By Ian Brimble
This article will focus mainly on modern rarities that can be found in your pocket change. Thanks to many questions by readers, many of you reaching out to inquire about potential finds that exist in everyday change. It should be noted there are few retirement prospects that exist in modern Canadian circulation currency. However, there are some rarities that exist that have values significantly larger than their face value. For this article, I will not focus on every single rarity that exists in modern Canadian currency, but rather will identify several rarities that are relatively easy to spot at a glance, thus allowing readers to check their coins quickly for potential pocket treasure.
This dime is indeed a modern rarity. It was first produced using a multi-ply, plated, steel blank and as a result, used an electroplating process. Given that this was a new process, various stakeholders needed to ensure that the dime could be recognized by machinery. It is believed as many as 100 of these test coins were issued to the vending machine industry; they were never intended to be circulated and the “P” was meant to indicate that it was a plated coin. Ultimately some ended up in circulation or in the hands of collectors after the testing process. Given that so few of these unique examples were issued and found their way into circulation, they have significant value. Uncirculated examples can be valued anywhere from $500-$2000 depending on their condition. If you have found one of these examples, please reach out as it should be evaluated by a professional.
In 1991, the Canadian Mint experienced an employee strike and as a result of this strike very few 1991 Caribou quarters were produced. Unlike the 2000 P dime, the 1991 quarter is something that is more common and certainly holds a higher chance of being found in pocket change. It is estimated that there are fewer than 500,000 in circulation. To give some context, a typical mintage of quarters would be anywhere from 50 to 170 million. As a result of its relative rarity, the 1991 quarter holds a value of between $10 and $30 depending on the condition.
1992 Quarter Series Errors
In 1992, the Royal Canadian Mint struck provincial quarters to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. During this release of coins, each province and territory at the time was issued a unique reverse highlighting an image from that particular province. Most of the coins produced during this release are relatively uneventful, however, there were some errors made during the production of these coins.
Canadian coins typically feature an obverse of Queen Elizabeth, and the reverse of the particular province in this series. The obverse and reverse designs are typically oriented the same direction (↑, ↑) however, for some of the errors produced in this series, the obverse and reverse designs were misoriented. Those with misorientations include New Brunswick (↑, ↓) and (↑, →) the Northwest Territories (↑, →), and Saskatchewan (↑, ↓). Typical errors from this series of coins are valued between $100 and $200. However, the Saskatchewan error is excessively rare and only three have been discovered to date. It should also be noted that several of these errors exist in the 2000 series of quarters as well. These include 2000 Pride (↑, →) and 2000 Harmony (↑, ←) with both of these examples with values exceeding $100 in average condition.
1993 Quarter (Mule)
The final rarity I will discuss is exceedingly rare with only two known examples This particular coin is known as a mule; that being a coin that is struck with the obverse die of one coin and the reverse die of another. In 1993 two examples of a quarter were struck with a 1992 obverse. This of course is an accident in production and is exceedingly rare. There are other examples from other years that are more common but this particular example is very uncommon and as a result has a value in excess of $20,000. I wish you good luck in your hunting for pocket treasure. If you discover anything of interest, please do not hesitate to reach out.