Currency of the Dominion of Canada (1878-1898)


This page shows examples of each major note which was issued for use between 1878 and 1898 in the Dominion of Canada.
It does NOT cover minor varieties.
All of the currency designs displayed here were printed for circulation as legal tender.

NOTES:
1. Click on any photo to load a much larger version of the same photo.

2. You will find the Charlton Catalogue number listed at the top of the text box beside each set of images.
This web page makes references to various Charlton Numbers. The copyrights to these Numbering Systems are the property of CHARLTON INTERNATIONAL INC and have been used here with their written consent.

3. Because it is illegal to copy a photo of any banknote for the purposes of counterfeiting, the ability to 'right-click' and save these images has been disabled.



1878-1898 Dominion of Canada Notes

One standard practice was drastically changed for the 1878 series of banknotes. In the past all banknotes which were separately counter-signed in each city by men who worked for the Department of Finance. Starting in 1878 a group of women were hired in each city to replace men for this purpose.
New collectors might assume that the printed numbers found on Dominion of Canada banknotes are "serial numbers". This is not the case. Notes were printed in sheets of four notes each as shown below. The number found on each note is actually the sheet number, and all notes on each sheet share the same number.

Each note on the sheet was assigned a "Check Letter" - A, B, C or D.
With the "Scalloped Border" 1 dollar notes as well as all 2 dollar notes, the Check letter is located to the left of the sheet numbers.

With the "Lettered Border" 1 dollar notes, the full set of sheet numbers were printed four times, which required the addition of a "Series" letter which was printed to the left of the sheet number on both sides of the face. To accomplish this the Check letters were moved below the sheet numbers:



1878 1 Dollar "Scalloped Border" Note (Montreal)

DC-8a

1 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Center - The Countess of Dufferin.
Back - The Great Seal of Canada and "PAYABLE AT MONTREAL".

You will note that the border of the face on this note consists of a pattern of scallop shapes.

While the front of each note is identical, the back of each note states which city the note could be redeemed in.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (T.D. Harington) on the right side of the face.
After the notes were received in Montreal, each note was hand counter-signed by a designated agent.

Each city used a different colour of ink to print the sheet numbers. Notes to be redeemed in Montreal used blue ink for their sheet numbers.

1878 1 Dollar "Scalloped Border" Note (Toronto)

DC-8b

1 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Center - The Countess of Dufferin.
Back - The Great Seal of Canada and "PAYABLE AT TORONTO".

You will note that the border of the face on this note consists of a pattern of scallop shapes.

While the front of each note is identical, the back of each note states which city the note could be redeemed in.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (T.D. Harington) on the right side of the face.
After the notes were received in Toronto, each note was hand counter-signed by a designated agent.

Each city used a different colour of ink to print the sheet numbers. Notes to be redeemed in Toronto used red ink for their sheet numbers.

1878 1 Dollar "Scalloped Border" Note (St. John)

DC-8c

1 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Center - The Countess of Dufferin.
Back - The Great Seal of Canada and "PAYABLE AT ST. JOHN".

You will note that the border of the face on this note consists of a pattern of scallop shapes.

While the front of each note is identical, the back of each note states which city the note could be redeemed in.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (T.D. Harington) on the right side of the face.
After the notes were received in St. John, each note was hand counter-signed by a designated agent.

Each city used a different colour of ink to print the sheet numbers. Notes to be redeemed in St. John used black ink for their sheet numbers.

NOTE - Images are courtesy of the Bank of Canada Museum's National Currency Collection.

1878 1 Dollar "Scalloped Border" Note (Halifax)

DC-8d

1 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Center - The Countess of Dufferin.
Back - The Great Seal of Canada and "PAYABLE AT HALIFAX".

You will note that the border of the face on this note consists of a pattern of scallop shapes.

While the front of each note is identical, the back of each note states which city the note could be redeemed in.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (T.D. Harington) on the right side of the face.
After the notes were received in Halifax, each note was hand counter-signed by a designated agent.

Each city used a different colour of ink to print the sheet numbers. Notes to be redeemed in Halifax used green ink for their sheet numbers.

1878 1 Dollar "Lettered Border" Note (Montreal)

DC-8e

1 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Center - The Countess of Dufferin.
Back - The Great Seal of Canada and "PAYABLE AT MONTREAL".

You will note that the border of the face on this note consists of the text "1 ONE DOLLAR" repeated all the way around the outside edge.

While the front of each note is identical, the back of each note states which city the note could be redeemed in.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (T.D. Harington) on the right side of the face.
After the notes were received in Montreal, each note was hand counter-signed by a designated agent.

Each city used a different colour of ink to print the sheet numbers. Notes to be redeemed in Montreal used blue ink for their sheet numbers.

1878 1 Dollar "Lettered Border" Note (Toronto)

DC-8f

1 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Center - The Countess of Dufferin.
Back - The Great Seal of Canada and "PAYABLE AT TORONTO".

You will note that the border of the face on this note consists of the text "1 ONE DOLLAR" repeated all the way around the outside edge.

While the front of each note is identical, the back of each note states which city the note could be redeemed in.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (T.D. Harington) on the right side of the face.
After the notes were received in Toronto, each note was hand counter-signed by a designated agent.

Each city used a different colour of ink to print the sheet numbers. Notes to be redeemed in Toronto used red ink for their sheet numbers.

1878 1 Dollar "Lettered Border" Note (St. John)

DC-8g

1 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Center - The Countess of Dufferin.
Back - The Great Seal of Canada and "PAYABLE AT ST. JOHN".

You will note that the border of the face on this note consists of the text "1 ONE DOLLAR" repeated all the way around the outside edge.

While the front of each note is identical, the back of each note states which city the note could be redeemed in.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (T.D. Harington) on the right side of the face.
After the notes were received in St. John, each note was hand counter-signed by a designated agent.

Each city used a different colour of ink to print the sheet numbers. Notes to be redeemed in St. John used black ink for their sheet numbers.

1878 1 Dollar "Lettered Border" Note (Halifax)

DC-8h

1 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Center - The Countess of Dufferin.
Back - The Great Seal of Canada and "PAYABLE AT HALIFAX".

You will note that the border of the face on this note consists of the text "1 ONE DOLLAR" repeated all the way around the outside edge.

While the front of each note is identical, the back of each note states which city the note could be redeemed in.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (T.D. Harington) on the right side of the face.
After the notes were received in Halifax, each note was hand counter-signed by a designated agent.

Each city used a different colour of ink to print the sheet numbers. Notes to be redeemed in Halifax used green ink for their sheet numbers.


1878 2 Dollar Note (Montreal)

DC-9a

2 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Center - The Earl of Dufferin.
Back - The Great Seal of Canada and "PAYABLE AT MONTREAL".

While the front of each note is identical, the back of each note states which city the note could be redeemed in.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (T.D. Harington) on the right side of the face.
After the notes were received in Montreal, each note was hand counter-signed by a designated agent.

Each city used a different colour of ink to print the sheet numbers. Notes to be redeemed in Montreal used blue ink for their sheet numbers.

1878 2 Dollar Note (Toronto)

DC-9b

2 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Center - The Earl of Dufferin.
Back - The Great Seal of Canada and "PAYABLE AT TORONTO".

While the front of each note is identical, the back of each note states which city the note could be redeemed in.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (T.D. Harington) on the right side of the face.
After the notes were received in Toronto, each note was hand counter-signed by a designated agent.

Each city used a different colour of ink to print the sheet numbers. Notes to be redeemed in Toronto used red ink for their sheet numbers.

1878 2 Dollar Note (St. John)

DC-9c

2 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Center - The Earl of Dufferin.
Back - The Great Seal of Canada and "PAYABLE AT ST. JOHN".

While the front of each note is identical, the back of each note states which city the note could be redeemed in.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (T.D. Harington) on the right side of the face.
After the notes were received in St. John, each note was hand counter-signed by a designated agent.

Each city used a different colour of ink to print the sheet numbers. Notes to be redeemed in St. John used black ink for their sheet numbers.

1878 2 Dollar Note (Halifax)

DC-9d

2 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Center - The Earl of Dufferin.
Back - The Great Seal of Canada and "PAYABLE AT HALIFAX".

While the front of each note is identical, the back of each note states which city the note could be redeemed in.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (T.D. Harington) on the right side of the face.
After the notes were received in Halifax, each note was hand counter-signed by a designated agent.

Each city used a different colour of ink to print the sheet numbers. Notes to be redeemed in Halifax used green ink for their sheet numbers.


1882 4 Dollar Note

DC-8h

4 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Left - Ornate 4, cherubs, Victoria Bridge
Front Center - The Marquis of Lorne.
Front Right - The Great Seal of Canada*
Back - None.

* The Great Seal of Canada was originally orange, but the ink is unstable. Its colour will vary from orange to brown.

The $4 note was the first time Canadian banknotes were printed on watermarked paper: The words DOMINION OF CANADA on two intersecting bands, and a rose, thistle, maple leaf and shamrock around the intersection.

Watermarked paper would not be used again until the $100 "Journey" note on 2004.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Minister of Finance (J.M. Courtney) on the right side of the face. The Finance Department's clerks applied their manuscript signatures to the left side of the note.

These notes were printed in sheets of four, with the same sheet number printed on each note. The Check letter can be found above and to the left of "COUNTERSIGNED" near the lower left corner of the face, and (using a different type face) just above and to the left of the large "4" in the top right corner of the face:

   


1887 2 Dollar Note

DC-11

2 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Left - Marchioness of Landsdowne.
Front Center - None.
Front Right - Marquis of Landsdowne.
Back - Jacques Cartier's arrival in Quebec.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Minister of Finance (J.M. Courtney) on the right side of the face.
The left side of each note contains the manuscript signature of one of the many women employed by the Finance Department who were hired for this purpose.

These notes were printed in sheets of four, with the same sheet number printed on each note. The Check letter is located above each vignette.

More than one series of these notes were printed. The first series (like the example shown to the left) did not include a Series Letter.
For the second series a letter "A" was added in bold black ink below each sheet number (like the example shown below):



1897-1898 Dominion of Canada Notes

In 1897 the Canadian government stopped buying bank notes from the British American Banknote Company. They changed their supplier to the American Banknote Company in New York who built a branch plant in Ottawa. They took the opportunity to re-design all of their banknotes, although they had sufficient quantities of already printed high denomination notes to last for several more years.

1897 1 Dollar Note

DC-12

1 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Left - Countess of Aberdeen.
Front Center - Log drive on a Canadian river.
Front Right - Earl of Aberdeen.
Back - Parliament Buildings, view from front gate to the Centre block.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (J.M. Courtney) on the right side of the face.
The left side of each note contains the manuscript signature of one of the many women employed by the Finance Department who were hired for this purpose.

These notes were printed in sheets of four, with the same sheet number printed on each note. The Check letter is located at each end of the "DOMINION OF CANADA" curved text in the upper centre of the face.

There was only one series of notes produced in 1897 so there was no need to use a series letter.


1898 1 Dollar Note (Courtney, Inward)

DC-13a

1 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Left - Countess of Aberdeen.
Front Center - Log drive on a Canadian river.
Front Right - Earl of Aberdeen.
Back - Parliament Buildings, view from front gate to the Centre block.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (J.M. Courtney) on the right side of the face.
The left side of each note contains the manuscript signature of one of the many women employed by the Finance Department who were hired for this purpose.
If you look at the back of the note you will see the word "ONE" printed vertically at each end of the note. In this version of the note the text curves inward, toward the centre of the note:


These notes were printed in sheets of four, with the same sheet number printed on each note. The Check letter is located at each end of the "DOMINION OF CANADA" curved text in the upper centre of the face.

There were 19 series' of notes produced in 1898 and a series letter (A thru S) was added just below the sheet number on both sides of the face.

This variety of note used the series A, B, C and D.

