The Numismatic Bibliomania Society


The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 40, October 2, 2022, Article 5


The eighth edition of Mega Red adds an appendix covering Canadian silver five cent and twenty-five cent pieces. Here's the announcement. -Editor

Mega-Red_8th-edition_cover The eighth edition of Mega Red (the 1,504-page expanded Deluxe Edition of the Guide Book of United States Coins) devotes nearly 300 pages to a detailed study of U.S. two-cent pieces, copper-nickel three-cent pieces, silver trimes, half dimes, twenty-cent pieces, and $1, $3, and $4 gold coins.

One of the book's 13 appendices covers two series of related Canadian coins—five-cent silver pieces (roughly analogous to U.S. half dimes), and twenty-cent pieces. The appendix is based on the work of James A. Haxby (author of Whitman's Guide Book of Canadian Coins and Tokens) and Harvey B. Richer (author of 100 Greatest Canadian Coins and Tokens).

Canada and the United States share a long geopolitical border, and with it the two nations share culture and history going back to colonial times, said Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker. For coin collectors on both sides of the border it's valuable to study, understand, and appreciate our shared numismatic life.

Haxby discusses connections between the coinage of the two nations: By the 1830s, Canada and the U.S. had delimited fairly well-recognized borders around the 45th parallel, and localized territorial wars had largely ceased. As commerce between the nations flourished the U.S. dollar and its gold multiples, silver fractionals, and copper subsidiaries quickly became a serious challenge to the British monetary system in Canada. That market reality was officially recognized in 1841 when the colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada united to form the Province of Canada. Both the British gold sovereign and the U.S. gold eagle ($10 coin) were made legal tender, the former at the rate of 24 and 1/3 shillings (C$4.8666), the latter at 50 shillings (C$10). The U.S. and Spanish (and former Spanish colonial) silver dollars were also made legal tender, at the rate of 5 shillings and 1 penny.

In 1857 the Province of Canada's Currency Act of 1854 was revised to establish a decimal monetary system as the sole basis for its economy.

Canada was confederated on July 1, 1867, when three British North American provinces—the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick—were united into the Dominion of Canada. The Province of Canada was split into Ontario and Quebec. (Since confederation, Canada has experienced numerous other territorial changes and expansions, resulting in the current constitutional monarchy under King Charles III, with ten provinces and three territories.)

  Mega-Red_8th-edition_page1409 Mega-Red_8th-edition_page1421

Appendix I of Mega Red, eighth edition, explores this history and the mints that produced Canadian five-cent and twenty-cent coins (the British Royal Mint, the Heaton Mint, and the Ottawa Mint).

It includes a coin-by-coin study of silver five-cent pieces of the Province of Canada, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and the Dominion of Canada. In the United States, half dimes were minted from 1792 to 1873. To the north, Canadian silver five-cent pieces, which a U.S. coin collector might think of as a half dime (although there is no dime as a denomination in Canadian numismatics), were minted from the 1850s and as late as 1947. These coins are collectible as a companion series alongside U.S. half dimes, said Tucker. Studying them affords a deeper understanding of North American economics and finance in the 1800s.

The appendix similarly covers Canadian twenty-cent pieces. In the United States this denomination was minted in just four years, from 1875 to 1878. The Province of Canada had issued the same denomination nearly a generation earlier, in 1858. As with the Canadian half dimes, Canadian twenty-cent coins are interesting companion pieces to the United States series, and they offer much to contemplate. In addition to the Province of Canada, they were also minted for New Brunswick and Newfoundland. In 1912 Newfoundland's King George V twenty-cent silver coin was a final one-year issue, before twenty-cent coins were abandoned in favor of a twenty-five-cent denomination.

Within the coin-by-coin study, the Mega Red appendix discusses technical specifications, mintages and mintmarks, die varieties, royal portrait variations, patterns and fantasies, individual Specimen coins, and related Specimen coin sets issued from 1858 to 1921.

Mega Red is billed as the biggest, most useful Red Book ever. It measures 7 x 10 inches and has 1,040 more pages than the regular edition. The larger size and increased page count combined make Mega Red five times bigger than the regular-edition Red Book. It prices more than 9,000 items in up to 13 grades each, with 50,000 individual values and more than 15,000 auction records covering circulated, Mint State, and Proof coinage. The book is illustrated with thousands of full-color images, including hundreds that are new to this edition.

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MEGA RED: A Guide Book of United States Coins, Deluxe Edition, 8th edition
ISBN 0794849660
1,504 pages, full color, $59.95 retail
By R.S. Yeoman; Senior Editor Q. David Bowers; Valuations Editor Jeff Garrett; Editor Emeritus Kenneth Bressett

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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