not only collectors should be able to obtain a piece of Canadian history but also – as revealed by insight into a private agreement between the Royal Canadian Mint, the Bank of Canada and the Department of Finance – that the government aims at balancing the books. Reportedly the coins were sold making a modest profit, but a detailed report is not yet available.
It is understood that the future of the remaining historical coins has not yet been decided, although a melting down seems the most likely outcome. Further 200,000 gold coins from this time probably would let this collecting area become stale. And so this historical gold, not acquired by melting down other gold objects but directly from the Yukon or Ontario, will eventually be melted after having been stored away for hundred years and converted into new bullion products.
You can read an article on this topic on the website of The Globe and the Mail.
For more information on the mint please go to the Royal Canadian Mint website.
In December 2012 we reported on details of the range of historical coins on offer and their prices.