Gary Miller's For What It's Worth Q&A

Gary Miller, a veteran, second-generation coin dealer, joins the Wayback Times for a Q&A for readers. Do you have a question about coins and related collectibles? Send Gary an email He will advise you on the history of your coin and estimate its value.
William Brand of Mississauga, Ontario, asked me to tell him a little about this bank note.
The United States has a very interesting history when it comes to the production of banknotes. While there are Federal Reserve notes, there have been Treasury notes, United States notes, Fractional currency as well as Gold and Silver Certificates.

The note pictured here represents a fascinating series known as National Currency notes. President Abraham Lincoln signed the National Currency Act into law on February 23, 1863. The aim of this act was to create a sound currency system and to provide a steady market for the sale of United States bonds to help finance the enormous cost of the Civil War.
The goal was to replace the insecure issues of the state banks that were currently in circulation. In the 72 years to follow before the National Currency era came to an end in 1935, more than 14,000 hometown banks produced 17 billion dollars worth of “Nationals” as U.S. currency collectors know them.
The issuing banks were required by law to hold treasuries or United States bonds and were permitted to circulate notes with the bank’s title along with the city and state of the bank’s location. This privilege had the effect of nearly doubling the money supply and, for every dollar paid in, the government had a dollar to spend and the backs had 90 cents to loan.
This particular note is a one-dollar bill from the first series and is dated 1865. It was issued under the Second National Bank of St. Louis, Missouri. The central design shows Concordia shaking hands before an altar, while the back of the note has the “Landing of the Pilgrims” as its central motif.
Collecting National notes can be a fascinating and challenging endeavor. With so many issuing banks, many collectors choose to seek out notes from their town, county or state. There are many smaller banks, particularly in the west, whose issues are extremely rare and sought after.
This note is in Fine condition. It is a popular first issue and would sell for about $1,000 U.S.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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A longtime friend, Mike Rogozinsky of Empire Auctions in Toronto and Montreal, had a very important and impressive ancient coin come up on the auction block in early December. He was kind enough to allow me to share some of that story with our readers.
It would have being issued at Alexandria, the capital of Egypt in 34 BC. The obverse features a portrait of Cleopatra and below her bust is the prow of a ship and around her head is the legend Cleopatrae Reginae Regvm Filorivm ("For Cleopatra, Queen of Kings, and her Sons who are Kings"). The reverse shows Mark Antony surrounded by the legend Antoni Armenia Devicta (" Of Antony, With Armenia Conquered ")
This coin features portraits of two of the most famous and intriguing characters of this period in Rome's history. After the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC, his close friend Mark Antony, along with the Lepidus and Caesars nephew and adopted son, Octavian, set out on a campaign to avenge his death and defeat his assassins. They subsequently divided up the Roman world and took Italy for Octavian, North Africa for Lepidus and the eastern Mediterranean for Mark Antony.
While in Egypt, Mark Anthony and Cleopatra struck up a significant bond. He fathered three children with her and acknowledged her eldest son as being that of Julius Caesar's. Octavian defeated the forces of Anthony and Cleopatra at the battle of Actium in 31 BC. Mark Antony and his Queen retreated to Egypt where they ultimately committed suicide. Octavian would go on to replace the Republican system with himself as Augustus, the first Roman emperor.
The coin is quite rare and desirable and highly sought after amongst collectors of ancient coins and is ranked as one of the most important coins of ancient times. They are seldom very well struck and an important feature on these coins is a legible legend, you should be able to see part of Cleopatras name. They often turn up in worn condition and can range in price from $1,000 to $30,000 for an excellent example.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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A very interesting historical medal recently came to my attention as it was featured in the latest sale offered by one of Canada’s leading auction houses. Geoffrey Bell Auctions ( of Moncton, New Brunswick, presented a rare example of Captain Cook’s Resolution and Adventure medal of 1772 on the cover of their fall sale catalogue.
We have discussed in recent articles the purposes behind the issue and distribution of medals, but this particular medal is of great interest and historical significance.
In 1772, as Cook was preparing for his second voyage, it was proposed that a medal be produced with the express purpose of presenting it to leaders, chiefs and kings of the uncharted and unclaimed islands he would inevitably encounter. It was the idea of Sir Joseph Banks, who accompanied Cook on his first voyage as his chief scientist and botanist, who, to his great disappointment did not make the second trip.
The medal featured a portrait of King George the Third on the obverse while the reverse shows his two ships, the Resolution and the Adventure with the legend “Sailed from England March MDCCLXXII (1772). The voyage did not begin until July of that year and Cook wrote in his journal “…their lordships also caus’d to be struck a number of Medals… to be distributed to the Natives of, and left upon New Discovered countries as testimonies of being the first discoverers.”
Two thousand medals were produced in bronze or brass to be given out on the voyage along with just over 100 in silver for presentation as well as two in gold. These medals are very rare and highly prized among collectors and seldom offered. The example in the Bell sale sold for an estimated $11,500. One example was sold in Wellington, New Zealand, earlier this year and brought about $20,000 against an estimate of $3,200. This particular medal had an interesting provenance in that it was found amongst documents of a local family that had been in the area since 1840.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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A reader sent me a photo of this medal and asked me to tell him about its historical significance as well as its value. I thought it would be interesting to share with our readers as we have discussed commemorative medals in the past and this one has a Canadian connection.

Historical medals were struck to commemorate events, people and places and were presented or handed out to dignitaries, attendees and visitors and officials.

This medal is of British origin and manufacture, but it does represent an important historical event in the formation of Canada. The medal commemorates the British victories of 1758 and features an armored bust of King George II, presumed to be by the medalist J. Kirk, while the reverse shows Britannia in a car drawn by a lion with Justice and Liberty in attendance. Around are listed the campaigns, the dates and their respective commanders. At the top of the reverse it shows “LOUISBOURG /JUL.27 BOSCAWEN-AMHERST” This commemorates the Taking of Louisburg and the beginning of the end for French North America.

