Wednesday, September 21 2022

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OTTAWA — The death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has collectors scrambling for rare coins and notes bearing her likeness, even as her portrait is expected to remain in circulation for years to come on silver in the whole Commonwealth.

Coin dealers say demand for rare notes and coins – like a pre-WWII Canadian $20 note featuring Elizabeth as a child or the Australian 50-cent Platinum Jubilee coin – has increased since the Queen died in Scotland on September 8.

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Inquiries have been received from seasoned collectors and novices alike wanting to commemorate the death of Britain’s longest-serving monarch, who appears on a record 33 coins around the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

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“There has been an incredible surge in demand,” said Peter Hutchison, heritage coin specialist at Hattons of London, adding that he was fielding inquiries from as far away as Australia.

Most in demand are the limited issue coins that were sold to collectors in the first place. Prices are rising as seasoned numismatists try to fill gaps in their collections and newcomers join in, Hutchinson said.

“I think we’ll see them increase significantly more now as more people enter the market and try to chase them,” he said, pointing to articles like the ‘Devil’s Head’ series of notes. from Canada in 1954 where part of the queen’s hair gives the illusion of a smiling devil.

“You just need enough people on eBay to drive up the price.”

In Australia, coin expert Joel Kandiah posted a video on TikTok this week indicating that the value of the country’s 2013 $2 Purple Coronation coin had “climbed” to A$180 ($120).

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At Alliance Coin & Banknote in Almonte, Ont., owner Sean Isaacs is gearing up for an auction this month with ‘significant’ royal-themed items, including the 1935 Canadian $20 note featuring Princess Elizabeth at the age of 8.

“It’s one of the 10 most desirable notes of the 20th century anyway, so I’ll be interested to see if there’s any fervor beyond those notes,” he said.

The estimated value of the bills Isaacs plans to auction range from around CA$300 ($226) to “a few thousand” dollars each, depending on their condition. A rare French version of the clear ticket could fetch between C$18,000 and C$22,000, he said.

Early activity is strong, with auction night expected to be the best indicator of interest, he said. In a separate online auction, a 1935 $20 note featuring Elizabeth was listed for CA$2,100 with 10 days to go.

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A LONG WAIT

Looking ahead, Isaacs expects renewed interest in all commemorative coins issued to celebrate the Queen’s reign. He is also eager to see the first coins featuring Charles as king.

“It will be another momentous day in fundraising,” Isaacs said.

But it could be some time before coins and notes displaying King Charles find their way into people’s wallets, especially outside Britain.

The central banks of Canada, Australia and New Zealand have all said banknotes featuring Queen Elizabeth will remain in circulation for years. The Canadian Mint said it would continue to mint coins dated 2022 as needed to supply the market.

According to the Royal Australian Mint, the new Australian coins will eventually feature King Charles, but not anytime soon. “Historically, coins bearing the effigy of a new sovereign were issued approximately 12 months after the coronation,” he said.

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Indeed, Commonwealth countries seeking to use the image of King Charles on coins and banknotes will likely find themselves in a queue behind Britain.

The Royal Mint and Bank of England have not yet given details, but experts expect that once the period of mourning is over, work will be underway on the designs, including the preparation and approval of a portrait of King Charles. “I suspect this process will take at least four months and possibly up to six,” Hutchinson said, adding, “They will generally aim to get the new currency and notes out before the coronation or in time for the coronation. .”

No date has been set for the coronation of King Charles. ($1 = 1.3276 Canadian dollars) ($1 = 1.4950 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa, additional reporting by Praveen Menon in Sydney, Sarah Mills in London Editing by Deepa Babington)

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