Collecting Canadian Currency

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$25 Bank of Canada 1935 Commemorative Issue (French). Courtesy of Heritage Auctions,

Collecting Canadian Currency home page

Three major types of Canadian currency have been issued since the 1790s: Chartered Bank notes (1790s-1940s), Dominion of Canada notes (1870-1924) and Bank of Canada notes (1935-present). There are also several other smaller categories including Province of Canada, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island notes.

Historical Background

Canadian Currency Types

1897 $2 Dominion of Canada note. Courtesy of Heritage Auctions,

There are three major types of Canadian currency:

  • Chartered bank notes (1790s-1940s)
The first Canadian Chartered Bank notes were issued by the short-lived Canada Bank in Montreal, established about 1792. Over the next 150 years, at least 166 chartered Canadian banks issued bank notes. Many of these banks issued beautifully designed notes which are avidly collected.
This wikipedia page lists 123 of the Canadian Chartered Banks that issued notes between 1792 and 1944, with links to further information on some of the banks listed.
  • Dominion of Canada bank notes (1870-1924)
After the Canadian Confederation in 1867, Dominion of Canada notes were issued in limited quantities from 1870-1924 in 24 different design types, most of which have at least two different varieties.
  • Bank of Canada bank notes (1935-present)
Starting in 1935, and continuing today, the central Bank of Canada has issued paper money in denominations from $1 to $1000. The 1935 Series had both English and French language versions, and these early notes can be quite rare and valuable. The 1954 Series includes the famous 'Devil's Face' variety.
  • There are also a few other smaller types of Canadian currency including Province of Canada, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland notes.

Other Canadian Currency Topics

This 2007 Paper Money article provides a detailed overview of the bank notes issued by Canada's ten chartered banks between 1935 and the mid 1940s. These notes were issued in the small size format introduced in the United States in 1929 and adopted by Canada's central Bank of Canada with its initial note issue of 1935.

Ways to Collect Canadian Currency

1859 $3 Colonial Bank of Canada, Toronto. Chartered Bank Note.

There are many of ways to collect Canadian currency, limited only by your imagination:

  • By Location: Many collectors collect notes from their Home Town or Province.
  • By Type: Some collectors specialize in collecting notes from Chartered Banks, or Dominion of Canada notes, or Bank of Canada notes.
  • By Theme: For example, Monarchs, other famous people, Sailing Ships, Whaling or Fishing scenes, Animals are just a few of the many possibilities.
  • Or ?????: Use your imagination! There is no wrong way to collect paper money!

SPMC Paper Money Articles Index (Canada)

This Index page lists all of the 30+ articles on Canadian Currency that have appeared in the Paper Money Journal since the first issue in 1962.

Research Resources


  • Canadian Bank Notes (8th Edition-2013) by R.J. Graham.
This is the standard reference for Canadian Bank Notes issued by the Chartered Banks from the 1790s to 1943.
  • Canadian Government Paper Money (30th Edition-2018) by R.J. Graham, Editor.
This is the standard reference for notes of the French Colonial issues, Provincial issues, Province of Canada issues, Dominion of Canada issues and Bank of Canada issues from 1685 to the present.



This is the official website of the Canadian Paper Money Society established in 1964. The CPMS publishes a quarterly Journal which contains a wealth of information about Canadian paper money. Archives of all past issues of the Journal (and the former Newsletter) are available to members.
This website has examples of many rare and exotic Canadian notes, with detailed information about each of the notes.
The Bank of Canada's Currency Museum houses the National Currency Collection, including Canadian coins, tokens & paper/polymer money.
This is a link to the Heritage Currency Auction Archives for Canadian Currency.


  • The Canadian Paper Money Society publishes a quarterly Journal and all past issues are available online to members. CPMS
  • The SPMC Paper Money Journal is published bi-monthly and covers all facets of collecting paper money. Online and print options available for membership.