On June 8, 1758, Admiral Boscawen and Major General Amherst launched an assault on the fortress at Louisburg and by the end of July the French surrendered. General Wolfe was among the brigadiers involved in the successful attack and followed this battle with his victory and death on the Plains of Abraham in the battle of Quebec City in 1759.
While this is technically a British medal, it holds great interest to collectors because of its connection to British North America. There is another version of this medal featuring the British victories of 1759, which has Quebec at the top of the reverse with Wolfe.
The British Victories of 1758 was produced in gold, silver, bronze and brass. This is the bronze version, 44mm in diameter and in quite nice condition, as medals should be, and would bring about $750. An example in gold, which are quite rare, would fetch about $30,000 to $40,000.
Happy hunting and keep the emails coming.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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Historical medals are an interesting area of numismatics in that they are medallic works of art with subject matter that ranges from coronations, royal visits, art and industrial exhibitions and commemorating important people, buildings and events.
This medal is of particular interest in that it was produced in Great Britain for an exhibition held in Kurachee, India (modern day Karachi, now in Pakistan), in December, 1869, to promote the products and manufacture of the region and for the sale of locally produced cloths, wares and articles of the region. Indian medals of the Victorian era are generally rare and much sought after.
This medal is made of silver, is 45mm in diameter and would have been struck by Ralph Heaton and Sons at their mint in London. The coroneted portrait of Queen Victoria was executed by Wyon, one of the most prominent families of medalists and die engravers of the time.
The reverse features eight turbaned men clustered around a crushing bowl with a camel in the background with the legend below “Kurachee Exhibition 1869.”
The medal is listed in Puddesters catalog, Medals of British India, as number 869.3. The catalog lists it as RRR or extremely rare. This example is in remarkable condition for its age with lovely golden toning.
Medals, in general, should be in excellent condition as they were presented as awards, in this case, or as souvenirs and not intended for circulation as coins would be.
I found a similar example up for auction in England in early June that sold for 480GBP (approximately $1,000 Cdn) against an estimate of 200-300GBP. It is a truly outstanding example of medallic art with well-detailed high relief.
Commemorative medals are a fascinating area of collecting and one of my personal favourites.
Enjoy the summer and keep the emails coming. Happy collecting.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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Mrs. Holtom of Toronto writes;
"We came across a very large (about two inches) coin with a picture of George III? It was with my late father’s effects wrapped up in an old piece of cloth. I think it is bronze or copper and is quite heavy. Can you tell me something about it?"
What we have here is not a coin, but a commemorative medal. Coins generally would have a mark of value or denomination. Historical medals have been produced to commemorate all kind of events from coronations to royal visits, as well as for important people, buildings and exhibitions.
This particular medal is made of bronze, but they would often be struck in gold, silver, bronze or copper and white metal and distributed to dignitaries, politicians and other involved parties. It makes for a fascinating area of collecting with almost endless thematic possibilities.
This medal was issued to commemorate the Union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. (England and Scotland formed the Union in 1707 to create Great Britain.) It features a portrait of George III by Kuchler, while the reverse shows Britannia and Hibernia shaking hands, with the legend JUGUNTUR OPES FIRMATUR IMPERIUM (Their resources are united, the Kingdom is strengthened). The date 1 JAN MDCCI (January 1, 1801) appears below and represents the day the Act of Union became law.
The medal is in quite nice condition, as it should be. Medals were not issued to circulate and as such should turn up in an almost perfect state of preservation. Many were issued in custom fitting cases to protect them. Medals that are worn or have rim nicks or bumps are worth considerably less and should be avoided by serious collectors.
This George III medal in this condition would sell for $300 to $400. In gold, the value would be in the thousands.
Thank you for your emails, please keep them coming. Spring is here. Happy hunting.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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Hi Gary,
Can you tell me about these two medallions from the Industrial Exhibition of Toronto (CNE)? My grand- uncle and his father used to show cattle there. Were these medallions the awarded prizes? What years were they used ? What is their value today?
Thanks for any information you can provide.
Charles Eadie
Cornwall, ON
Thank you for your inquiry.
The medals are silver and are award medals from the Industrial Exhibition Association of Toronto, known today as the Canadian National Exhibition.
The larger of the two features conjoined busts of the Marquis of Lorne and Princess Louise, the fourth Governor General of Canada, surrounded by a wreath of maple leaves with the arms of the City of Toronto. Princess Louise was the daughter of Queen Victoria and she and her husband came to Canada as the Queens representatives in 1878. The medal was designed and produced around this time but the medal was used as a prize at the exhibition for many years after.
The second medal is dated 1898 and as far as I can tell it was only used for that year.
I would surmise that these medals were awarded during the 1890s and while they are not particularly rare, the fact that you know the names of the recipients makes them more valuable to collectors of Canadian medals and Toronto historical artifacts. The exhibition became known as the CNE in 1912.
It is always difficult to put a value on items that have family and sentimental connection, but l can tell you if I sold these medals individually I would ask about $150 each, but because they belong together and they can be researched I would expect you could double that estimate to about $600 for the pair.
Thank you for sharing this piece of Southern Ontario history.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), the “Great Emancipator” played an important role in the history of England. He was one of the major players in the English Civil War and in the eventual demise of King Charles I in 1649. His signature appears prominently on the execution orders.
From 1649 until 1653, members of Parliament ran the country, ineffectively in Cromwell’s opinion, which caused him to form the “Protectorate.” He dubbed himself the “Lord Protector” and enforced his Puritan beliefs on the people of England until his death on the third of September, 1658.
Coins were produced bearing his portrait in 1656 and 1658. All of the coinage of Oliver Cromwell is quite rare and much sought after amongst collectors of British coins.
I recently came into possession of this very rare gold medal commemorating his death.
The obverse features the bust of Cromwell, while the reverse shows a shepherd guarding his flock beneath a tree and includes the date of his death. It is 29 millimeters in diameter and made of 22 Carat gold and is in an excellent state of preservation.
An issued gold coin could bring between $50,000 and $300,000 making one of these gold medals among the most attainable examples available to collectors. While these medals seldom come to the auction market, a comparable specimen recently sold in a Heritage auction for $7,000 USD.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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On Sept. 9, 2015, Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reining British monarch surpassing her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria. It would seem fitting at this point to talk about her role in the monetary history of Canada.
In 1935, the newly formed Bank of Canada began issuing notes of smaller size than the old Dominion of Canada banknotes in keeping with the reduction in size of the U.S. notes starting in 1928. For this new issue, Canada chose a coloured issue to help denote the different denominations, which continues to this day.
They produced notes in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $25, $50, $100, $500 and $1,000. The $1 through $100 featured members of the royal family, including George V, Queen Mary, Edward, Prince of Wales, Princess Mary, H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth, Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI) and Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, while the $500 and $1,000 portray former prime ministers, John A. Macdonald and Wilfred Laurier respectively. These notes consisted of a unilingual issue in both English and French. The French notes were produced in much lower quantities.
In keeping with the theme, I have illustrated the $20 bill featuring a portrait of the young Princess Elizabeth. She could have only been eight or nine years old at the time and who could have imagined that 80 years later she would still be our monarch.
In 1937, a new issue of notes was ordered featuring King George the Sixth, making the 1935 a short issue lending to its rarity today and the interest it generates among collectors.
The pictured note is an English text 1935 $20 in a fairly good state of preservation and would sell in excess of $4,000 in today’s market. A perfectly centered note in absolutely perfect condition could reach $25,000.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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In Canada, between 1858 and 1921, we had a circulating 5-cent silver coin, half the size of a 10-cent piece. At this time, plans were forming to replace the small silver coin with a pure nickel coin of the same size as the U.S. nickel. The legislation was passed in May of 1921 and the mint went into production of the dies for the new coin. Once the decision was made, the mint stopped producing the silver coin and melted over three million of the denomination.

The melt was made up of most of the 1921 mintage of 2 ½ million and a portion of the 1920 mintage, making the 1921 5-cent piece one of the rarest of Canadian decimal coins. It is estimated only about 400 of the 1921 mintage survived. Some were specimen coins made for collectors in sets and the remainder of the circulation strikes were sold to visitors to the mint in 1921.