1898 1 Dollar Note (Courtney, Outward)

DC-13b

1 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Left - Countess of Aberdeen.
Front Center - Log drive on a Canadian river.
Front Right - Earl of Aberdeen.
Back - Parliament Buildings, view from front gate to the Centre block.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (J.M. Courtney) on the right side of the face.
The left side of each note contains the manuscript signature of one of the many women employed by the Finance Department who were hired for this purpose.
If you look at the back of the note you will see the word "ONE" printed vertically at each end of the note. In this version of the note the text curves outward, away from the centre of the note:

These notes were printed in sheets of four, with the same sheet number printed on each note. The Check letter is located at each end of the "DOMINION OF CANADA" curved text in the upper centre of the face.

There were 19 series' of notes produced in 1898 and a series letter (A thru S) was added just below the sheet number on both sides of the face.

This variety of note used the series letters D thru K.

1898 1 Dollar Note (Boville, Outward)

DC-13c

1 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Left - Countess of Aberdeen.
Front Center - Log drive on a Canadian river.
Front Right - Earl of Aberdeen.
Back - Parliament Buildings, view from front gate to the Centre block.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (T.C. Boville) on the right side of the face.
The left side of each note contains the manuscript signature of one of the many women employed by the Finance Department who were hired for this purpose.
If you look at the back of the note you will see the word "ONE" printed vertically at each end of the note. In this version of the note the text curves outward, away from the centre of the note:
These notes were printed in sheets of four, with the same sheet number printed on each note. The Check letter is located at each end of the "DOMINION OF CANADA" curved text in the upper centre of the face.

There were 19 series' of notes produced in 1898 and a series letter (A thru S) was added just below the sheet number on both sides of the face.

This variety of note used the series letters L thru S.


1897 2 Dollar Note (Courtney)

DC-14a

2 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Left - Edward, Prince of Wales.
Front Center - Six men in a fishing dory.
Front Right - None.
Back - Farmers harvesting wheat.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (J.M. Courtney) on the right side of the face.
The left side of each note contains the manuscript signature of one of the many women employed by the Finance Department who were hired for this purpose.

The back of this variety was printed using red-brown ink, unlike the next two varieties which used dark brown ink.

These notes were printed in sheets of four, with the same sheet number printed on each note. The Check letter is located at each end of the "DOMINION OF CANADA" curved text in the upper centre of the face.

There were 10 series' of notes produced in 1898. The first series showed no Series Letter but for the following 9 series, a series letter (A thru I) was added just below the central vignette, between the signatures.

This variety of note did NOT use a series letter.

1897 2 Dollar Note (Courtney)

DC-14b

2 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Left - Edward, Prince of Wales.
Front Center - Six men in a fishing dory.
Front Right - None.
Back - Farmers harvesting wheat.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (J.M. Courtney) on the right side of the face.
The left side of each note contains the manuscript signature of one of the many women employed by the Finance Department who were hired for this purpose.

The back of this variety was printed using dark brown ink, unlike the DC-14a variety which used red-brown ink.

These notes were printed in sheets of four, with the same sheet number printed on each note. The Check letter is located at each end of the "DOMINION OF CANADA" curved text in the upper centre of the face.

There were 10 series' of notes produced in 1898. The first series showed no Series Letter but for the following 9 series, a series letter (A thru I) was added just below the central vignette, between the signatures.

The first notes of this variety did not use a series letter, but all subsequent series used the letters A, B and C.

1897 2 Dollar Note (Boville)

DC-14c

2 Dollar

VIGNETTES:
Front Left - Edward, Prince of Wales.
Front Center - Six men in a fishing dory.
Front Right - None.
Back - Farmers harvesting wheat.

These notes were printed with the signature of the Deputy Receiver General (T.C. Boville) on the right side of the face.
The left side of each note contains the manuscript signature of one of the many women employed by the Finance Department who were hired for this purpose.

The back of this variety was printed using dark brown ink, unlike the DC-14a variety which used red-brown ink.

These notes were printed in sheets of four, with the same sheet number printed on each note. The Check letter is located at each end of the "DOMINION OF CANADA" curved text in the upper centre of the face.

There were 10 series' of notes produced in 1898. The first series showed no Series Letter, but for the following 9 series a series letter (A thru I) was added just below the central vignette, between the signatures.

This variety used the series letters D thru I.


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