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High/Low FAQ

  1. What all this about highs and lows?
  2. What do you mean by signatures?
  3. What do you mean by signature combination?
  4. What signature combinations are there?
  5. Why care about signatures, isn't the prefix good enough?
  6. So who cares about these high/low things?
  7. What is an insert?



  1. What all this about highs and lows?

    Highs and lows are a variation of collecting that tries to determine from field observation, that the highest serial number and the lowest serial number is for a particular denomination. This is usually done by prefix (the three letters at the beginning of the serial number), but signature combinations are also considered.

  2. What do you mean by signatures?

    On every note that the Bank of Canada has produced are the signatures of the Deputy Governor and the Governor of the Bank of Canada. Although their signatures are hard to read, there aren't that many combinations, and its easy to determine what you have.

  3. What do you mean by signature combination?

    When the Bank of Canada first issued the 1935 series of notes, J.A.C. Osbourne was the Deputy Governor, and G.F. Towers was the Governor; hence we have Osbourne/Towers signatures on all 1935 series notes. Unfortunately, King George V died unexpectedly so in 1937 new notes had to be issued. Osborne/Towers signatures appeared at first, then after Osborne resigned D. Gordon took over as Deputy (Gordon/Towers) and then J.E. Coyne (Coyne/Towers)... Towers must have been a hard guy to work with. :)

  4. What signature combinations are there?

    Here's a complete list with the series that the combination appeared:

    • Osbourne/Towers - 1935, 1937
    • Gordon/Towers - 1937
    • Coyne/Towers - 1937, 1954 Devils Face
    • Beattie/Coyne - 1954 Devils Face, 1954 Modified
    • Beattie/Rasminsky - 1954 Modified, Multi-Coloured Series
    • Bouey/Rasminsky - 1954 Modified, Multi-Coloured Series
    • Lawson/Bouey - 1954 Modified, Multi-Coloured Series
    • Crow/Bouey - Multi-Coloured Series, Bird Series
    • Thiessen/Crow - Multi-Coloured Series, Bird Series
    • Bonin/Thiessen - Bird Series
    • Knight/Thiessen - Bird Series, Canadian Journey Series
    • Knight/Dodge - Bird Series, Canadian Journey Series

  5. Why care about signatures, isn't the prefix good enough?

    Well, as we have seen recently, the Bank of Canada doesn't always (seldom, in fact), changeover to new signature combinations at nice round numbers of millions. For example, the Bird Series $50 note that we currently use changed from Knight/Thiessen to Knight/Dodge at FHV6920000. On a number of occasions, the BoC has dropped a prefix part way through the numbers and didn't complete all 10 million notes. Finding notes and ranges of notes with special qualities is just fun to watch.

  6. So who cares about these high/low things?

    Good one. I guess you do if you've read all the way down here. Some collectors like to get notes that are as close as possible to the first and the last note of a prefix, or the first and the last note of a series or the closest to a signature changeover. Also, by tracking notes as they appear, it's one way for us to determine what are insert notes.

  7. What is an insert?

    For complete details on what an insert is, check out http://www.cdnpapermoney.com/English/BoC/Insert_Notes.htm.

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