A Whale of a Time Locating the Beluga

Question: A month or so ago, you had an article about a Canadian coin with a whale on it. I believe your article said this was a commemorative coin for the Beluga whale, which is on the endangered species list. I am most interested in this coin as my daughter is a participant in the Adopt a Whale program. I have called several coin shops and no one seems to know anything about this coin. Can you give me the name of a coin shop in the Orange County area that might carry this coin?--A.L.McW.

Answer: You have not been able to locate this coin because it is a new issue. There is usually an interval between the time a coin is released until it reaches the resale market. Some coins reach dealers sooner than others. Also, there is usually a cutoff period of ordering coins.

As an example, Canada has just announced a proof gold coin similar to the silver one you inquired about. Of course, it’s more expensive. The $100 Canadian gold piece features the endangered Bowhead whale with mintage limited to a maximum of 95,000 for the one-quarter-ounce coin. The ordering deadline is Nov. 30.

To order the gold or silver, write the Royal Canadian Mint, P.O. Box 476, Station A, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 9H3; or telephone (800) 267-1871 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.


Q: Attached is a list of coins found in my father’s collection. Please list the values.--D.B.G.

A: I’ve priced your coins at the minimum. If they are uncirculated, some could be worth a lot more.

The 1853 half dime, for example, is $5 and up; the 1890 Indian head cent is $1; the 1843 and 1958 cents are face value or perhaps a slight premium; 1907 nickel is 7 cents; 1938 Buffalo nickel, 15 cents; 1938 Jefferson nickel, face value; 1942 and 1944 Jefferson nickels, 20 cents each; 1913 dime, $4.25; 1942, 1961 and 1965 dimes, 40 cents each for the 1942 and 1961, face value for the 1965; 1895 and 1927 quarters, $2 each; 1964 quarter, $1; 1943, 1937, 1954 and 1964 half dollars, $2 each; 1969 quarter, 70 cents; 1881, 1900, 1922 and 1926 dollars, $8 each and up; 1972 dollar, face value.

Coin News


Gold and silver continue as the major precious metals in the bullion coin market, but platinum is making some headway. The latest entry is from Australia, which is introducing its first series of platinum legal tender bullion coins, to be known as the Koala (pictured). The coin, to be available this month, are in 1-ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce and one-tenth ounce sizes, with face values of $100, $50, $25 and $15, respectively. Coins will be priced to the value of platinum on world markets, plus a premium for minting and handling. North American distributors are A-Mark Precious Metals of Santa Monica, the Mocatta Corp. and Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith.

An educational forum will be conducted by the American British Numismatic Society in conjunction with the Long Beach Numismatic and Philatelic Exposition. The forum will be Oct. 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Grand Prix Lounge of the Long Beach Convention Center. Michael J. Mansley, deputy director of sales for the British Royal Mint, will lead off the session, followed by George L. Russell who will discuss “Medals of the Crimean War.” Richard J. Trowbridge is executive director of ABNS, P.O. Box 652, Saugus, Calif. 91350; telephone (805) 252-8865.

An art poster depicting the uncirculated 1793 Chain AMERI. cent is being released with an edition limited to 1,000. Enlarged color photographs of the obverse and reverse are shown. Posters are $10, plus $2 for mailing from Bowers & Merena, P.O. Box 1224-NR, Wolfeboro, N.H. 03894.

Coin Auctions


More than $7 million is expected to be realized from the six-session sale of the Lee and Shaffer collections later this month. The Lee Collection features California fractional gold, the Shaffer collection features commemorative half dollars. Other material in the auction brings the total number of lots to more than 6,000. Sales take place Sunday at 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.; Monday at noon and 6 p.m.; and Tuesday 27 at noon and 6 p.m. at Superior Galleries, 9478 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills. For information, call (213) 203-9855.

An impressive offering goes on the auction block Oct. 5 in the aptly called Rare and Important United States Gold Coins sale at the Plaza Hotel in New York. Stack’s, which is auctioning these coins, says the sale “consists of more than 250 of the rarest U.S. gold coins dated between 1795 and 1932 . . . They could realize $5 million.” For catalogue and auction information, contact Stack’s, 123 W. 57th St., New York, N.Y. 10019; telephone (212) 582-2580.

Alpert cannot answer mail personally but will respond to numismatic questions of general interest in this column. Do not telephone. Write to Your Coins, You section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.