Canadian Five Cent Varieties


This page shows the major die varieties since Canadian coins were introduced in 1858. It does NOT cover "die blunders", where dies were re-punched with different years (and the previous number is visible below the current number), or where cracks appeared in the dies causing unwanted lines to appear in the coin. It also does not cover date doubling or special coins created for the collector market. All of the coin designs displayed here were manufactured for general circulation as legal tender.

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Article Index





1858 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1870 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1871 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1872H 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1874H 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1875H 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1884 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1885 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1886 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1887 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1897 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1900 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1902H 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1905 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1906 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1907 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1908 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1909 and 1910 5 Cent Canadian Coin Variety Identification
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1922, 29, 32, 34, 36 Reverse Varieties



There are two main varieties of this coin that occurred during the years 1922, 1929, 1932, 1934 and 1936.

These varieties refer to the position of the 'S' in 'CENTS' relative to the rim.

Because this difference is so hard to distinguish, many of the dates are worth the same, regardless of the position of the 'S'.



1926 Reverse Varieties

In 1926 there are two varieties; the 'near 6' and the 'far 6'. This refers to the location of the '6' in '1926' relative to the maple leaf.

Near '6' is the more common of the two and can be identified by the fact that the '6' nearly touches the maple leaf.

The Far '6' is much more scarce.



1932 Reverse Varieties
In 1932 there are two varieties; the 'near 2' and the 'far 2'. This refers to the location of the '2' in '1932' relative to the maple leaf.

Near '2' is the more common of the two and can be identified by the fact that the '2' nearly touches an imaginary line drawn between the lowermost points on the bottom leaf on each side of the date.
In addition, the distance between the "3" and the "2" is quite different between the two varieties (as shown above with the yellow rectangles).

The Far '2' is much more scarce.



1946 Reverse Varieties


1951 Obverse/Reverse Varieties

For the 1951 standard Beaver design, in the attempt to increase die life a few minor changes were made to the dies. The relief needed to produce the Queen's image was reduced (made shallower) and the beads were made smaller.

The primary way to tell the difference is to look at the "A" in "GRATIA". On the High Relief coins the top of the "A" points to a rim denticle, whereas on the Low Relief coin it points between two denticles.



1953 Varieties
Variety 1: NSF-Far (No Shoulder Fold, Far Leaf)

When the first coins of Elizabeth appeared in 1953, it was noticed that her shoulder appeared to be bare. This resulted from the fold of cloth on her shoulder being too weakly engraved into the dies to strike up well with only traces or none visible on most coins. These are known as the no-shoulder-strap or no-shoulder fold variety, usually abbreviated as NSS or NSF, but the best way to identify them is by "I"'s in the obverse inscription which have a distinct flare at both the top and bottom. There is also a slightly wider (than on the later type) gap between the small maples leaf's to the upper right and left and the denticles around the rim, which is why these are known as the "far leaf" variety, although the entire design is slightly smaller and the date is also further from the rim.

Variety 2: SF-Near (Shoulder Fold, Near Leaf)

To correct the bare shouldered look, part way through 1953 new dies were prepared with a deeper shoulder fold that struck up better and at the same time the shape of the "I"'s in the inscription were changed to straighter without that distinct flare. These are known as the shoulder-strap (abbreviated SS) or shoulder-fold (SF) variety. On the reverse the entire design was made slightly larger resulting in a smaller gap between the maples leaves and the denticles (they nearly touch the denticles) so this is known as the "near leaf" variety", although because the design is bigger the date is also closer to the rim.

1953 Mule Varieties
Due to incorrect die pairing a small number of 1953 five cent coins exist as either "SF far leaf" or "NSF near leaf" varieties, commonly called the SF mule and NSF mule.

Variety 3: SF-Far (Shoulder Fold, Far Leaf) - "Mule" Error

Variety 4: NSF-Near (No Shoulder Fold, Near Leaf) "Mule" Error. This mule variety is much rarer than the SF-Far one.


Note: In 1954 only the SF and NSF varieties exist (ALL 1954s are the Near Leaf variety).







1957 Bugtail Reverse Variety

One of the reverse dies developed a die pit on the tip of the beavers tail, resulting in coins with a raised dot in that position resulting in a variety known as the "bug tail".



1964 Extra Water Line Reverse Variety

One 1964 reverse die developed a heavy die crack above the water lines to the left of the beaver. The die crack looks like an extra waterline, resulting in the extra waterline (XWL) variety.



1965 Obverse Varieties

Qty 119 Small Beads, Attached Jewel, space between the two "I"s points between two denticles

Qty 138 Large Beads, Detached (or lightly attached) Jewel, space between the two "I"s points to a denticle





1977 High/Low 7 Reverse Varieties

1977 saw some dies with the last 7 in the date a little lower than the rest of the digits, creating "low 7" and "high 7" varieties. On circulation (MS) strikes both high and low 7's occur with the high 7 variety the scarcer of the two. In Proof-like and specimen sets only the high 7 occurs so while scarcer in MS strikes it is not a scarce variety overall.





1990 "Bare Belly" Reverse Varieties

After die polishing most of the fur was removed from the underbelly of the beaver on the reverse side, resulting in the "Bare Belly" variety. This die was polished several times, so differing degrees of apparent baldness exist.



1996 Near/Far 6 Reverse Varieties

There are near and far 6 varieties of the 1996 nickel, defined by the space between the tail of the 6 and the D of CANADA. All in mint sets are the near 6 variety, but circulation strikes are found in both varieties.

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