The nickel is a common form of currency used in Canada today. The coin was first introduced in 1858 and known as fish scale and became known as the nickel once the composition of the coin was changed to mostly nickel material. From 1900 to 1910, the nickel coin would see a transition as the reigning monarch would change. Coins were produced to feature the reigning monarch of the time with the early 1900s depicting Edward VII.
1902 to 1910 Edward VII
The nickel coin produced from 1902 until 1910 would feature the design of George W. DeSaulles, which depicted Edward VII on the obverse side. The reverse side would be designed similarly to the Victorian type coin but the word CANADA would be moved to above the date rather than below the monarch’s head on the obverse side.
The coin would still have the same composition and weight as the Victorian version with 1.16 grams in weight, 15.5mm in diameter and 92.5% silver content with 7.5% copper. From the time frame of 1902 to 1907, the coin would have no mint mark if struck in London by the British Royal mint. If produced in Birmingham at the Heaton, the coin would have an H mint mark. From 1908, the coins would be struck without the mint mark and this would designate that the coins were produced in Ottawa by the Royal Canadian mint.
1902 Five Cent Coin
Most of the 1902 five cent coins were struck with a concave reverse die but not all. Because of this striking method, the portrait bows out a small bit. The coins do wear rather quickly and examples are easily found where portions of the King’s image have worn away. Particular grading’s of this coin can lead to a significant value particularly when toning is found on the coin.
There is also a 1902 nickel version where the H is small and then a version where the H is large as well as a printing where the large H covers the small H.
1908 Five Cent Coin
In 1908, the city of Ottawa welcomed the Royal Canadian Mint. The new mint would mark the first time that Canada would be able to produce their own currency. At this time, almost all of the coins for Canada would be minted at the Royal Canadian Mint. The design of the coins would stay the same but the die axis would change to medal from coinage on each denomination except for the 1 cent coin.
1908 five cent coins will have either a large or small 8 within the date on the coin. The larger number 8 is the scarcer of the two.
1909 and 1910
The nickels produced in 1909 and 1910 have two different leaf shapes on the reverse wreath design of the coins. Some leaf shapes will have slightly rounded tips that look like maple leaves while others will have a pointed tip which is a similar look to that of holly leaves.
Significant changes to the nickel coin are still yet to come within the next decade as a new monarch takes the throne.