Wayne P. writes: I own a 1859 penny from Canada (probably in the condition of EF-40). How much would this be worth? Thank you
The first decimal coinage for Canada was the 1858 cent. This coin was produced in 1858 and 1859. The design shows the head of Queen Victoria of England facing left, the Latin legend “VICTORIA DEI GRATIA REGINA CANADA” (Victoria, by the Grace of G-d, Queen of Canada). The reverse shows a motif of maple leaves surrounding a circular beaded border enclosing ONE CENT 1859. The diameter of the coin is 25.4 mm, it weighs 4.54 grams and has a plain edge.
No more cents were produced until the Canadian Confederation was established in 1876. The previous design was continued.
The 1859 Canadian cent is very common and has one of the highest 19th century mintages but there are three date varieties that would bring far more than the dollar or so that a normal 1859 would bring. The most valuable of these is the 1859 over 8 Narrow 9, worth about $200 in EF40.
It’s easier to identify these varieties if you see pictures of the dates and overdates. I suggest buying a copy of Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins. It has excellent photos that will make it easy to see if your coin matches one of the more valuable varieties. You should be able to order it online or through your local book store or coin shop.