Alliance’s 2018 Winter Catalogue

With two weeks of mad processing behind us, I am delighted to release our 2018 Winter Catalogue of coins and banknotes. This is the largest price-list we have ever produced, with more than 1,600 items from our diverse world-wide inventory.

I do encourage our customers to respond as quickly as possible on any items of interest, as response is anticipated to be fairly intense.  Please note that all offerings in this catalogue will remain valid until March 31st, and the beginning of our spring show season.

Catalogue & Order Form

Download the complete 2018 Winter Catalogue
Download the 2018 Order Form

Please join us for Mid Winter Milling this Saturday

For our customers in the National Capital Region, why not stop in and browse our inventory this Saturday, 24 February.

Together with numerous other Almonte merchants, we will be participating in the 2018 Mid-Winter Milling, and hosting “spiritual and self-awareness” practitioners for this one-day event.

Aidan Bliss Morton

Aidan Bliss Morton

At Alliance Coin & Banknote, we are pleased to welcome Reike Master Aidan Bliss Morton, who will be demonstrating her craft by appointment:

Aidan Bliss Morton is a spiritually-guided Intuitive Reiki Master who practices hands-on energy healing on a daily basis. Aidan loves sharing the power of Reiki with her clients and is so grateful to be able to assist people with physical, emotional and spiritual challenges. Aidan also uses Oracle cards as a way to connect with Spirit and will have several different decks available for clients to choose from.

Aidan offers a 20-minute Intuitive Reiki session (which includes a 1 card reading from an oracle card deck of your choice) for $20.

Get all of the details about Mid Winter Milling here!

From the Isaacs Cabinet: A Farthing fit for a King

The venerable British “Farthing” denomination was first introduced in the thirteenth century under Henry III, and formed an integral part of the English coinage system fairly consistently for a remarkable run of seven hundred years. Only in 1956 during the early years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, would the final Farthings come off the press.

Although struck in Silver for the first 300 years or so, the economic realities facing this lowest of denominations (equivalent to ¼ Penny) inevitably saw a conversion to being struck in Copper (and eventually Bronze) during the reign of Charles I in the 1620s. Under his son Charles II, it would be 12 years into his reign before intense demand for fractional coinage resulted in the first issue of circulating farthings featuring the famous “seated Britannia” design in 1672, with the coin’s date located on the reverse beneath her. The above not-withstanding, however, this was not technically the first Farthing struck under the younger Charles’s reign.

Several years earlier, in 1665, a scarce pattern Farthing was officially struck in fine Silver utilizing a design by John Roettier, which the later copper circulating issues would very much mirror. These Silver patterns utilized a left-facing portrait of the King based on an Ancient Roman Sestertius coin of Antoninus Pius, while the reverse depicted a seated portrait of Britannia holding a spear and resting on a shield. The Duchess of Richmond modelled for this figure of Britannia, and it is written by Count de Grammont (French Nobleman and memoirist) that “the King was a noted admirer of her legs”.  A notable distinction on these pattern strikings, however, was the location of the date below the obverse portrait, rather than beneath Britannia as would soon become the norm.

Although issued as patterns, the majority of know specimens are found among the circulated grades, thus the series clearly saw some degree of actual circulation (presumably at a notably higher accepted value than their later base-metal cousins). As a young collector and enthusiast of British coinage, I had never encountered these patterns until the early 1980s. It was about that time that the Ottawa numismatic landscape was expanded by the opening of Paul Nadin-Davis’s walk-in office on the upper floor of a downtown Metcalfe office building. As I have mentioned in my earlier writings, I was intrigued by virtually anything in pre-Victorian British coinage, as such offerings only occasionally surfaced in the inventory of my usual weekly haunt, Sears Coin & Stamp in the Carlingwood Shopping Centre.

It was on one of my first visits to Paul’s office that he showed me an attractive VF’ish example of the coin, the earliest British piece I had held in my hands to that point. It was intriguing, old, and scarce — the “triple-threat” to any young collector. I knew I had to have it, although at a couple hundred dollars or so, I also know I couldn’t afford it on that particular day.

“No problem” said Paul, suggesting I put a hundred dollars down and take a month or two to pay off the balance. I happily agreed, filled out some paperwork, and then –- to my significant surprise — he told me to take the coin with me.

I wouldn’t fully appreciate its significance on that particular day, however the extension of both payment flexibility and rather remarkable trust would profoundly shape my own later business philosophy, and in these past 18 years, faith in the integrity of my own customers continues to foster both mutual goodwill as well as enhanced enjoyment of the hobby from both sides of the counter. Sure, I have colleagues that would continue to suggest this is naïve in our 21st-century business environment, however I have always felt I would stand by this philosophy until the day the bonds of reasonable trust became shattered — and that day, I’m pleased to say, has yet to come.

I still own my Charles II pattern Farthing, and it remains one of the most treasured pieces within my small but thoughtfully-assembled collection of English Silver coinage.

