For the decade of 1950 until 1959, there were many changes made to Canadian currency, including the nickel. From commemorative coins to valuable varieties, coin collectors can easily find a nickel to add to their collection with value as well as an interesting story. Read on to find out what special coins were produced during this time frame.
The Royal Canadian Mint made the decision in 1951 to create a commemorative coin to honor A.F. Cronstedt, a chemist of Sweden who discovered the Sudbury deposits of nickel that were used to create currency for the Canadian economy. This year celebrated the 200th anniversary of the discovery and a special five cent coin was created to celebrate the discovery. These coins were quite unusual and were saved by Canadians. Because these coins were saved, it is not too difficult to find a high quality specimen.
In the 1940s, Canada suffered from a nickel shortage due to World War II. In the 50s, the country would suffer from a shortage again, this time due to the Korean War. Nickels struck in 1951, 1952, 1953 and 1954 would be done so with chrome plated steel nickel. Because of this, coins created in these years would be easily scratched.
1951 Beaver Five Cent Coin
In 1951, a five cent coin was created with the beaver image as had been used many times before. However, with this production, the coin would have a low relief or a rare high relief. The difference could be determined with the head side of the coin. The final A in the word GRATIA would be behind the head of the King between two denticles in the common low relief on the left side of the image. The rarer option would have the A pointing directly at the denticle on the right side of the image.
1953 Monarch Change
In 1953, Queen Elizabeth II would be featured on the nickel obverse side and continues to be depicted to this day. The image used in 1953 was known as the Young Head Series and features the Queen in her younger years with a right facing profile. The coin was created in 99.9% pure nickel and would continue to be made this way until 1961. The coin also continued to be 12 sided.
In the first minting’s of 1953, the coins seemed to show the Queen with her shoulder bare. However, this was actually due to a weak engraving. Coins from this time frame are either known as a no-shoulder-strap or a no-shoulder fold variety due to the type of engraving on this area of the image.
New dies were created in 1953 to try and create a deeper shoulder fold so it would strike better during the minting process. A change was also made to the size of the reverse side on this coin.
1957 Five Cent Coin
In 1957, the five cent coin was printed with a die that created a die pit on the end of the beaver’s tail. The coins then had a dot that was raised to the touch at the end of the tail which came to be known as a bug tail.