There is more than freshly-minted gold and silver at Gainesville Coins. We also receive precious metal coins and bars from all over the world, some over 100 years old! We purchase these items from collectors, estates, jewelry and coin shops, and others – what is called the “secondary market.” In this column, I highlight gold and silver items that catch my eye as they come in the door. You never know what I might find next!
For today’s Coin Explorer Corner, I’m taking a look at coin I’ve been following since they were “rediscovered” after nearly 100 years and offered to the public last Christmas. This is a 1913 George V $5 Canadian gold coin, containing .2419 troy oz of gold. It isn’t really the gold content that makes this coin desirable, but rather the history and historical significance it possesses.
The Klondike gold rush provided the force to get a Canadian branch of the Royal Mint approved, so that Canadian gold could be refined domestically instead of paying the US for refining. Opening in 1908, the Ottawa Mint began minting the first domestically-produced Canadian coins. By 1911, the mint’s gold refinery was finished, and the next year the first and only series of Canadian circulating gold coins started production.
These coins were minted between 1912 and 1914. The start of the First World War halted gold coin production, as the Ottawa Mint began refining and making gold bars to finance the British Commonwealth war effort (the world was still on the gold standard back then, remember.) The Canadian government, needing collateral for war loans, recalled all gold coinage and used it as part of the national gold reserves. These coins, many never released to the public, spent WWI in the vaults of Canadian banks or in the custody of the Finance Ministry, until they were all packed into canvas bags and sent to the Bank of Canada in the 1930s.
In 2012, the Royal Canadian Mint announced that the coins would be hand-sorted, and the best ones offered to the public (the rest were melted and refined to make Gold Maple Leaf coins.) This 100-year old coin is one of those, the first Canadian coins made of Canadian gold.