In 1922, Canada issued its first 5-cent in nickel in the form we would recognize today. The 1921 5-cent silver is one of the most sought after rarities for collectors of Canadian coins and an example, such as the one pictured here, would sell for between $7,000 and $9,000.
One of the specimen coins in perfect condition could bring as much as $75,000. I think it may be worth checking through some of your old coins to see if you own one.
Happy hunting and please keep the emails coming. Enjoy the rest of the summer.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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The 1948 Canadian silver dollar is the scarcest and most sought after of all silver dollars. They can cost a collector between $1,000 and $5,000 each and are always in high demand among dealers and collectors alike.
There is a good reason for this. Canada began making silver dollars in 1935 and continued until 1967, our Centennial year, after which they were produced in a slightly smaller size and in nickel.
Silver dollars are the most commonly collected series in Canadian numismatics and therefore many collectors want a 1948, but there were not enough produced to supply the demand, hence the high price.
Let's talk about the reason behind the scarcity of this coin. Canada produced dollar coins from 1935 until 1939 and then no coins were produced during the war years again until 1945. In 1947, India won its independence from the British Empire and that meant change was necessary for coinage of the British Commonwealth including Canada.
Prior to an independent India, the titles around the Kings head read “GEORGIVS VI D:G: REX ET IND:IMP”. The translation of this title would be ‘George the Sixth, by the grace of God, King and Emperor of India”. It was now necessary to have new obverse (head side) dies produced for all the Canadian coins. While waiting for the new dies to arrive, the Royal Canadian Mint kept producing coins dated 1947 with a small maple leaf after the date to denote the fact they were, in fact, struck in 1948.
When the new dies appeared, minus the title of Emperor of India, they began production on the 1948 coins. While most of the 1948 coins are lower mintages, the dollar was extremely low with a mintage of only 18,780 coins produced. This makes it by far the lowest mintage of any Canadian silver dollar considering that they made over 670,000 of the 1949.
It may be worth checking through your silver dollars to see if you have any of the elusive 1948s.
Other dates from the ‘40s are worth checking for also - 1945, 1947 and the 1947 with the maple leaf are all scarce. Remember, don't clean or polish any coins as you may adversely affect their value.
Happy hunting.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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From the mailbag: Al Davis of Pickering picked this medal up in a collection and asked me to tell him about it and give him an idea of its value. I thought I would share with our readers.
It is a large (over three inches) bronze commemorative medal issued by the Corporation of the City of London, England in 1855. It is from a series of 30 medals, known as the “City of London” medals made to celebrate occasions such as the opening of important buildings and the visits of foreign royalty to the city.
This medal commemorates the visit of Victor Emmanuel II, King of Sardinia, to London in 1855. The obverse features a portrait of the King by renowned British engraver Benjamin Wyon.
The reverse shows allegorical figures representing Britannia seated facing right with Londinia standing along side greeting the standing figure of Sardinia.
These medals were produced in relatively small numbers and were issued in cases and handed out to various dignitaries and guests. There were approximately 400 made and while this example does not have its original case, it is in exceptional condition.
In England, this medal would bring about 350 pounds or $600.
Thank you for the wonderful pictures and for sharing this with us. Please keep the emails and pictures coming.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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A friend recently sent me pictures of his new acquisition and it is one of my favourite medals of all time, so I thought I would share it with you. It is not a medal really, it is an order of Knighthood.
The order is called The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George and this version is the Companion order or CMG. It would entitle the recipient to use the letters after their name.
The badge of the order is a white enameled seven armed cross surmounted by a crown. On one side, a representation of St. Michael the Archangel and on the other, St. George on horseback fighting the dragon, both in remarkable multi coloured enamel. It is such an iconic British design and the enamel work is exquisite.
The award, established by George the Third in 1818, was originally designated to reward service in Malta and the Ionion Islands, but since has been amended to include those who have served well in the Foreign and Colonial affairs.
This particular award would date from just before the First World War. It is worn as a neck badge and comes with its original fitted case. Ian Flemings’ James Bond was awarded one.
If we knew more about the provenance of the award and whom it was awarded to, it would have greater value to collectors but, as it stands, it is a beautiful piece of medallic art and would sell for about $1,500.
Keep those emails coming.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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As a coin dealer, or a buyer and seller of rare coins, I often have wonderful items come across my desk that I am lucky enough to own for a very short time.
Collectors buy coins and are able to keep them for long periods of time, enjoy them and share them with friends and fellow collectors. I would like to share this coin with you as it is now in private hands and likely to stay there.
It is not often that an ancient coin of this quality comes along, which is part of the reason I owned it for such a short time.
The pictured coin is from ancient Sicily, at a time when it was part of Magna Graecia, before Italy and the Roman empire. The coinage of Greek Sicily begins in the latter part of the 6th century BC and during the supremacy of the city of Syracuse, the coins reach heights of artistic brilliance arguably unmatched any where else in the Greek world.
This coin is from the city of Leontinoi, founded in 729 BC. In the early part of the 5th century BC, it was under the control of the tyrants of Gela and Syracuse. In 466, it gained its independence and enjoyed prosperity for only a short time until it once again, in 422, fell under the influence of Syracuse.
It is a silver Tetradrachm, or 4 Drachma, weighing half an ounce, featuring an incredible portrait of Apollo of fine classical style, while the reverse shows a lion’s head with jaws open surrounded by corn ears.
It was struck during this period of independence between 466 and 422 BC. It is in absolutely mint state condition, of fine style and, thus, a magnificent ancient coin, one of the best I have ever owned. This coin sold for about $5,000 and I would expect it to appreciate greatly in value over the coming years.
Please keep sending your emails, letters and pictures.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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A friend on the East coast, who wanted to share an important item of great historical and numismatic importance, sent this medal to me. It is a 22 carat gold medal issued by the third Governor General of Canada, the Earl and Countess of Dufferin.
Frederick Temple Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood was one of the most popular and eloquent men to ever hold the office. He was born in Florence, Italy, in 1826 and chose a public career. In 1849, he was appointed Lord in Waiting to Queen Victoria and a year later served in the House of Lords.
He was appointed Governor General in 1872 and during his tenure he made a point to travel to every part of Canada. He involved himself in the job fully and wanted to meet Canadians from all walks of life and conversed easily in both French and English.
During his tenure, Prince Edward Island became part of Canada and institutions such as the Supreme Court and the Royal Military College of Canada were established. He held the office until 1878 and after leaving Ottawa served as the ambassador to the Imperial Russian court and then to the Ottoman Empire.
In 1873, Dufferin established the Governor General’s Academic Medals to acknowledge superior academic achievements by Canadian students. These prestigious awards are still given out today. He also awarded medals for sporting prizes, such as shooting, curling, skating and rowing. The medals were issued in gold, silver and bronze.
The Wyon family, Britain’s most prestigious designers and engravers on the day, designed the medals and they feature the conjoined busts of the Earl and Lady Dufferin, while the reverse exhibits the coat of arms of the Governor General. They are large medals with a diameter of 51mm or about two inches across. Many of the issued medals are engraved on the rim with the recipient’s name.
These engraved medals are all quite rare and sought after by collectors. The pictured medal is one of only two gold issued medals known to me at this time. It is very difficult to put a value on something of this rarity and importance, but I would expect it would fetch in excess of $10,000.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests and said unto them, “What will ye give me if I will deliver Him unto you?” And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. (Matthew 26:14-15)
The coin pictured here is one of the infamous 30 pieces of silver referred to in the Bible. It was minted in Phoenicia at the coastal city of Tyre.
The silver Shekel, minted between 126 BC and 66 AD, features a portrait of the God Melqart with an eagle on the reverse. Letters in the reverse field dates all these coins and this one is from year 29, which would equate to 98 BC.
The Shekels of Tyre were known to be made of good silver and were accepted at the Temple of Jerusalem for donations. There were moneychangers present at the Temple who would convert whatever monies you wished to donate into Tyre Shekels and half Shekels.
They attained a semi-official status in Israel and are considered to be a Biblical reference coin. These coins are highly sought after by collectors and ones from the dates for the birth and crucifixion of Jesus command a premium.
This particular coin is of superior quality with nice old toning and a sharp strike on a large flan. I would estimate this coin to bring about $1,200.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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Dear Mr. Miller,
I am not a collector of Ancient coins per se, but I acquired this coin several years ago. While I know it is a Roman Denarius, I have been unable to identify the Emperor and date. I would also like to know what the significance of the reverse type is and, of course, its value. I look forward to your response.

