Gold Five Dollars, 1912-1914, Circulation Issue.
OBVERSE: Portrait of King George V, designed by Sir Edgar Bertram Mackennal, an Australian sculptor whose work is initialed "B. M." Some catalogues (e.g., Krause NumisMaster) erroneously capitalize the "K" in Mackennal's patronymic Scottish last name.
REVERSE: Canadian coat of arms superimposed over two maple boughs, designed by W. H. J. Blakemore. The online coin catalogue numista.com comments that "this reverse is considered as the most beautiful on a Canadian coin."
The Canadian coat of arms from this era is quartered into the shields from the four original provinces at the time of Canada's independence on July 1, 1867: Ontario (upper left: St. George cross / maple leaves), Quebec (upper right: fleurs-de-lis / lion passant / maple leaves), Nova Scotia (lower left: thistles / salmon / thistle), and New Brunswick (lower right: lion passant / ancient galley).
Coinage for domestic Canadian use and bearing Canadian imagery was first approved by the Ottawa Mint Act in 1901, with the first coins being produced after the opening of the Ottawa mint in 1908. Canadian coins were previously minted at the British Royal Mint in London.
The design for $5 and $10 gold pieces was approved in 1911. The coins would use only Canadian gold. The Ottawa mint's refinery, needed for bringing the rough gold supplied by Yukon and Ontario gold mines up to coinage standards, was also completed in 1911. The first $5 and $10 coins were minted in 1912.
The mintages of all three dates in this set are relatively small, with 1914 being the scarcest. Total 3-year mintage is 295,634 coins. (Also, total 3-year mintage of $10 coins is 364,059.)
In 1914, Canada suspended its Gold Standard with the outbreak of World War I. Circulating gold coins were gathered up by the Government of Canada, and uncirculated coins retained, to assist the war effort.
Ninety-eight years later, on November 28, 2012, the Royal Canadian Mint offered the better examples in the hoard for sale to the public. Of the sold coins subsequently submitted to NGC and PCGS, almost all were graded MS 63 and MS 64. The RC Mint melted down the lesser-quality coins in the hoard in early June 2015, without attempting to sell them. In all, 5,761 $5 gold pieces were sold to the public, and 35,341 were melted down. Also, 24,239 $10 gold pieces were sold and 179,881 were melted down.
Both NGC and PCGS have placed their graded examples in special identifying holders ("Bank of Canada Hoard" NGC; "Canadian Gold Reserve" PCGS).
The examples in this set are all from the original release in 1912-14 and not from the 2012-released hoard.
Weight 8.3592 g. Diameter 21.6 mm.
Thickness 1.8 mm. Purity 900 fine.
Gold content 0.24187 ounce.
Canadian $5 gold pieces are identical in weight, size, purity, and gold content to contemporary US $5 gold pieces.Read more...