Canadian Silver Dollar Coins

Posted by on August 19, 2012

Coin Weight (g) Composition Silver Melt Value Full Melt Value
23.33 80% silver, 20% copper
SC CAN 1935 One Dollar 300x151 Canadian Silver Dollar Coins

1935 One Dollar

The Canadian Silver Dollar Coins were not struck for distribution until 1935. They are 80% silver and 20% copper. Royal Canadian Mint struck their silver dollars until 1967 when Canada stopped using silver.  All of these are 36.00 millimeters in diameter, weigh 23.33 grams, and contain a total of 0.60006 troy ounces pure silver.  The 1967 silver dollar’s silver content was not diminished as the rest of Canada’s silver coins were, they were simply replaced after the 1971 centennial “LOONIE” dollar came out and the 1968 silver dollar started the nickel content dollar coins.

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These coins have the traditional pageantry of royalty on their obverse.  The 1935 and 1936 Canadian Silver dollars have King George V who was replaced with King George the VI in 1937 and used up through 1952.  Both King Georges face left and when the ‘young’ Queen Elizabeth II appeared in 1953 she is portrayed facing right.  The ‘mature’ Queen Elizabeth II replaced the ‘Young’ portrait in 1965.

SC CAN 1958 One Dollar 300x152 Canadian Silver Dollar Coins

1958 One Dollar

The reverse of these silver dollars are all very similar with “ONE”, “DOLLAR”, and “CANADA” all stacked above the date.  At the very top of the coin in the center is the Royal Crown.  On either side of this are the tips of a wreath of maple branches which are tied together at the bottom of the coin, under the date, after their arching around the central legend along the rim of the coin.

1935 was not only the first one dollar silver coin struck by Canada it is also their first commemorative silver dollar.  It is typically referred to as the “Voyageur” dollar because the reverse has a ‘voyager’ paddling a birch-bark canoe with a Native American on a river.  The designer, Emanuel Hahn, added soft lines in the background depicting the Northern Lights.  The date is under the canoe and water line.  “DOLLAR” follows the curve of the rim underneath and “CANADA” follows the rim arching above.

SC CAN One Dollar Quebec reverse 300x278 Canadian Silver Dollar Coins

1964 One Dollar Quebec reverse

Periodically Canada would release other silver commemorative dollars up through the “Canadian Centennial” in 1967.  Starting in 1971 Canada has released one commemorative silver dollar annually, except in 1972, at a premium.

In 1981 they began issuing frosted Proof editions as well as the Brilliant Uncirculated silver dollars.  In 1999 Canada started minting special edition proof silver dollars which are usually limited to 25,000 coins or less. The 1999 special edition silver dollar is the “International Year of Older Persons”.  Then in 2002 “The Queen Mother” kicked off their annual series of silver dollars.  2003 was the “50TH Anniversary of the Queen Elizabeth II” and they came out with two designs one with the ‘young’ or first portrait and the “matron” or fourth effigy of Queen Elizabeth.  This year, 2012, is her jubilee and now they have numerous designs and sizes available to celebrate including other silver bullion coin designs.

The silver content of the Commemorative silver dollars varies with year and strike quality; however all are 36.07 millimeters in diameter and have a reeded edge.  Those from 1971-1991 are 50% silver and 50% copper, they weigh 23.30 grams.  Starting in 1992 all these silver commemorative coins weigh 25.175 grams and their thickness is altered to offset the discrepancy of the different densities due to content.  Those from 1992-2002 and 2007 to now are crown sterling silver; 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper and 2.95 millimeters thick.  While those from 2003 through 2006 were struck of 99.99% fine silver and are 3.02 millimeter thick.

SC CAN 1939 One Dollar commemortive 300x167 Canadian Silver Dollar Coins

1939 One Dollar "Parliament"

A note of interest is that in 1911 it was under consideration by Great Britain that a silver dollar coin was desirable for Canada and three pattern coins were struck as an example.  Although the idea of a Canadian silver dollar coin was rejected two of these pattern coins have found their way into private collections.  One was kept by the Royal Mint and found in the Royal Mint’s Museum in London.  This one is now on permanent loan and displayed at the National Currency Collection in Ottawa.  The second turned up when the Mint Master Sir William Grey Ellison-MacCarthey passed away and this piece has been sold periodically at top prices.  The last time it came up for auction it brought in one million dollars and is now in private collection.  There are mutterings of a third piece, which was found and turned out to be a lead version that turned up in November 19, 1977.  This is Canada’s rarest coin and one of the words’ rarest coin and is sometimes referred to as the “Emperor of Canadian Coins”.  It is 92.5% silver and weighs 360 grains.

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