Keith Galley
Thank you for your email, Keith. You are correct that your coin is a Roman Denarius and it was struck by the Emperor Caracalla, who reigned from 198 until his death in AD 217.
I can understand your difficulty in identifying this coin as his name and titles can be quite confusing. His real name was Lucius Septimius Bassianus and he was the elder of two sons born to Septimius Severus and his wife Julia Domna in 188. His father at the time was a Roman governor and by 193 he was proclaimed Emperor.
Towards the end of 195, Severus adopted himself into the Antonine dynasty and renamed his son Marcus Aurelius Antonius and raised him to the rank of Caesar. You will notice that the naming on the coin shows ANTONINUS PIVS AVG. In 198, he was elevated to Augustus and co-emperor with his father, while his younger brother Geta received the rank of Caesar.
The reverse of your coin has the legend PART MAX PONT TR P III and shows two captives back to back at the base of a trophy. This coin represented a victory of the Parthians and we know from the titles that it was struck in AD 201.
It is interesting to note that after their father’s death in 211, tensions between the two brothers rapidly escalated leading to the murder of the younger brother. Caracalla went on to reign until 217 when an assassin killed him too. He had reigned for almost two decades and was still under the age of 30 at the time of his death.
Your coin is not particularly rare, but it is in nice condition and if I were selling it I would ask about $200.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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Kevin McKay writes,
I am hoping you can shed some light on a coin my father purchased many years ago in England. I know from what is written on the tag that it is a “George II Crown 1750 gVF 45/-“.
I was hoping to find out what a coin like this might be worth. It is very large, over 40mm and 30 grams in weight.
Your father bought a very nice coin. It is a silver Crown, or 5 Shilling piece, from 1750 struck during the reign of George II of England (1727-1760).
The Crown was the largest silver coin produced at the time and has the second portrait of George II known as the “Old laureate and draped bust.” It shows the King with his long flowing locks. The reverse shows crowned cruciform shields and it is a very popular and somewhat scarce Crown.
The tag describes the condition as gVF, which translates to good Very Fine. This is typical of conservative English grading of the time and I think it may be slightly better than that.
The 45/- is the mark for 45 Shillings, which would equate to 2 Pounds and 5 Shillings, or about $10 Canadian in the '50s. I think he made a pretty good buy and you are fortunate to own it. In this condition I would price this coin at about $2,000.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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This coin was brought to me in person recently to have it authenticated and evaluated. I had some good photographs taken of the coin and upon examination I determined it is a genuine gold 8 , minted in Spain in 1701.
It was minted at the Seville mint under King Philip V of Spain (1700-1746). The design is a large cross in quatrefoil with the date above. The reverse features crowned arms surrounded by a chain of orders, with the "Golden Fleece" at the bottom.
It was the largest size gold coin in Spain at the time, (27.5 grams and as big as a silver dollar) and is in fairly decent condition. It would be considered a Very Fine (VF) coin without any issues or damage.
I would estimate its value to be in the $4,000 range. It is a lovely coin that is seldom offered for sale.
Thank you and keep sending me those items you would like to know more about.
Happy hunting.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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Mrs. Liu of Markham, Ontario, allowed me to take pictures of her Hong Kong banknote she has protected for many years so that I might share its story.
This bill was issued in Hong Kong on Jan. 1, 1929, by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, yes HSBC and still around today. It promises to pay the bearer on demand One Dollar local currency.
It is a beautiful note engraved by Bradbury, Wilkinson and Co. of Surrey, England, and features a great vignette of Britannia to represent Hong Kong as being under British rule at the time.
The back of the note shows an allegorical figure of a woman holding a torch. The colours range from blue to purple and lilac.
This very desirable banknote is coveted by collectors of both British Commonwealth and Chinese bills. It is in decent condition and would be considered about Very Fine condition and would sell for about $150.
Do you have a question for Gary? Email him at or call 416-953-2465.
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All ancient Greek and Roman gold coins are scarce to quite rare and much sought after by collectors. This coin was one that I needed to see in person to determine its authenticity and condition, as there are many fakes out there in the market.
The coin turned out to be genuine and quite a lovely specimen. It is in the hands of a private collector and he wanted to get an idea of what it might be worth.
The coin is a gold Stater of Alexander III of Macedon, also known as Alexander the Great. He was born in Pella in 356 BC and succeeded his father Philip II to the throne in 336. He died in 323 and by that time he had founded 20 cities and conquered most of the known world.
It features a portrait of Athena wearing a Corinthian style helmet and the reverse shows a standing figure of Nike or a winged Victory holding an olive branch. It is made of high carat gold and weighs 8.6 grams.
This coin is of very fine style and is well struck and in exceptional condition. A specimen of this quality in a well-attended auction would easily sell for in excess of $5,000
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Sam Richards of Toronto approached me to authenticate an ancient Greek coin his father purchased in England many years ago. When I first saw the coin, I was very impressed with the quality and had no doubt that it was, indeed, genuine.
He asked me to explain how we go about establishing authenticity of an ancient coin and I thought it would be beneficial to our readers to understand the process.
First, a little about the piece in question. It is a Greek silver Tetradrachm or Four Drachma from Macedonia struck during the reign of Philip II, King of Macedon and father of Alexander the Great.
Greek coins of this period did not feature the likeness of living people until one of Alexander’s generals, Lysimachos, featured the head of the deified Alexander not long after his death in 323 B.C.
The portrait on this coin shows the father of the Greek gods, Zeus, bearded and wearing a laurel wreath. The reverse shows a naked youth riding an impressive horse with the name of Philip in Greek.
To authenticate this coin, I looked at it under magnification to ensure that dies struck the coin. This we can tell by the flow lines, which exhibit the way the silver would have flowed towards the edge from the impact of striking.
Many counterfeits are cast from a mold made from an original coin and do not have flow lines and often show the cast line around the edge or evidence that the edge has been filed to remove these lines.
The second test is to weigh it. During ancient times the weight of a coin was paramount. Lumps of silver of precise weight would have been prepared for striking and through examination of known coins we can determine what the exact weight should be.
Tetradrachms of Philip II should weigh 14.4 grams and this one is 14.37.
This coin is remarkable. It is in perfect mint state condition and is of wonderful style. It is truly a museum quality coin and I estimate its value to be in the range of $3,500 to $4,000.
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An Ontario collector, who wished to remain anonymous, wanted to share one of his most prized coins with our readers. He sent me some great pictures and asked me to tell a story about it.
Pictured here is a Greek Tetradrachm (Four Drachmas) from the most powerful City-state of the ancient world, Athens. This coin is historically important for a number of reasons. First, the coin itself is a magnificent example of this prolific issue and was struck between 449 and 413 B.C. It features the city goddess of Athens, Athena, wearing a crested helmet decorated with olive leaves, she has an almond shaped eye and slight smile, and her companion Owl adorns the reverse.
These were produced during the archaic period of ancient Greek coins but due to its popularity and widespread use it continued in this style for more than 150 years, despite the vast improvements encountered during the classical Hellenistic period that gave us some of the most beautiful ancient coins ever made.
The coins eventually came to be known as “Owls” and were respected and accepted all over the known world at the time because they were considered to be of good weight and silver content. They have been found in coin hoards in every region of the Mediterranean, and while they were the principal coin of Athens, they became the first truly international coin.
They circulated at a time in history when the wealth of Athens was so great that these coins financed the building of the Parthenon and would have passed through the hands of the likes of Aristotle, Hippocrates, Socrates, Plato, Pythagoras and their peers.
For many coin collectors, the Athenian “Owl” would be a prized component of their collection and to a collector of Ancient coins, a “must have.”
I want to thank this gentleman for sharing his coin with our readers.
Oh, and by the way, for what it's worth, this coin was purchased several years ago for about $3,000, and because of its extraordinary quality, I would gladly pay $4,000 for it today. An average specimen could be purchased for $700 to $1,000.
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A gentleman from Southern Ontario contacted me about authenticating a rare coin that his family owns. He asked to remain anonymous, but gave consent to allow me to share this interesting find with our readers.
The coin in question was found on the island of Bermuda by a relative in 1905 and it tells a story of the first English coinage used in the Americas.
The coinage is known as “Hogge money” and was produced for use in Bermuda, which, at the time, was known as Sommer Islands. First a little history:
Bermuda was discovered in 1505 by a Spaniard, Juan de Bermudez. On his second voyage in 1532 he was shipwrecked near the island and managed to make it ashore along with his crew and some hogs.
The hogs proliferated throughout the islands, which gave the island its first name. It was known as the Bermoothes. or the Hogge Islands.
In 1609, an English ship, the sea Adventurer, left Plymouth headed for the Virginia colony. The ship was blown off course and ended up in the Bermuda Islands, where the crew stayed for several months and claimed the island for England.
One of the crew members, Sir George Sommers, was persuaded to return to the islands in 1610 and died a year later. The islands were renamed the Sommer Islands. By 1615, a colony was founded.
In order to encourage commerce, King James I gave permission to produce coinage for the islands. The coins were crudely made in a copper brass alloy, with a silver wash in denominations of two pence, three pence, six pence and 12 pence.
The obverse shows a hog with Roman numerals for the denomination above and “Sommer Islands” around. The reverse has a ship with no legend.
All of these coins are quite rare. The coin found in Bermuda over a century ago is a six pence produce between 1615 and 1616. At present, there are only 30 some examples known and this particular coin, while not in the best of condition after spending the better part of 300 years in the ground, shows good detail and is genuine.
I have only found two examples that have sold in recent years. Heritage Auctions sold a slightly better six pence in 2008 for over $40,000.
In all the years I have been dealing in coins, this is the first time I have ever had one of these rare coins in my hand. How exciting.
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Dear Gary,
We recently found this coin all wrapped up in the belongings of my late mother and wanted to find out something about its value. I took pictures of both sides and some of the rim to show the lettering around the outside. I wanted to know if this was meant to be there. Any help you can provide would be appreciated.
Roger Westerman
Waterloo, Ontario
Thank you, Roger, for your inquiry and great photos.
The coin you have, as you probably already know, is a United States silver dollar from 1799. This is the second type of silver dollars produced by the U.S. Mint and it is known to collectors as the “Draped Bust” type.
The previous type to this is called the “Flowing Hair” type and one, dated 1794 in perfect condition, recently sold in New York for just over $10 million, a world record for a single coin.
Yours, however, is not a “Flowing Hair” type, but still a very desirable and scarce coin.
Let me tell you and our readers a little about the coin: The U.S. Mint started to produce coins for circulation in 1793. The Draped Bust design by Robert Scot began in 1795 featuring the draped bust of Lady Liberty on the obverse and the American eagle on the reverse.
In 1798, the reverse was changed to feature the “Heraldic Eagle" with a shield in the center and 13 stars above to represent the 13 states.
The edge, as you mentioned, has incuse lettering “Hundred Cents One Dollar Or Unit” with decorations between letters. It was not just a decoration, but also a security feature to prevent anyone from cutting any silver from the edge and to deter counterfeiters.
The coin in your possession in a fairly nice example and in grading terms would be considered VF or Very Fine condition. The edges are nice and the overall appearance of the coin is quite nice. It has original surfaces and has not been, nor should it ever be, cleaned.
I would estimate its retail value to be about $2,500.
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Dear Gary,
We have had this medal in the family for a very long time and I was wondering if you could give us an idea of its history and value.
Laura McCormick
London, Ontario
Thank you for your email.
The item you are inquiring about is a military medal called the North West Canada Medal 1885. It was issued to about 5,600 Canadian regular forces, 16 British officers, volunteers and members of the North West Mounted Police for service against the Métis led by Louis Riel in what was known as the Riel rebellion of 1885.
These medals were issued with and without the “Saskatchewan” bar and are all named to the recipient on the edge. Your medal is named to, what I assume is, a family member. The name on the edge is “Pte. J. J. McCormick 7th Fusiliers."
I have confirmed the naming in the medal rolls that it was issued without the bar to John J. McCormick. The 7th Fusiliers are a Canadian Militia regiment based in London, Ontario.
It is a very interesting item and would be worth about $1,000 in the retail market.
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Dear Gary,
I always enjoy reading your articles in the Wayback Times. My family is in possession of a large silver coin that we would like to find out more about. Can you tell us where it is from and how much it might be worth?
Joseph Zinner
Belleville ON
Hello Joseph,
Thank you for your email and excellent photos. The coin you have is a Crown, or 5 Shilling piece, of King George the First of England, who reigned from 1714 until 1727.
Your coin is dated 1726 and features a laureate bust of King George on the obverse and the crowned arms of England, Scotland, Ireland and the Duchy of Brunswick and Luneberg, with small roses and plumes in the angles.
George the First was born in Germany in 1660, son of Ernest Augustus, elector of Hannover and Sophia, the granddaughter of King James the First. The English Parliament favoured him over James Edward Stuart, his predecessor, Queen Anne’s half brother.
He was German and spent most of his reign in Germany and barely learned to speak English. He did however create a government that ran independently of the King and the office of Prime Minister was formed during his reign.

The coin you own is in much better than average condition and is quite scarce. This coin would grade as good Fine (gF) and would retail for about $1,000.
I hope this is of some help to you and answers some of your questions.
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Dear Gary,
I have a large silver (?) coin that says “1D” on it and has the King of Hawaii on the other side. It is dated 1883 and I think it is silver, but it has turned very dark. Can this be cleaned? Can you tell me about the coin and its value?
Mrs. Bamberg,
Mrs. Bamberg,
Thank you for your inquiry. I am glad you brought up the question of whether or not to clean coins. As a general rule, coins should never be cleaned as it is likely it will do more harm than good. Cleaned coins can lose 75% of their value and collectors will avoid buying them for their collections.
The coin in question is a silver dollar from the Kingdom of Hawaii. Only five different official coins were issued for Hawaii, including a one cent coin from 1847 and a series that included the dime, quarter, half dollar and dollar all dated 1883.
These coins were struck at the San Francisco mint and were designed by Charles Barber, the renowned U.S. coin designer. They feature the portrait of King Kalakaua and were legal tender until 1900 when Hawaii became a U.S. territory. They were then withdrawn from circulation and many were melted. They are a very sought-after coin and the catalogue value of a coin such as yours would be about $700.
Please do not attempt to clean the coin as it has quite attractive “toning,” which is coveted by collectors.
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Dear Gary,
This medal has been in our family for many generations. It belonged to my great-grandfather, who died in 1909. I know it was for the defense of Canada for the Fenian raids, but I would like to know what else you could tell me about it.
Mrs. Silvia Thompson
Ottawa, ON
Thank you for writing to me with regards to your family medal.
First, a little history: In 1865, at the end of the American Civil War, members of the Fenian brotherhood (the name of the secret society committed to violence against Britain), along with the out of work civil war mercenaries, decided to cross into Canada and stir up some trouble.
On the night of May 31, 1866, General John O’Neill and a force of 600 crossed from Buffalo to Fort Erie. On June 2 at Ridgeway they were repelled by two Canadian Militia battalions and crossed back to Buffalo.
In 1870, they again turned their attention to Canada, but were turned back all along the Quebec border and the Americans arrested O’Neill. These raids helped to unify Canada at a crucial time in her history.
The medal is officially called the Canadian General Service Medal and in all 17,635 medals were issued, all with bars marked “Fenian Raid 1866”,”Fenian Raid 1870” and “Red River 1870” when Colonel Wolsely took an expedition to put an end to the Riel rebellion. These medals were not issued until 1899 and eligible recipients had to petition the government to receive them.
All of the medals come with a bar or combination. The 1866 medals are the most common. They are all named on the edge, with the recipient’s rank name and regiment. Yours has the naming ”Sgt. W. Thompson. Como R. Co.” or Como Rifle Company (just outside of Ottawa).
There were many small units such as this one and a medal like this, with its original ribbon, would sell for about $850.
Thank you for sending it and I hope I have answered your question.
Gary Miller
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Dear Gary,
We have a United States 20 dollar gold coin dated 1924. I have sent professional pictures of it so you can assess its value. Thanking you in advance for any information you would be able to give. I always enjoy your column.
Mrs. Sara Beeton
Thank you Sara, it is always a pleasure for me to help where I can.
I have chosen your email for two reasons; the first is for the excellent photos you have provided and, secondly, this has always been one of my all-time favourite coins.
Your US $20 gold was designed by Augustus St. Gaudens and is widely acclaimed to be one of the most beautiful coins ever produced. They were first produced in 1907 as the new design for the new 20 dollar gold or “Double Eagle” (The Eagle is the name given to the $10 gold coin).
From 1907 to 1911, it had 46 stars on the obverse featuring Lady Liberty, and then in 1912 it went to 48 stars with the addition of Arizona and New Mexico that year. They were made until 1933, which is extremely rare due to the fact that most of that year’s mintage was melted down and only a few survive.
Ten years ago, a 1933 sold at a Sothebys/Stacks sale for over $7.5 million and there is a very interesting story about this coin if you would like to do a little research.
This 1924 St. Gaudens $20 is in mint state or uncirculated condition and while not rare (over 4 million coins were produced) it is still a sought after coin and would be worth about $3,000 in the marketplace.
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Dear Mr. Miller,

