The first decimal coinage of Canada was produced in 1858 and 1859. The “Province of Canada “ under Francis Hicks, took on the job of creating a decimal coinage for British North America. After acts were passed in 1851 and 1853 to stipulate that all accounts were to be kept in Dollars and Cents, and since no such coins were issued, it became necessary to provide said coinage. In 1857 an act was passed for a decimal currency system to begin in 1858.
Canada produced a one Cent, a silver 5 Cent, 10 Cent and 20 Cent coins featuring a young bust of Queen Victoria designed by L.C. Wyon of the Royal Mint. The choice of a 20 cent coin was to be a bridge between the two currencies.
The 20 cent was equal to the Halifax shilling of the time. This proved to be confusing as the size and weight differed from the British shilling and the US quarter dollar.
After Confederation, Canada replaced the 20 cent coin with a 25 cent piece, beginning in 1870 and continues it into modern times.
Thus, the 20 cent piece has become an iconic Canadian coin, produced in only one year and, much sought after to this day.
The example shown here (photo courtesy of Jacob Lipson Rare Coins) is a Very Fine (VF) example and is worth about $200. A top quality example in choice Uncirculated condition could bring $10,000!
Happy hunting and stay warm and safe!