TORONTO – A $2 bill with a rare number-letter combination is expected to fetch up to $20,000 at a two-day Toronto auction.
That's inflation at 10,000 times original value.
The 1986-series bill with an AUH-prefix — the three letters before a seven-digit serial number — is one of only five known, said Canadian Paper Money Society vice-president Jared Stapleton, whose Toronto Coin Expo runs Friday and Saturday at the Toronto Reference Library.
Geoffrey Bell Auctions is running a coinciding coin and currency sale on Thursday and Friday.
Some people are content with low-grade older bills, but condition is often rough because "you're dealing with a paper product and they can get damaged and soiled easily," Stapleton said Wednesday. Anyone seeking currency and coins for investment should "collect the best."
Such guidelines can pay off.
A 1911 $500 bill featuring Queen Mary, wife of King George V, was saved from being shredded with old documents when the late owner's relative spotted what turned out to be one of only three survivors. It sold for $322,000 four years ago.
Bell sold a 1925 King George V $500 note sold in 2010 for $235,750.
While some old notes are quite valuable, dedicated modern currency collectors and dealers hunt abnormal and rare serial letter-number combinations, Brian Bell, of Geoffrey Bell Auctions, said from Saint John, N.B.
The sale also features private notes that banks circulated.
The Bank of Canada took over release of all Canadian currency by the mid-1940s, compensating institutions for their bills as customers exchanged them for federal equivalents.
A rare set of its 1935 first issue $1-to-$1,000 specimen notes in both English and French, with "00000" serial numbers, is estimated to be auctioned for up to $150,000.
For more information, check: www.torontocoinexpo.ca/home/auction.php, then choose “Auction.”