I have had this coin for some time and it has always been a favourite of mine, but I know very little of its value. I know it is a coin of Elizabeth the First and it is large and silver. I would like it if you could tell me more about it and what it would be worth.
David Shuttleworth.
Dear David,
Thank you for your letter and the excellent photos. You are correct, it is a coin of Elizabeth I of England and it is a silver crown. Elizabeth reigned over England from 1558 until her death in 1603. She had the longest reign of any British monarch and was instrumental in cementing England as a world power.
The coin you have is a nice example of a fairly rare issue. It features a great half-length bust of the Queen with the arms of England on the reverse. The British mint produced these “Crowns” or 5 shilling pieces only in 1601 and 1602.
Your coin bears the mintmark “1” for 1601 and although it is more common than the 1602, it is a very desirable coin sought after by collectors of both English coins and European Crowns. It would be considered to be in Very Fine (VF) condition and would have a value of about 4,000 pounds or about $6,000 Canadian.
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Gary Miller:
I have had many letters and emails regarding World War I medals over the years that have been responded to individually. I thought it might be time to provide a little general information for those who may be interested.
When WWI broke out in August of 1914 with Britain’s declaration of war against Germany, Canada was automatically involved.
At the time, we had a small standing army and a much larger militia. Canada eventually sent more that 600,000 men and women to war including soldiers, nurses and chaplains.
Within two months of the beginning of the war, a Canadian contingent was on its way to Europe. Most of the contingent was made up of volunteers as conscription did not begin until 1917 and, by that time, Canada had distinguished itself as among the most effective and respected forces on the western front.
The British government issued medals to the Commonwealth and British troops for their participation. These medals, unlike WW2 medals, were inscribed on the edge with the serial number, rank (highest recorded), name and unit of the recipient.
This is what makes these medals so collectible; while all WWI pairs and trios look the same, the value can range from $50 for a British pair to $100 for a common Canadian pair, to many thousands for rare Canadian medals.
The silver British War medal was given to approximately 6.5 million in total while only about 428,000 of those were issued to Canadians.
There was also a gold-coloured Victory medal with the BWM and some Canadians also received the 1914 (200) or the 1914-15 (71,150) Stars for being in the theatre of war before the end of 1915. The stars, as part of a trio are scarce to very rare to Canadian recipients.
Medals named to officers have their rank and name but no unit and are obviously more scarce than those to other ranks. The pair pictured are named as follows; 3034667 PTE. F. CROSER 3-CAN.INF (3rd C.E.F. Toronto).
Some of the most common medals were issued to the CASC (Canadian Army Service Corps), while the most rare are named to 2-STA.HOSP.C.A.M.C. (2nd Stationary Hospital Canadian Army Medical Corps). These were mostly issued to nursing sisters and medical staff, 160 of whom received the 1914 Star along with the WWI pair.
Some of the other named units include 260 numbered infantry battalions, the C.A. (Artillery), CMR. (Mounted Rifles), RCN and RCNVR. (Navy and reserve), C.E. (Engineers), CSEF (Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force) and many, many more.
I am always happy to answer emails to give you an idea of the value of CEF (Canadian Expeditionary Force) medals. There is a lot of good information online at about the Canadians who served so bravely in World War One.
Lest we forget!
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Dear Gary,
I picked up a foreign coin in an auction lot of mostly Canadian coins and banknotes that I would like to know something about. It is silver, I believe, and large like a silver dollar, weighs about 25 grams and is dated 1923. It says Danzig, which I have heard of, but I have no books on world coins. Can you tell me about it and what it is worth?
Kurt Spacek,
Mississauga, On
Thanks for the email. You have a 5 Gulden from the Free State of Danzig minted in 1923. Danzig or Gdansk is an important seaport located on the northern coast of Poland. It has at different times through history belonged to Prussia, Russia. Pomerania and the Teutonic Knights. From 1587 until 1772, it was part of Poland.
There is a strong connection between Polish collectors and Danzig. It was a free city from 1919 to 1939 during which time most of its coins were made.
Your coin is the first 5 Gulden produced and it features the Marienkirche or marine church on the obverse, while the reverse shows the shielded arms of Danzig supported by two lions.
It is a scarce and desirable coin and one in the condition yours is in, would sell for about $700 to $1,000. Depending on what was in your Canadian auction lot, this may be one of the more valuable.
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Dear Mr. Miller,
I hope you can help us with an item that my father bought many years ago. We have the description as it was written on the original ticket and we would like to know if (a) is it real in your opinion, and (b) what might it be worth today?
The tag reads as follows. “ANNA 1R 1737 Ttb 120Fr”. I know he must have purchased it in the ‘50s or early ‘60s.
Mike Irvine,
Windsor ON
Dear Mike,
Thank you for your inquiry. I receive many emails about all kinds of coins and I try to pick the most interesting ones to feature in For What It's Worth.
Your father bought, many years ago, a lovely Russian Silver Rouble for the reign of Anna Ivanova (1730-1740). She was the daughter of Ivan V and niece of Peter the Great.
The tag describes the coin, in French, as Tres tres beau. This is a French grade that would equate to Extremely Fine (EF) in our grading system and I would be inclined to agree. It also says that he paid (or, at least, it was marked at) 120 French Francs, in today’s money that would be about $25.
The coin features the fantastic heraldic double-headed eagle with the shield of St. George on its breast with the date and the denomination in Cyrillic. On the obverse is a right facing portrait of Anna with her titles.
It has nice old toning which is very desirable with collectors (don't ever clean it) and is well struck. The Russian market has been remarkably strong these last few years and I would price this coin, if it were mine, for about $1,000.
Not a bad return on your father’s investment.
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Dear Gary,
I've seen your column in the Wayback Times and I always enjoy reading it. I wonder if you could help with a coin I have. I know where it is from, India, but I would like to know the value of this coin as well as a little information on why it is in the name of the “East India Company”. It is a One Rupee coin dated 1840.
Thank you, in advance, for your time.
Michael Moroz,
Waterloo, ON
Thanks for your inquiry and it is an excellent question. The coin is, as you stated a silver One Rupee from India and is in better than average condition. The Indian coin market has been heating up for the last few years and these coins are now starting to bring fair prices.
For the longest time I had always believed that Indian coins, while very beautiful and similar to the Canadian series, were well under-priced. In recent times, as India’s economy has started to expand, there has been more interest in collecting their coins and banknotes.
Your coin is in excellent condition with nice toning (as silver oxidizes it will get darker in colour, which is desired by collectors and is the reason we always say never clean coins), in today’s market I would price this coin at about $75.
The East India Company has its roots in England and originated under Queen Elizabeth I in 1600. It was formed as a trading company operating mainly in India and China and successfully exploited the riches of India for over 250 years. They traded in cotton, silk, spices, tea, gemstones and even opium. Their monopoly lasted until 1858 when the British crown took over administration of India until their independence in 1947. The East India Company’s rights in India included the striking of coins in the name of the British monarchy.
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Dear Gary,
We have this old Confederate bill and have never had it checked out by an expert. We would like to know a little more about it, like is it real? What is it worth? What can you tell us?
Jonathan Cutler,
Thank you for your email,
You have a 50-dollar bill issued by the Confederate States of America in Richmond, Virginia, on February 17, 1864. It has the portrait of Jefferson Davis, the president, in the center. The Confederate States and the individual southern states printed promissory notes, beginning in 1861, to help finance the war effort and they were traded back and forth as currency. By the time the war ended in favour of the Union army in 1865, all the existing currency suddenly had no value. In general, the earlier notes are a little more valuable as many 1864 notes became surplus very quickly. Your note is in quite good shape and is genuine. This note would sell for about $100, whereas a United States $50 would bring thousands.
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Dear Gary,
I've had this old 50 dollar bill since I was a little girl. It was even misplaced for many years, but here it is again. Can you tell us something about it? It is still legal tender? Does it have any collector value?
Mrs. A. Monoghan
Oshawa, ON
Hello Mrs. Monoghan,
Thank you for your email. You have a Bank of Canada 50 dollar bill from the 1937 series, which, in its day, would have been a lot of money. It is in fairly decent condition for its age and I would consider it to be in Very Fine (VF) by current grading standards. J.E. Coyne and G.F. Towers, who signed notes for the Bank of Canada from the late 40s until a few years in to the reign of Queen Elizabeth, signed it as deputy governor and governor. The note depicts King George the Sixth and is written in both French and English text. It is a vibrant orange colour and has a minimum of wear and would sell for about $120, or perhaps a little more. Keep it flat, in a protective plastic sleeve, and enjoy it.
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Dear Gary,
The group of medals and badges we are sending photos of belonged to my uncle who was a “Green Beret” with the U.S. army during the Vietnam war. We have had them for over 20 years and would like to know a little about what their value might be. Can you help us?
Ken Ferguson
Hi Ken,
Thank you for your email and photos. Your uncle, Frank R. Yoder, served with the U.S. Special Forces (Green Berets) during the early years of the Vietnam War, from about 1962-66. He was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Vietnam Service Medal as well as three medals issued by the government of South Vietnam.
Also included are his marksmanship badge, his dog tags, some of his patches and a Zippo lighter from a Special Forces base. It is nice to see such a complete Vietnam service group to a Green Beret and especially nice that the two stars and the Purple Heart are all engraved with his name and serial number. Groups such as these are in high demand these days and I expect that this group, in a well publicized auction, would fetch around $1,000 or a little more. Thank you for sending this to me, it is very exciting to see.
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Hello Gary,
We have in our possession a large silver coin dated 1747. We have no idea how we came to own it, or where it is from. It is about the size of a silver dollar and just as heavy, with a portrait of a woman. The writing on the coin is likely not English. What can you tell us about this, where is it from and what might it be worth.
Chris Ridderbusch
Cambridge, ON
Hi Chris,
What you have is a lovely silver Rouble from Imperial Russia minted during the reign of the Czarina Elizabeth Petrovna. She was the daughter of Peter the Great and she literally took over the throne from her cousin Anne in 1741. She reigned effectively until her death in January 1762 at the age of 53. It has the portrait of Elizabeth surrounded by Cyrillic lettering and the reverse shows the Imperial Russian eagle. It is, as you said, dated 1747 and struck at the St. Petersburg mint. While it is not particularly rare, it is a nice example, and the Russian market is still very strong, I would expect that this coin would sell for $400 to $500. Thanks for your inquiry and I hope this helps.
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Dear Gary,
We have a gold coin dated 1776 with a portrait of George III on one side and a shield on the other. It is about the size of a quarter. We would like to know more about it as far as what it is and what its value might be. We have attached photos of both sides for you.
Elizabeth Rogers,
Milton, Ontario
Elizabeth, thank you for your query.
The coin you have is a very nice example of an English Guinea of George the third (1760-1820). A Guinea had a value of 21 shillings, or one pound and one shilling. The denomination was introduced by Charles II (1660-1685) and was initially valued at 20 shillings, or one pound, and later were revalued at 21 shillings.
The name of the coin relates to gold used for some of the issue was imported from Guinea by the Africa Company. The Guinea was replaced by the Sovereign in 1817.
Your coin is of some interest because the condition is better than average and the date is quite significant. All coins dated 1776 sell for a good premium because of the demand generated in the United States because it coincides with their Declaration of Independence. Because your coin has this date and a portrait of King George, it makes it a highly sought-after coin south of the border.
Based on the condition - quite good (Extremely Fine or EF in numismatic grading terms) and the important date - I would expect this coin to sell for about $800 and perhaps more if offered in a major US auction.
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Dear Gary,
I have in my possession a one dollar bill from Newfoundland. It is blue in colour, dated 1920 and has a picture of King George, I believe, on it. What can you tell me about its value and history? It is in poor condition, but fully legible.
Clive Osbourne
Kingston, ON

