The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 19, Number 38, September 18, 2016, Article 15


Geoffrey Bell submitted these profiles of highlighted lots in the upcoming Toronto Coin Expo sale. Thanks. Great items! -Editor

A True Trophy Note for Toronto Coin Expo

Canadin Bank of Commerce Dawson note

Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. has offered many trophy notes in the past, but there’s one for the up-coming Toronto Coin Expo 2016 Fall Sale that takes the cake. Successful auctions will always have at least one item that will make even the non-collector exclaim, “Wow,” and this truly rare 1901 Bank of Commerce five-dollar note - CH 75-14- 06a - is going to attract a lot of attention (Lot 757).

The Canadian Bank of Commerce, one half of the entity that became the current Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) when it merged with the Imperial Bank of Canada in 1961, opened in 1867 in Toronto and grew rapidly, acquiring banks across the country to become one of Canada’s largest financial institutions - ranked third in terms of assets in 1918.

The Yukon gold rush began in 1897 when the world heard the stories of the precious metal being discovered. Many a miner imagined quick riches and the trek was on over the mountains, across the rivers and lakes to yellow treasure. The Bank of Commerce was asked by the government to set up shop to act as banker and agent of the Federal Government.

A branch was opened in 1898 in temporary quarters. The staff of six employees received spe-cialized training in security, assaying and other skills needed in this remote location. Getting the banknotes to Dawson was a logistical nightmare in the beginning. There were the dangers of travel including the potential loss of notes to weather, water and general lawlessness that prevailed in the region.

The notes were therefore stamped in Toronto with the word DAWSON on one end of the note. Serial numbers were recorded in Toronto head office and then the notes were sent on their way. When they safely arrived in Dawson, they were counter-stamped with DAWSON on the opposite end of the banknote. Eventually the Northwest Mounted Police came to enforce law and order and better shipping patterns were established so that the special printing was not needed.

The note itself is everything you’d expect from a true rarity; it is totally original and the paper has the firmness and bold colours one would expect in an old time VF. There are only three known, with Heritage Auctions selling a fine in April of 2015 in their CICF World Currency Signature Auction - Chicago #3534 that realized $28,200 USD. This example is far superior.

Even without the rarity factor, the note commands attention with its classic design, featuring a woman with books and lamp dominating the face, surrounded by intricate engraving, coloured black, orange and yellow-brown tint, plus the desirable double DAWSON overprints in red. It bears the serial number 362736/B. The back design possesses lathework, counters, the bank name, and building all in brown.

These chartered banknotes never fail to impress and this one will be the centrepiece of any collection. The 2016 Fall Sale at the Toronto Coin Expo already promises to be another showstop-per, so mark your calendar for September 29 and 30 - Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. looks forward to seeing you, either online or in person.

Captain Cook’s Resolution and Adventure Medal

Captain Cook’s Resolution and Adventure medal obverse Captain Cook’s Resolution and Adventure medal reverse

Sometimes something really special comes across the desk at Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. and they just can’t wait to tell their readers about it (okay, this happens fairly often!) and such is the case with the highly prized Captain Cook Resolution and Adventure medal that’s the subject of this blog post and will be auctioned at the Toronto Coin Expo. (Lot 460)

Captain James Cook of England is a celebrated man; born to a farm labourer, he rose to become a recognized navigator, cartographer, explorer, and captain in the Royal Navy. Among his many credits, he took part in the 1758 capture of the Fortress of Louisbourg, then the siege of Quebec City where he mapped much of the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River, and then mapped Newfoundland’s coastline in the 1760s before being credited with the “discovery” of Australia in 1770.

For his second voyage to Terra Australis in 1772, with the ship HMS Resolution under his command and the HMS Adventure commanded by Tobias Furneaux, medals were struck by Matthew Boulton, his first medal, for Sir Joseph Banks for presentation to the locals by Cook. There were 2000 stuck in bronze alloy, 100 in silver, and two in gold. The precious metal medals appear to have remained in England. Cook wrote in his journal in July 1772, “”their lordships also caus'd to be struck a number of Medal… be distributed to the Natives of….and left upon New Discovered Countries as testimonies of being the first discoverers.” Since the medal has the image of George III and his titles, it’s assumed it was approved by the King.

Understandably, there are few surviving pieces and exceedingly fewer in private collections as, given their history, they are highly sought after by museums. This is a superb example, without the corrosion seen on many known specimens and displaying a crack on the reverse at 7pm, through the RC of “MARCH.”

Captain Cook’s Resolution and Adventure medal is sure to attract a lot of attention when it hits the blocks in the Toronto Coin Expo 2016 Fall Sale.

For more information, see:
Toronto Coin Expo Fall Sale 2016 (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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