Sean Isaacs

My thanks to “Coincraft’s Standard Catalogue of English and UK Coins, 1066 to date”, by Richard Lobel, et al.

Inventory Preview Image

New Inventory Sneak Preview!

We have been busy steaming through our backlog of coins in preparation for our first major trade-show of the year, at month-end.

Before this new inventory gets snapped up in Hamilton, however, we wanted to give our local customers an advance preview.

Stop by the store this Saturday January 20, 2018 to view a sample selection of the many hundreds of new Canadian and World coins we’ll be bringing out over the coming weeks, from modern Canadian decimal issues to early pre-Victorian English coinage.  The amalgamated product of dozens of collections we’ve purchased since last summer, we’re confident you’ll find something of interest!

1973 Double Denomination Coin Error

From the Isaacs Cabinet: Memories of Sears and a Very Cool Canadian Coin

As I have recalled in earlier writings, my mother and I came to Ottawa in 1980, where we settled in Westboro.  It didn’t take me long to discover the Sears Coin & Stamp department at Carlingwood Shopping Centre – either an easy 10-minute bus ride or manageable bike trip away – and regular Saturday visits became the highlight of my weekly routines.

The kiosk was owned at that time by Peter Degraaf, and managed by Mabel Driega.  Mabel’s son, the late Andrew Driega, would eventually take over the business in later years.  I was a keen collector, and expect I represented that hybrid of both good customer and pest to the ladies that worked with Mabel.

I was primarily interested at the time in affordable early Canadian & Chartered banknotes as well as generally pre-Victorian English coinage, but would also watch out for anything “neat” that might appear in their cabinets, and which my limited budget could accommodate.

Thirty-five years ago, “errors” were generally a novelty area of numismatics that attracted some restrained interest (even then, only the truly naïve would return a “defective” coin to the Mint for replacement), and I don’t recall having had any examples in my modest collection.  That changed, however, on one particular Saturday that remains clear in my memory.  I rode the #65 bus for the short trip to the mall, and made my way to the coin counter – at that time, in a far corner of Sears’s first floor beside the automotive parts department.

After a few minutes of browsing, I was intrigued by a “lot special” in one of the cabinets, which offered something like 15 various Canadian error coins in small bag for $50.  The deal certainly met the criteria of being “neat”, and I was happy to bite.  The bag would reveal a selection of clips, blank planchets, and some minor off-center strikes.  What especially caught my attention, however, was a funky looking Penny that appeared Silver in colour, and had some odd distortion of both obverse and reverse field designs.  Closer inspection revealed one of the coolest coins that remain in my collection today, and a minor “Holy Grail” of error coins – the “double-denomination” strike.

1973 Double Denomination Coin Error

Click to enlarge

This particular piece started its life as a 1973 Ten Cent, and was then re-fed through a press and struck with One Cent dies of the same date. Thus, clear detail of both denominations remain visible, as well as both 1973 dates from the dual strikings.   Whether the significance of this piece was overlooked when the lot was assembled, or the nature of the error market in the early 1980s was accurately reflected by the lack of attention given to the coin, is not clear.  Looking back, however,  I like to think that I was rewarded for my keen patronage with a great deal, and the coin remains to this day one of the most fortuitous purchases I made during those fun early years of collecting.

This past Monday the doors of that Sears department store closed forever, and among the many, many formative memories I have of the store in general, recollections of my interactions with the ladies of Sears Coin & Stamp (whom, in later years, I would end up working with side-by-side as I entered the coin business) remain among the fondest.

Sean Isaacs

Our All Medals Weird & Wonderful Sale on ebay

Our Latest “Weird & Wonderful” Auction: The All-Medals Edition!

This Sunday evening at midnight, we will be launching our latest batch of “Weird & Wonderful” auction items on eBay.

This initial session will be comprised entirely of modern European medals, most from the estate of the distinguished Canadian diplomat Claude Charland, former Ambassador to Guatemala, Mexico, Italy, Libya and (finally) France.  Some of these pieces are quite remarkable in terms of theme and design – please take a look!

Further auction sessions will be launched throughout the next few weeks, promising our usual remarkable diversity and character – the hallmarks of our “Weird & Wonderful” philosophy!

How to take part

Starting Sunday, 21 January 2018 you can join on the fun at our eBay auction page Alliance Coin.

Sean Isaacs

Boxing Week Sale at Alliance Coin & Banknote

Doors open Thursday morning at 10:00 am for our annual Boxing Week Sale! Three days of amazing sales: 28 – 30 December 2017. Thurs & Fri 10am – 7pm, Sat 10am – 5pm.

It’s the biggest event of the year at Alliance Coin & Banknote with discounts on virtually every item in the store. This includes below-cost prices on even the most recent 2017 Royal Canadian Mint products – the only place in the country you’ll find prices like these!

Details of Boxing Week Sale 2017 at Alliance Coin & Banknote