Thank you for your e-mail. The note in question is a Government of Newfoundland $1 Treasury note of 1920.
Newfoundland, at the time, was not part of Canada and this bill and a $2 bill were issued July 2, 1920, to deal with a shortage of coin and currency at the time. When it was issued, silver was very high on the world markets and many of Newfoundland's silver coin was leaving the country.
The note features the "Admiral" portrait of George the 5th on the left and a Caribou on the right. About 400,000 notes were issued and many had been removed from circulation by 1939.
Of the $1.2 million worth of notes printed in both the $1 and $2 denominations, only about 10% still survive today.
Although your note is not in the best condition, it is a whole note without any tears, holes or writing on it and would grade as VG (Very Good). If I owned this note, I would ask about $300 for it and probably sell it fairly easily as demand seems to outweigh supply for these notes.
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Dear Gary,
We have had this US 20 dollar bill in the family for as long as I can remember and I wanted to get your opinion on its value. It is larger than normal bills and says “In Gold Coin” on it. Does this mean it is worth a twenty dollar gold coin? What can you tell me about it?
Dale Marshall
Scarborough, ON
Dale, thank you for your e-mail.
You have a United States 20 dollar Gold Certificate dated 1922. The US issued Gold Certificates from 1865 until 1928 and with their orange coloured backs they are a popular reminder that there was a time when US paper currency was indeed “as good as gold.” This is no longer the case.

Gold Certificates were made in denominations from $10 to $10,000. While many of the larger denominations were used only between banks, the $10 to $100 notes were circulated among the general public and this one could have been redeemed for 20 dollars in gold coin upon demand.
This is a nice example of a popular and highly sought after issue. It has good colour and appears to be in Very Fine (VF) condition and would sell for about $350 - $400.


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Dear Gary,
We recently found a few old banknotes from Bermuda in a box of my late mother’s stuff. This one appears to be in the best condition. I know it is dated 1937, but I wanted to know if they would be worth anything to a collector.
Al Harris
Oakville, ON
Thank you for your email.
You own a very nice George VI 5 Shilling note issued by the Bermuda Government in 1937. It features the young portrait of King George with a view of the Hamilton harbour below. British Commonwealth banknotes are very popular and collectable.
In the field of paper money, condition is everything and the note you sent me scans of is particularly nice. It has good colour and body and appears to be free of any folds, with the exception of a couple of slight corner bends. It would be graded as extremely fine condition and as such would catalog for about $175. If the note were in perfect condition, it could sell for as much as $350.

I would be curious to know what other notes you have as the higher denominations, the 5 Shilling being the lowest, are all quite scarce with the 5 pound being in the $500 - $1,500 range.


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Hello Mr. Miller,
I hope you can help me identify and appraise this coin. It has been handed down through my family for many generations. It appears to be made of silver and is fairly large and heavy. It has the portrait of a man and woman on one side and the writing says “GVELIEMVS-ETMARIA-DEI-GRATIA-.

