Chartered Banknotes of the Royal Bank of Canada

With the recent success of the extensive Gannet Collection at Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd.’s Toronto Coin Expo 2018 Fall Sale it seems like a great time to focus on some possible collecting strategies. The availability of so many scarce and rare banknotes can be overwhelming, so highlighting specific collections can be valuable to any level of collector.  Let’s start by looking at some chartered banknotes from the Royal Bank of Canada.

Canada’s largest financial institution began in 1864 as the Merchant’s Bank of Halifax.  Merchants Bank of Halifax notes are extremely desirable and many are very rare.  Royal Bank of Canada notes were first issued in 1901 when the institution changed their name to something more distinctive and national.

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Admiring banknotes of the Royal Bank it’s easy to see why collectors are drawn to them; their deigns are eye catching, stoic, and memorable.  What collector wouldn’t want a battleship note to show off?  This 1913 $10 note easily realized its estimate in the sale.

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Now firmly established, in 1927 the bank chose to feature important officials in their banknote designs.  This $20 with vignettes of C.E. Neill and Herbert S. Holt, and the scarcer Neill signature, was a bargain in Toronto.

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The notes of 1935, the year the Bank of Canada began issuing notes, essentially foretelling the nigh end of chartered banknotes in Canada, saw a reduction in size.  The $5 featured Morris W. Wilson and Sir Herbert Holt, as can be seen in this uncirculated example from our sale.

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When the Royal Bank took over the Union Bank of Halifax in 1910 they delved into operating branches in the British West Indies and these issues are of great interest for collectors.  A rare and lovely Jamaica one pound note in EF hammered at $6,500 at the Toronto Coin Expo auction.

This short article is hardly an exhaustive list for the banknotes of the Royal Bank of Canada, but it shows how a nicely assembled auction of high-quality numismatic material can assist in guiding you toward a focused collection.


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