What are Changeover Banknotes?

When working with Canadian banknotes, there are lots of terms to learn: devil’s face, overprint, discovery note, and the names of various types of errors are just a few.  Another term that’s important is “changeover” and there’s no readily available definition to help any confused collectors.  Today’s Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. blog post will provide an explanation, supported with a few prominent examples from past sales to help clarify the subject.

A changeover note is a change in series, signatures, or varieties that does not cause an interruption in the serial numbering.  A desired example from the 1954 $20 Bank of Canada series is the M/E prefix.  There were 2.4 million notes printed with the Beattie-Coyne signature combination before the switch to Beattie-Rasminsky took place, with another 7.6 million notes issued.  Nice examples of either note aren’t easy to locate and they definitely command a premium.


The linked example from our Toronto Coin Expo 2018 Spring Sale, a CCCS gem unc realized $3,000 when the hammer fell.

Another signature change from 1937 created an estimated 1.5 million Gordon-Towers $20 Bank of Canada notes with an H/E prefix and an estimated 8.5 million Coyne-Towers examples.  In the same auction, we sold a gem unc piece with the latter combination for $525.

You can certainly find changeover notes on more modern series’ too.  The 1986 $5 Bank of Canada GPW prefix when the Bonin-Thiessen combination became Knight-Dodge is an example.  At our Toronto Coin Expo 2016 Fall Sale we saw an interesting error with the optical security device placed over the intaglio printing on a 1988 Bank of Canada $50 FHM changeover note.

There is lots to learn in the field of Canadian banknote collecting, but that’s what makes the hobby interesting and with new issues coming from the Bank of Canada, such as the vertical $10 that will be released later this year, there’s no danger of it becoming boring.


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