By Gary Miller
During the early part of the 19th century industry and commerce were growing at an alarming rate, especially in Montreal. The Molson family were integral to this growth. At this time many different coins and currencies circulated concurrently including American, Spanish, French, British and other coins and tokens of various sizes, weights and metals.
A very confusing time indeed.
After the political rebellions of 1837 in Upper and Lower Canada the British government sent diplomats to look into the causes of the problem and this led to the union of the two provinces in 1841.
A new Currency Act was introduced which allowed the Bank of Montreal, among others to issue token coinage of uniform size and weight.
In 1842 the Bank was permitted to import 5,000 pounds Sterling in copper.
The Bank of Montreal issued pennies and halfpennies in 1842, 1844 and 1845. Collectors who have studied this series have found many varieties that include the size and shape of the trees and the even size of the beaver’s nose. While these tokens are not particularly rare, as average examples can be obtained for $10 or less, high quality examples are rare and highly sought after. The example illustrated came from the website (www.jacoblipsonrarecoins.com) of a colleague of mine and is a certified and graded coin by NGC as an 1844 Halfpenny MS 65 Red and Brown.
This means that this example is above average mint state and exhibits original coppery red and brown colour. It is tied for the finest known example and is valued at $1500. A fantastic piece of Canadian history!
Enjoy the summer months and happy hunting.