The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 53, December 24, 2017, Article 18


George Manz is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association and President of the Regina Coin Club. he submitted this article on a rare set of Canadian banknotes. Thanks. -Editor

Canada Edward VIII proof dollar face

Canada Edward VIII proof dollar back

The Regina Coin Club Show in April 2018 features a set of unissued 1937 Bank of Canada bilingual $1 notes that depict King Edward VIII.

When King George V died on January 20, 1936, his eldest son became king. He took the name Edward VIII. For several years, Edward VIII had been involved with an American divorcee named Wallis Simpson and wanted to marry her. Marriage to a divorced woman was not allowed because the King, as head of the Church of England, was sworn to uphold his title as Defender of the Faith.

Edward VIII decided that he would rather give up his kingship than not to marry the love of his life. So on December 10, 1936, Edward VIII signed the Instrument of Abdication. The next day, Edward made a farewell radio broadcast to the nation from Windsor Castle, and left for France by ship, never again setting foot in Britain.

Edward VIII married Wallis Simpson on June 3, 1937 in France. Not one member of the Royal Family attended the wedding, much to the chagrin of the married couple.

But before 42-year-old Edward VIII abdicated, new British and Commonwealth coins, medals and paper money were proposed.

Edward VIII did not like his right profile of his face, preferring his left side. As his father, George V faced left on his coinage, Edward VIII refused the longstanding tradition of having the new monarch face the other direction. But he was king and overruled Royal Mint and other officials.

So images were designed and a small number of British patterns were made prior to his abdication. All are rare. Coins bearing Edward’s name (but not his portrait), were issued for six overseas colonies including British East Africa, British West Africa, Fiji and New Guinea, as well as the Indian states of Jodhpur and Kutch.

On display at the Regina Coin Club show is a set of photographic tintype proofs of the face and back of the proposed Bank of Canada bilingual $1 banknote dated Jan. 3, 1937.

By October 1936, both the Canadian Bank Note Company and the American Bank Note Company had received orders from the Bank of Canada to design new banknotes that would replace those issued in 1935. These proofs were the fruits of their labour.

The face of the note depicts the central vignette of Edward VIII, as Prince of Wales, in the uniform of the Seaforth Highlanders, while the back of the note depicts an allegorical figure of a woman representing agriculture.

These are the only known examples of an Edward VIII portrait on Canadian currency in private hands.

Canada Edward VIII proof vignette Also on display will be a die proof vignette of H.M. King Edward VIII that was used to make the tintype proofs. The vignette includes the hand signed signature of the engraver, Robert Savage.

The excellent book, Portraits of a Prince: Coins, Medals and Banknotes of Edward VIII by Joseph S. Giordiano Jr, indicates that the rarity of the tintype proofs is what the writer calls virtually unique, while the vignette is described as excessively rare.

Edward VIII died in 1972. He is buried in the Royal Cemetery at Frogmore at Windsor Great Park. His wife is buried beside him.

The Regina Coin Club thanks an anonymous Canadian collector for lending us these proofs for our coin show. The Regina Coin Club show and sale takes place April 21-22, 2018 at the Turvey Centre near Regina.

NOTE: see the Ondrej Tucek article on Robert Savage elsewhere in this issue.

For more information on the Regina Coin Club, see:

Garrett Mid-American E-Sylum ad02

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address:

To subscribe go to:



Copyright © 1998 - 2012 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster