Canadian Silver Fifty Cent Coin

Posted by on August 18, 2012
SC CAN 1870 Fifty Cent obverse 300x225 Canadian Silver Fifty Cent Coin

1870 Fifty Cent obverse

The Canadian Fifty Cent Coin was first struck in 1870 and continued through 1968.  The very first silver fifty cents silver Canadian coins have a diameter of 29.72 millimeters, weigh 11.62 grams, and contain 92.5% silver with 7.5% copper and contain 0.345 troy ounces of silver.  In 1920 Canada changed the silver content of their coins in order to keep them from being hoarded because of the rising silver prices around the world.  From 1920 through 1967 the diameter of 29.72 remained the same however the weight was changed to 11.66 grams and the metal content was dropped to 80% silver with 20% copper.  The 80% silver Canadian coins often show enough ware that they are often bought and sold for their melt value.  The fifty cent Canadian coins from 1929 to 1967 are made up of a total of 0.3000 troy ounces of silver.  All of the fifty cent coins have a reeded edge.

1214113714034040 1 Canadian Silver Fifty Cent Coin
Silver Canada 50 cent Wolf coin 1967 Uncirculated
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Canada half dollar 50 cents silver coin 1920
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Canada 1931 50 cent half dollar silver coin
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Canada 1950 half dollar 50 cents silver coin
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1966 CANADIAN SILVER 50 CENT PIECE QUEEN ELIZABETH II .800 SILVER HALF DOLLA
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1963 CANADIAN SILVER 50 CENT PIECE QUEEN ELIZABETH II .800 SILVER HALF DOLLAR
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2814177283884040 1 Canadian Silver Fifty Cent Coin
1962 CANADIAN SILVER 50 CENT PIECE QUEEN ELIZABETH II .800 SILVER HALF DOLLAR
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2814177488894040 1 Canadian Silver Fifty Cent Coin
1951 CANADIAN SILVER 50 CENT PIECE KING GEORGE VI .800 SILVER HALF DOLLAR
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SC CAN 1870 Fifty Cent reverse 300x225 Canadian Silver Fifty Cent Coin

1870 Fifty Cent reverse

The portrait of Queen Victoria’s head is on the obverse of the first of Canada’s silver fifty cent coins.  She faces left and “CANADA” runs along the rim at the coin’s base below her neck.  Around the rest of the coin along the rim is her title; “VICTORIA DEI GRATIA REGYIA”.  In 1858 the Queen’s portrait was changed.  The “young” Victoria was replaced with the “mature” Queen Victoria.  The reverse has “50 CENTS” stacked in the center of the coin with the date on the bottom of the stack and the Royal Crown on top.  Two maple tree branches with leaves encircle the rest of the coin.  This wreath is tied with a bow at the bottom and their tips are separated by the crown at the top of the coin.  This Queen Victoria design was used through 1901 with minor variations for some of the years.

SC CAN ED Fifty Cent obverse 297x300 Canadian Silver Fifty Cent Coin

1929 Fifty Cent obverse

At the time of Queen Victoria all of Canada’s coins were being minted in England; predominately at the London Royal Mint, however the privately owned Heaton Mint in Birmingham was used when demand exceed the Royal Mint’s capacity.  The Heaton Mint struck coins will have the mint mark “H” under the bow’s knot on the reverse.

SC CAN 1929 Fifty Cent reverse 300x300 Canadian Silver Fifty Cent Coin

1929 Fifty Cent reverse

The faces of Great Britain’s coins changed when Edward VII to the throne and his bust is on the obverse facing right.  The “CANADA” part of the obverse legend of Queen Victoria was moved from the obverse and placed on the reverse between the stacked “50 CENTS” and the date.  Also the obverse legend was changed to King Edwards VII title:  “EDWARDVS VII DEI GRATIA REX IMPERATOR”.  A note of interest with the King Edward VII series is that in 1911 the king’s legend was altered for no known reason and the “DEI GRA” was left off. These are often referred to as the “‘Godless’ King Edwards” coins.

The fifty cent coin was the first struck at the Ottawa branch for Great Britain’s Royal Mint.  The Ottawa mint was the first Canadian mint authorized to strike coins for the United Kingdom.  The Governor General, Earl Grey, had the privilege of striking this first Canadian struck coin on January 2, 1908.

SC CAN 1952 Fifty Cent reverse 290x300 Canadian Silver Fifty Cent Coin

1952 Fifty Cent reverse

Next in the line of British Monarch was King George V from 1911 through 1936 and King George VI from 1937 through 1952, both of them facing left.  In 1953 their current Queen, Elizabeth II, began being used and in 1965 her “young” portrait was replace with a ‘mature’ portrait, she faces right for both of these.

SC CAN 1967 Fifty Cent reverse 297x300 Canadian Silver Fifty Cent Coin

1967 Fifty Cent reverse

Beginning in 1937 a new reverse was introduced with Canada's seal in the middle. During King Georg VI reign at the base of the coin and following the rim is "CANADA." with the date following.  At the top of the coin is "50" on the left of the cross of the crown and "CENTS" on the right both following the rim.  In 1953 the reverse was modified and a less stylized seal is in the center with a arching along the rim on the left side is "CANADA" and on the right "50 cents" and the date divided in half at the very top by the Royal Crown.

1967 was the centennial for the establishment of Canada and a different reverse was designed and used that year.  A wolf howling is in the center and the snot separates “50” from “CENTS” which are on the upper half arching along the rim.  On the lower portion is “CANADA 1867-1967” following the curve of and along the rim of these coins.

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