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The Newfoundland Series

(The following copyrighted item by Jerry Himelfarb first appeared in Canadian Coin News, and is reprinted here with permission of the author.)

Newfoundland started as the first British colony during the Elizabethan times, which had it's first residence built in St. John's in 1528. There have been some interesting influences on it's economy and thus is currency such as the Great Depression of the 1870's in particular 1873-1877 as well as the bank failures of the mid-1890's. There was probably an impact on the currency during the silver-melt starting in 1919 and extending to 1921. It's had a very colorful history from the "Red Indians, the voyages of Cabot et al, all the way up to 1865, this is where numismatic interest starts for me.

In this article I'm going to highlight some rather interesting anomalies that seem to plague the hobby. In order to accomplish this it is necessary to establish a point-of-reference. The reference I've chosen is the iconic 1921 Canadian 1/2 Dollar. This coin auctions in the $100,000 Plus range and has a population count (Ref; 2000 ICCS census) of 1 Mint-State example and a Total count of 19 (VG-Mint-State) .

Using this coin as reference I'm going to compare this to a few Newfoundland "Keys" to show major discrepancies in price respective of the rarity

The following prices are from "CCN Trends" and the Population counts again are from ICCS Population reports (2000).


Trends Item/KEY Total Count
$100,000 1921 1/2 Dollar 1 in Mint-State
19 Total

$1250.00 1890 1 Cent 12 in Mint-State
18 Total
$600.00  1944 1 Cent 5 in Mint-State
14 Total
$3500.00  1888 5 Cent 1 in Mint-state
12 Total
$3500.00 1919 5 Cent 1 in Mint-State
12 Total
$5000.00 1903 10 Cent 1 in Mint-State
11 in Total
$4250.00 1881 20 Cent 2 in Mint-State
17 Total
$1250.00 1870 50 Cent 1 in mint-State
19 Total
$1750.00 1888 50 Cent 0 in Mint-State
26 Total

As you can see the prices are at such a low level that virtually any mint-state purchase at any price has a low financial exposure. The cost of a 1903 ten cent @ $5000.00 represents 5000/100,000=5% that of a 1921 1/2. This coin could increase substantially.

Considering the difficulty collecting Newfoundland as a complete series in EF-40 or better, to find any one of the coins mentioned could take upwards of 5 years or more to find a reasonably good example if you find one at all !

Good Hunting
Jerry Himelfarb

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