On February 6, 1952, King George VI of the United Kingdom passed away in his sleep. Upon his death, his daughter Elizabeth assumed the crown to become Queen Elizabeth II. As is tradition, United Kingdom and Common Wealth Nation coinage replaced the effigy of King George the VI with Queen Elizabeth II on all denominations in the following year of 1953.
Canada, being a Common Wealth Nation, likewise updated their coinage and thanks to Elizabeth II’s longevity has provided us with decades of diversity with Queen Elizabeth II coinage.
One of the most enjoyable series to collect is the Canadian Elizabeth II Five Cent series. It’s diversity of offerings and affordability over the decades has provided collectors with a steady stream of examples without breaking the wallet.
The reverse was carried over from the previous George VI series with no changes and was designed & engraved by W G. E. Kruger-Gray which features a beaver on a rock .
The obverse design features a bust image of Queen Elizabeth II facing right and on the outer periphery is the phrase "ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA".
Other obverse design features include composition and mint marks. Modern issues are made of nickel plated multi-ply plated steel and to identify the composition the Royal Canadian Mint added the composition mark “P” just below the Queen’s bust image from 1999 to 2006. It is important to note that in 1999 steel was issued as test pieces only.
Partially through 2006, and currently in use today, the RCM replaced the “P” composition mark with a mint mark logo that was a maple leaf within a circle. Other obverse markings included special mint sets issued by the Winnipeg Mint in 1998, 2000, & 2003 that carry a mint mark of “W”.
With more than 50 years of coin production the series offers a total of 8 major types. Additionally, there many more varieties that include errors and die differences.
Type 1 1953-1954 – Young Queen with plated steel composition and 12 sided shape
Type 2 1955-1962 – Young Queen with nickel composition and 12 sided shape
Type 3 1963-1964 – Young Queen with round shape
Type 4 1965-1966, 1968-1981 – Queen with Tiara
Type 5 1982-1989 – Queen with Tiara composition change nickel to copper/nickel
Type 6 1990-2001 - Crowned Head Queen
Type 7 2003-Present – Modern Queen Image
Variety 1 1992 – 125th Anniversary of Confederation, coins were dual dated with the years 1867 & 1992
Variety 2 2002 – 50 year Anniversary of ascension to Thrown also referred to as the Golden Jubilee, coins were dual dated with the years 1952 & 2002
All issues are readily available and affordable.