Revisiting Bank of Canada Hoard 1912-1914 Gold Coins

On November 28, 2012, the Royal Canadian Mint offered for sale to the public a hoard of Canada’s first gold coins, which had been stored at the Bank of Canada for more than 75 years.

The hoard consisted of $5 and $10 gold coins dated from 1912 to 1914. The coins had a composition of 90% gold and 10% copper, yielding net gold content of 0.2419 troy ounces for the $5 coins and 0.4838 troy ounces for the $10 coins. Besides the value of the gold content, these coins also carried numismatic premiums. Apparently only a small number of 1912-1914 gold coins were held by individual collectors, with the bulk of the coins kept out of circulation.

Approximately 245,000 of the gold coins were contained within the Bank of Canada hoard. Of this amount 30,000 coins were selected for sale to the public. The remaining coins bearing imperfections from handling or environmental conditions were to be melted and refined into pure gold.

Canada 1914 $5 Gold Coin PCGS MS64 (Reader Contributed Image)

Canada 1914 $5 Gold Coin PCGS MS64 (Reader Contributed Image)

The Royal Canadian Mint divided the coins available for sale to the public into two categories: “Premium Hand Selected” or “Hand Selected” to provide an indication of the condition of the coins. Pricing was $875 CAD or $500 CAD for the $5 Gold Coins, and $1,750  or $1,000 for the $10 Gold Coins. A six coin set of premium hand selected coins was also available for $12,000 CAD.

A summary of the coins available by date is shown below.

  • Premium Hand-Selected 6-Coin Set (140 sets)
  • Premium Hand-Selected 1912, 1913 and 1914 $5 single gold coins
    (291 coins)
  • Premium Hand-Selected 1913 and 1914 $10 single gold coins (4,869 coins)
  • Hand-Selected 1912, 1913 and 1914 $5 single gold coins (5,050 coins)
  • Hand-Selected 1912, 1913 and 1914 $10 single gold coins (18,950 coins)

At the time of this post, the RCM still has available for sale the Premium Hand Selected and Hand Selected 1913 and 1914 $10 gold coins. All other options are listed as sold out.

Shortly following the announcement of the sale, I recorded certified population figures for each of the coins to get an idea of the impact of the dispersal of the hoard. I had also noted the number of coins certified at grades MS65 and higher to see if the hoard was significantly altering the landscape in terms of conditional rarity.

The tables below show the combined number of coins certified by PCGS and NGC in December 2012 compared to May 2013. The number of coins graded MS65 or higher (Gem+) is also broken out.

Canada $5 Gold Coins
Dec 2012 May 2013 Change
Date Cert Pop Gem+ Cert Pop Gem+ Cert Pop Gem+
1912 1223 16 1543 24 320 8
1913 1060 1 1376 1 316 0
1914 430 0 770 0 340 0
Canada $10 Gold Coins
Dec 2012 May 2013 Change
Date Cert Pop Gem+ Cert Pop Gem+ Cert Pop Gem+
1912 479 13 793 13 314 0
1913 430 1 1849 1 1419 0
1914 483 1 3365 5 2882 4

The tables show a combined 5,591 additional gold coins have been certified by the major services since the dispersal of the hoard. More than three-quarters of this number are for just the 1913 and 1914 $10 gold coins. The remaining issues saw the addition of about 300 more certified examples each.

The vast majority of the new coins certified seem to have fallen into the grades of MS63 or MS64. When offered for sale or auction, most certified examples seem to carry these grades.

There was minimal movement in the populations for examples graded MS65 or higher, which was very surprising. Just 12 additional examples have been graded MS65 or higher since the release of the hoard of 30,000 coins. These examples are concentrated in just two issues, with no changes for the other four issues.

While not every coin from the hoard has been or will be certified, these figures provide some insight as to where the landscape has shifted (and where it hasn’t) for Canada’s first gold coins.

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  1. saucexx says

    Any idea on the grading differences between hand selected and premium HS? For example were the HS selected primarily MS63 vs PHS at MS64/65? Or might there be a bigger gulf between them. IMO It’s almost criminal they melted the rest.

    I ordered two HS 1914 $5 and they looked pretty good to me.

  2. Louis says

    I enjoyed this post, but it would be useful to also see the data on the lower-graded coins, as others suggested.

  3. Michael Zielinski says

    I have not been able to examine a population of Hand Selected vs. Premium Hand Selected, so I cannot offer any opinion on the numerical grading difference.

    Most of the hoard coins graded did fall between MS62-MS64. It’s possible that both groups fell into this rather narrow range. However, the factor to consider is that any coins which would grade lower were not submitted to the services.

    I was hoping to have some more concrete information for this post, but this was the best that was available. The main conclusion is that the population of gems has not been significantly impacted by the release of the hoard. The numbers also provide an impression of which coins are the scarcest in supply following the release.

  4. Louis says

    Thanks very much for all this information, Michael. I plan to submit my 1914 $5 soon.

  5. saucexx says

    Thanks for the insight.

    By my numbers 19% of the total $10 coins have been graded and 17% of the total $5 ones have. It really would interesting to know what percentage of the HS VS PHS were submitted. For example there are 711 PHS $5 coins and 976 total $5 coins submitted. It could be that the PHS coins were over represented in the submissions just like you mentioned.

  6. darryl says

    There were not 140, 6 Coin sets.
    There were only about 12 of the complete sets issued at $12,000 per set.

  7. Boz says

    Is there any proof that the other coins not sold in the offering were actually melted? If so, when did the melting occur? Still more questions than answers on this deal.

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