Usually it’s you who struggles to pay your bills every day, but sometimes it’s your bills that you can pay. Maybe you have a Devil’s Face dollar that looked like the queen had a demon on her shoulder hidden in a drawer that was worth a pretty penny.
Or maybe you saved that $1,000 bill your godfather gave you, which was banned in Canada due to its popularity with gangsters and could be worth a whole lot more.
Here are some Canadian banknotes to watch out for that you could take to the bank:
Estimated value: up to $2,000.
The peculiarity: before the creation of the Bank of Canada, paper money was issued in Canada by commercial banks such as Molsons Bank, which was founded in Montreal. Every private institution had to have enough gold and silver to back the currency. Bills from this ‘elusive bank’ are highly coveted due to their association with the famous brewery
Estimated value: up to $75,000.
Its particularity: this note is one of the oldest and most famous banknotes of the Bank of Canada – one of the first to show Elizabeth II in the guise of an eight-year-old princess. Only a fifth of these banknotes (out of around 1,200,000 in total) were printed in French, which makes them particularly rare… and precious.
Estimated value: up to $5,000.
What’s special: According to Heritage Canada, this French note is “an extremely popular example” thanks to the detail of the portrait of Queen Mary on one side and Mercury, the Roman god of transport, on the other. Banknotes of this denomination were phased out in 1996 in favor of the Toonie coin.
$5 “Devil’s Face” (1954)
Estimated value: up to $11,000.
What makes it special: Rated ‘Interesting and Rare’ by Heritage Auctions, this note features an unusual pattern in the Queen’s hair known as the ‘devil’s face’. If you look just above his left ear, you can see the outline of a face with horns (maybe a devil’s shoulder?). Only a few thousand of these banknotes were issued before the engraving was changed to remove the controversial design.
$1,000 Amended (1954)
Estimated value: approximately $1,500.
What’s special: the back of this note shows a covered bridge and the Saguenay River in L’Anse-Saint-Jean, Quebec. It is part of a series of landscapes featuring nature scenes from across the country, from areas “that have shown little or no evidence of human activity”. This bill would be worth much more if it had the “devil’s face” in the queen’s hair. But it’s still a great example of the altered portrait.
Estimated value: up to $5,000.
Its particularity: this note is part of the “Birds of Canada” series, which succeeded the landscapes series. The pink $1,000 bills, nicknamed “pinkies” because of their color, had two large finches on the back. These bills were completely abolished in 2000 as they were mainly used for criminal transactions. It takes a much smaller bag to carry million dollar bills while you can carry higher denomination bills!
$10 Butterfly Fold Error (1989)
Estimated value: up to $3,000
The particularity: this note has a fold error in the lower right corner. Some collectors find it attractive to own bills with manufacturing issues due to their uniqueness. However, it is important to watch out for false folding and trimming errors, which, according to Coins and Canada, are “made by cutting out notes from a full sheet of paper available in the market.”
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