Die Cracks on 1920 Canada Large Cents

Canadian large cents are a popular aspect of our country’s numismatic scene; their attraction may be due to any combination of factors – their size, the fact that they haven’t been issued since 1920 or cents at all since 2012, and that they’re still relatively inexpensive to collect.  We see them in our auctions and via our storefront, the Coin Cabinet in Moncton.  Since we’re going through a new collection of large cents to prepare them for sale, we thought, in the interest of education, our readers may enjoy it we posted some of the findings on our Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. blog page.  Today we’ll look at some die cracks found on 1920 large cents.

George V large cents are a pretty easy series to assemble for date-set collectors.  They were issued from 1911 to 1920 with no real key dates or major varieties.  In 1920, before switching over to the small cent, 6,762,247 were struck.  We went through 210 of them ranging in grade from VG to VF and found 25 with die cracks on either the reverse or obverse.

large cent leaf numbering

Here’s the leaf numbering we’re using.

Here are three similar cracks extending down from the 13th leaf.  The first two appear as though they could be from the same die.  It’s worth noting that Jack Griffin’s book, Dominion of Canada Die Varieties of Edward VII and George V Large Cents – Monograph No. 3 estimates the number of die pairs for the 1920 large cent at 39.


This light crack is similar to the third crack in the previous group, but extends past the vine to the leaf below.


The crack extends from the same leaf to the vine below then attaches to the rim.

Version 2

This is interesting in that it comes very close to forming a retained cud.


This extends closer to the tip of leaf 13 and down through leaf 12.

This crack starts above leaf 13 and extends down, almost reaching leaf 11.


This fine crack extends just below leaf number two.  Even under 10x magnification with a triplet loupe, it resembles a scratch, but the macro photography shows a die crack.


And this one is located just below leaf four.

This is a three-pronged set, at the top and right side of leaf 5 (second photo above), extending to leaf 6 (first photo above).

These cracks, extending from the rim to the fifth leaf and continuing through it’s centre seemed to be quite common with a total of eight found.

Moving to the obverse, this coin has a crack through the E in “ET” and along the base of “IMP.”

This coin has die cracks throughout “GEORGIVS.”

Another coin has cracks through the base of “ET IND.”  Found two others (not pictured) that may be possess the same cracks, but at earlier stages.


Then this last coin had scratches on many areas of its obverse, but a legitimate, nice-sized die crack near the base of George V’s bust.

We hope you enjoyed this bit of a study of the 1920 large cent die cracks.  Feel free to let us know if you’d like to see more of this sort of post.  Numismatics is a hobby with a lot to offer and a lot to learn at every level.



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