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Starting New Collecting Adventures

A 1935 $5 note from the Dominion Bank.

A 1935 $5 note from the Dominion Bank.

The past month, there were no major auctions, so I reviewed smaller auctions looking for different patterns. Major auctions are dominated by deep pocket collectors looking for finest known notes and great rarities. Those collectors generally don’t review minor auctions. By looking at that action I can get a feel for what more modest collectors are looking for. They want uncirculated common notes and seek out better notes in Fine to Very Fine condition. This helps me value mid-grade notes. Folks that crave Very Fine Buffalo or Indian Chief notes are valuable to the hobby. Currently, Small Size $500 notes are in much demand in Very Fine grades, as they are in high grade in major auctions. Large Size notes are popular in all grades. Regarding Small Size notes, the amount of difficult to locate notes is amazing. If collectors follow the small auctions, they may hit pay dirt with overlooked rarities. In major auctions, too many collectors are watching. Right now, in Small Size, Red Seal $1, $2 and $5 notes are in a bit of a slump and may offer bargains. Blue Seal notes of $1, $5 and $10 notes also offer interesting challenges. Mining for Mules offers great pay offs. This is especially available at small local paper money shows. The Green Seal Federal Reserve Notes are a great source of discovery.

There are also other options in collecting, if you are interested in world notes that are close to home. Across our northern border, Canada offers interesting coins and currency. Living in Michigan, I put together a complete set of small size cents on my paper route in the 1950’s. Occasionally, a George VI note would appear, or a Devils head in QEII’s hair. If you look into Canadian offerings, you might enjoy the 1935 Dominion issue of Canada’s first Small Size notes. They come in English and French. George VI is on the $1, his Queen Mary is on the $2. These notes all have different colors. The Prince of Wales, soon to be Edward VIII is featured on the $5. His sister Princess Mary is on the $10. My favorite Canadian note is Princess Elizabeth, as a small child on the $20. The portrait is so fetching that it earned a nickname as the Shirley Temple note. A $25 note that is not actually part of the issue, but a 25-year recognition of George VI’s reign, features both the King and Queen. The Duke of York, who will become King George VI is on the $50. The Duke of Gloucester occupies the $100. The series continues with non-Royals on $500 and $1,000 notes.

Even richer, are early Canadian notes much like our Obsoletes are charter notes from all over Canada. Trains and ships are often featured. Two of my favorites include a battleship (sound familiar) the HMS Bellerophon, that fired 62 rounds in the Battle of Jutland in WWII. The second is a $5 Dominion note of 1911 featuring the passenger Train Ocean Limited traversing a western valley in Nova Scotia. The notes blue tints really make it stand out. Royal portraits are also well served and cover six Monarchs. Are you interested in more Canadian notes? If so, Email me at