This book represents and identifies the value of different Canadian coins and their varieties. Since 1858, Canada (formally called “The Provinces of Canada” and “The Dominion of Canada”), with the 1867 Canadian constitution, produced coins to facilitate trade among the citizens. To eliminate the numerous tokens and bills made by different banks and colonies throughout Canada, it was decided in 1853 that Canada would adopt a decimal coinage system. This system was chosen instead of the English monetary system to facilitate the exchange with the United States which was already using the decimal system.
In addition to accommodate the exchanges, the coinage system was designed using British rules for coin production. Each denomination would have their own characteristics, and they would apply to every coin minted in a given year. With the different methods used to make coins, some reproduction of dies and punches made coins slightly different in the same year. This resulted in what we call a coin variety.
To produce a coin, there is inserted a piece of metal between two other harden pieces of metal called dies. With the application of great pressure the resulting piece of medal acquires the positive image that was in negative on the dies - a coin has been produced.
With the repeating of this process over thousands of times, dies soon deteriorated, losing the crispness in details and new dies have to be made. The dies are made in much the same way as coins; by pressure applied from harder metal - they are called punches.
The positive image of the punches appears its negative image on the dies, which delivers positive images on the coins. Just like the dies, punches deteriorate after a few thousand dies have been produced and thus new punches must be produced. These are made the same way as dies and coins with pressure - that first one made is called matrix. The matrixes are created by an engraver and the originator of the design. Sometime the engraver forgets small details’ trying to reproduce another matrix resulting in another type of variety.
During the first years of production of Canadian coins, the same matrixes were used for several years. The matrix contained only the three first numerals of the date, the last one being added on the punches. These numerals were often different or not aligned with the others numerals of the date, resulting in another coin of a different variety. When the coins were made at the Heaton Mint of London, as in Canada, at the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg instead of the Ottawa facility, mint marks were added. Also in the new plated steel coins, another mint mark was added. Many varieties were created over the years from these different minting activities. It also happened that dies of a past year were used in error even if the designated design had changed. This can be seen in the 1973, 25 cents coin which had the Queen Elizabeth's portrait slightly different in two sizes.
The coins that have been badly struck (misalign dies – wrong metal used – trial strikes, etc.) are not considered a variety, they are considered an "error" coin. Sometimes, dies and punches were struck many times without a piece of metal between them (Clashed Dies) so the designs appear on both opposing dies and subsequently on the next inserted piece of metal. There can be rotation when multiply die strikes to a coin are used to bring up the details. In between striking, if the coin rotates, a doubled “out of position” image appears. This type on error can be seen in the 1967 1 Dollar coin.
There are "error" coins called "off center" (where only a part of the design is visible on a coin, the rest is blank), "Die Rotation" (where obverses and reverses are not properly aligned), "Wrong metal planchet" (where a coin has been struck on another type of metal than it was supposed to be struck on), "Double Date" (where you can clearly see the date struck twice), "Clip Planchet" (where a coin is incomplete and has a missing piece metal), "Grease" (where a substance was caught between the die and the coin when the pressure was applied).
Most "error" coins are unique or at a maximum they were made in very limited quantities. They all originate from a malfunction of a machine. “Varity” coins originate from human error. Most of the "error" coins are not listed in the printed version of the book, only coins and varieties of coins are listed. With help of friends and by spending lots of time looking and searching coins, I finally wrote a book. The first edition was released on February 28th 2003 and now the eleventh edition of the Book of Canadian Coins and Their Varieties is now available. The On-Line version has the error coins reported to us so far with an approximate value based on the type of error.
The book has now passed the 800 pages with better quality pictures. 2014 coins have been added, new varieties and a new online version. The On-Line version also offers a chance to manage your coin collection. Reports can be made with real-time values, Don’t need to wait until the next edition is released to have the new coins, varieties, errors and coin value.