Canada Paper Money Featuring 1, 2 and 5 Dollar Notes
The banknotes of Canada provide a view into the country's rich history. Canada paper money has seen a rise and fall over the generations since its first issuance in 1870. Today, numismatics, the study of paper currency and coins, allows us to understand the production methods and symbolism used in these varying and often unique notes and how these methods have changed over the years. Many of the notes of Canadian paper money are no longer in production, making any remaining ones often rare and collectible.
A Brief Timeline of Canada Paper Money
When Canada was still mostly under British rule, the colonies were typically not allowed to mint their own coins. It was not until 1870 that the first notes were issued by the Canadian government at the time. There was a two-dollar note with the images of the Marquis de Montcalm and General James Wolfe, a one-dollar note with Jacques Cartier and a 25-cent note with a picture of Brittania, nicknamed the "shinplaster." The shinplaster became particularly popular, renewed in 1900 and 1923 as well as being continuously circulated through 1935. Today, some collectors strive to own a copy of every version of the 25-cent note. The two-dollar note was reissued in 1878, while the rest of this decade saw the beginning of production of 50, 500, and 1,000-dollar notes.
From 1871 to 1880, banks operated under a rule that they could only issue notes in increments of four dollars or more. During this time, some banks produced notes in quantities that would today be considered odd, such as six and seven dollars. By 1880, a new rule mandated that only notes in multiples of five dollars could be produced. Because of this, there exists only a very limited quantity of six and seven-dollar notes that are now highly sought after by collectors. By 1935, only the Bank of Canada was allowed to issue notes, and at this time it released notes representing one, two, five, ten, 20, 25, 50, 500 and 1,000 dollars. The most current notes produced today are much fewer in kind, with notes of only five, ten, 20, 50 and 100 dollars.
The Rarity of One and Two Dollar Notes
While it is true that people still occasionally use the one and two dollar notes, they are difficult to find nowadays as they are no longer in production. Some special versions of these notes were released later in the 20th century. A Birds of Canada series two-dollar note was released in 1986, and a Scenes of Canada one-dollar note was released in 1974. Other than these unique and collectible bills, the common way that most people complete smaller transactions is with coins. The toonie coin became the new standard currency for two dollars in 1996, while the loonie was released in 1989, replacing the one-dollar notes.
The Increasingly Collectibility of Discontinued Notes
It is true that many vendors will still accept discontinued forms of Canadian banknotes, but they are not legally required to. While many numismatists would wish to study discontinued notes such as the 1,000, two and one-dollar bills, most of these have been exchanged at the Bank of Canada and destroyed. It is theoretically possible that notes like these will become virtually impossible to find if people continue to turn them into the bank for destruction.
Vendors like Colonial Acres Coins understand the historic appeal of discontinued notes, and we attempt to collect them and preserve them. We understand that collectors like you would much rather honour these unique and rare currencies than see them destroyed. When you view our inventory, you will see many Canadian banknotes that you won't find anywhere else.