The other side has a heraldic shield and a date of 1689 on either side of the crown with MAGBR-FR-ET-HIB-REX-ET-REGINA- around.
I believe it is English, but it has no mark of value and we are not sure if it is a coin or medal and what the value might be.
Tim Gartner,
Kingston, ON
Hello Tim.
Thanks for your letter. You have a very interesting English coin minted during the reign of William and Mary who reigned jointly from 1688 until Mary’s death due to smallpox in 1694. It is a silver Halfcrown and had a value of two shillings and sixpence at the time.
Mary was the daughter of King James II and niece of King Charles II. She was born in 1662 and was married to William of Orange as part of Charles II’s foreign policy.
James lost control of the English throne in 1688 when the loyalist Tories moved against him due to his many Catholic appointments. He was forced to abdicate in 1688 and later died in exile in France.

William continued on as sole monarch after Mary’s death until he died as a result of a serious fall from his horse in 1702. Queen Anne, Mary’s sister, and a protestant, succeeded him to the throne of England.
It is a fabulous example of a desirable coin struck during a fascinating time in English history. In its present condition it would sell for roughly $2,000.

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Dear Mr Miller,
We have many coins left by our Grandfather but this one is puzzling to us as we have not been able to find anyone to give us a value. We believe it is from Mexico. It is large like a Silver Dollar and we think it is made of silver. It has discoloured a bit but it appears to be in very good condition. I have been told not to clean it, which we haven't and we would like to know whatever you can tell us about it.
Thank you for your letter. The coin in question is from Mexico and is an 8 Reales. It is silver and in its day would have had the same value as a silver dollar. The denomination was introduced to the “New World” by the Spaniards and was the basis for the famous “Piece of Eight”. In earlier times in Central and South America the coin was cut into quarters to facilitate small change. These “Quarters” were known as "two bits,” a term we still use today as a slang for a quarter dollar.

After its independence from Spain, Mexico continued to produce the 8 Reales until the late 1800s and introduced a Peso coin of the same size. Yours is dated 1859 and was struck at Durango, one of the many branch mints in Mexico. It features the symbol of Mexico, an Eagle standing on a cactus, holding a snake in its beak. The other side shows the cap of Liberty surrounded by rays of light. (Cap and Rays) It is in almost perfect condition and I am glad that you didn't attempt to clean it. In today's market your coin would sell for $125 to $150.

Thank you so much and I hope this answers your question.
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Daniel Courteney, of Thornhill asks;
“We found this large (silver?) coin in my father's estate and we have no idea where it came from or what it is. It is larger than a silver dollar, has Arabic writing and a man wearing a fez. It was wrapped in tissue and seems to be in perfect condition. We would like to know what you could tell us about it.
Thanks for your email.
Your father's coin is a 20 Piastre coin from Egypt dated 1937. It was the largest silver coin of Egypt at the time and it shows a portrait of King Farouk. It has the dates written in Arabic as 1937 and 1356 (Arabic date). It does appear to be in perfect condition and would likely sell for about $100.
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Olivia Hudson, of Victoria, B.C. writes;
"We have inherited this coin from a dear friend and wanted to know something about it. I believe it is gold as it is quite heavy for its size. It does not have the name of any country but has Queen Victoria on one side and a coat of arms on the other which would make think it was English. Can you help?"
Yes, Olivia, you are correct.
You have an English “Shield type” gold Sovereign from Great Britain struck in 1869 under Queen Victoria. It features the young portrait of the Queen with a shield containing the arms of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. It is a very popular coin among collectors and one like yours would sell for about $400.
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Dear Gary,
I found this old dollar bill in a book that belonged to my grandmother. It is from the Dominion of Canada and is dated 1st of June 1878. On the back it reads “Payable at
Toronto”. It appears to be in quite good condition without any holes but it does have a few small splits in the paper where it was folded. Who is the person on this bill and what would it be worth?

Ronald Eaton,
Etobicoke, ON

This is indeed a genuine one dollar bill from the issue of 1878. On the face of the note is a portrait of the Countess of Dufferin, wife of the then Governor General of Canada. In 1878 they made one and two dollar bills and they were payable in one of four cities, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and St. John. The Toronto and Montreal are the most common. The condition of the note, even with the paper splits, would grade about Fine. In this grade its catalogue value would be about $600. If it were a Halifax or St. John note it would bring about $4,000. They are very collectible and sought after. Be sure to always keep banknotes flat and handle them very gently.

This is quite a find! Thanks for your question.
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Hi Gary,
I normally don't like to bother people but I'm at a loss to identify a badge I have. I bought about 40 Canadian military cap badges in a box at an estate auction. All have been identified as being WWI and WW2 era. The only one I can't identify is one made of brass approximately 1 9/16" ( 39 mm) in height by 1 1/4" (33 mm) in width. The crown on the top is a queen’s crown (Elizabethan or Victorian ?) over 4th CA. I'm hoping it's Canadian and stands for something like 4th Canadian Artillery. I have had it to several collectors who can't identify it (but made cash offers). On the obverse it appears like it has had one form of attachment replaced by a pin. There does not appear to be any manufacturer’s marks. Any help you could offer would be most appreciated.
Ken Watson,
Lindsay, ON
You have a little treasure there. This is a cap badge of the 4th Battery, Prince Edward Island Garrison Artillery. It is Victorian but I could not give you a date other than to say it is likely before 1880. It is a rare badge and I could find no auction records of one selling in the last 15 years. It was a very small garrison and would not have issued many badges. I believe that an original badge in decent condition would sell for $250-300. Yours has had its lugs replaced by a pin, but it is still quite valuable and genuinely rare.
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Henry Grimes of Nelson, B.C., writes: "We have had this coin in the family for several generations and we would like to know a little about it. I believe it to be French and I'm pretty sure it is silver. It is a large coin, a little bigger than a U.S. silver dollar. What can you tell me about its history and current value?”
Well, Henry, you are correct. The coin is French and it is silver. It is a French "Ecu" of King Louis XIV, who reigned from 1643 until 1715. This one is dated 1651 and the "A" below the shield tells us it was struck at the Paris mint. It shows a portrait of the
young Louis, with the reverse depicting the French shield. It is in quite good condition for its age and type and a coin dealer would grade this as Very Fine plus. In today's marketplace, it would be valued at about $650 and would be a desirable coin for any discriminating collector.
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Diane Whitehouse of Caledon, Ontario, writes. "I have had this item for a long time and would like to know what it is. It is about 1 1/2 inches tall and looks like copper. I know it is Canadian, but that's all I know.”
What you have, Diane, is a cap badge issued to a Canadian soldier in World War I. It is for the 33rd Infantry Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). The unit was raised in London, Ontario, in July of 1915. It is made of copper and should have two "lugs" on the back for fixing to a cap. These CEF badges are quite collectible and one like this would sell for $40 to $45. Thank you for your letter and I hope this helps.
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All about Gary
Gary Miller of Londinium Coins is a second-generation international coin dealer and the Wayback Times' new For What It's Worth appraiser. Born in England, Gary came to Canada as a young boy and was his father's protege.
They co-owned a coin store into the 1990s and Gary is now a classical numismatist with a strong background in ancient coins. His wide knowledge of coins (Greek, Roman, Byzantine), Medieval coins, especially Europe, modern coins and paper money from Canada, the United States and the world will be used to answer questions.
The Royal Ontario Museum has used Gary's appraisal talents and he has also been a cataloger for major auction houses, so Wayback Times readers wanting information about their coins will be in good company.
Gary says: "I have always strived to maintain a high degree of integrity and honesty and have a great deal of passion for what I do and like to help collectors with good advice and guidance."

Welcome aboard, Gary.
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