Collectors scrambling for rare Queen Elizabeth coins and notes

C$20 note from 1935
A 1935 Canadian $20 bill, which features an image of an eight year-old Queen Elizabeth II (Princess Elizabeth), will be auctioned off on September 20, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/Sean Isaacs/Handout)

The death of Queen Elizabeth has prompted collectors to scramble for scarce coins and bills that bear her image. Her portrait will remain in circulation for a long time, and her face will also appear on banknotes distributed throughout the Commonwealth.

According to coin dealers, the demand for rare-issue coins and notes has increased following the queen’s death on September 8, 2022. Some of these include Australia’s Platinum Jubilee coin, which features the monarch as a child, and a pre-World War II Canadian $20 bill.

People from both novice and seasoned collectors have been asking about the various types of coins and notes that will be issued in tribute to the queen following her death.

Peter Hutchinson, a specialist at London’s Heritage Coin Dealers, said the demand for rare-series coins has increased significantly. He noted that the most sought-after coins are those that were issued in the first place. The prices of these coins have also gone up due to the increasing number of seasoned collectors and newcomers.

He noted that the demand for rare-series coins is expected to increase significantly as more people enter the market. He cited examples such as Canada’s 1954 Devil’s Head note series, which features a part of the queen’s hair that gives the impression of a smiling devil.

Joel Kandiah, a coin expert in Australia, noted that the value of a 2013 Purple Coronation US$2 coin has increased significantly. He posted a video on the TikTok platform this week.

In Almonte, Ontario, Sean Isaacs, the owner of Alliance Banknote and Coin, is preparing for an auction that will feature various royal items. One of these is a 1935 Canadian $20 bill that features Queen Elizabeth II when she was eight years old.

He noted that the note is one of the most desirable bills in the world during the 20th century. He’s also expecting a strong reaction from the auction’s participants.

According to Isaacs, the various bills that will be auctioned off have an estimated value of around C$300 to C$22,000. A rare version of the note with no faults could sell for as much as C$18,000.

The auction’s night is expected to be the most watched event, as the interest in the note has been strong. In an online auction, a 1935 US$20 bill that features Elizabeth was currently at C$2,100 with 10 days left before the auction closes.

Looking ahead, Isaacs anticipates a rush of interest in upcoming commemorative coins that will celebrate the queen’s reign. He also expects to see the first coins that feature the image of the king, which will be issued following the queen’s death.

It’s not yet clear when King Charles coins and bills will finally find their way into people’s wallets outside of Britain. Central banks in various countries, such as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, have also said that they will continue to issue bills and coins featuring the queen for the next couple of years.

In Australia, the Royal Australian Mint noted that it’s not yet clear when the country will start producing coins that feature the image of the king. However, it noted that new coins with the royal image usually arrive around 12 months following a coronation.

Commonwealth nations that are planning on using the king’s image on their coins and notes will likely be in a queue just behind Britain. The Royal Mint and the Bank of England have not provided any details regarding when the work on designs will begin. However, experts expect that the design work on a portrait of the king will begin once the mourning period ends.

According to Hutchinson, it could take up to six months for the design work on new coins and banknotes to be completed. They’re also expected to start issuing the new products before the king’s coronation.

I am passionate about the historical, cultural, and artistic aspects of currency. I collect coins and banknotes from various countries and time periods, focusing on specific themes, time periods, or regions that I find interesting. I also love to study the historical context of the currency that influenced coinage and currency issuance.