Solid Radar Notes
By: Jamie Horkulak
One of the hottest areas in Canadian paper money collecting right now has to be “solid radars”, that is, where the serial number consists of all the same digit. Values of these continue to rise, as they have for the last 2 decades.
To calculate these values, one must consider a number of factors. Not only are they quite scarce, with only 9 notes being solids out of 10 million made, their shear aesthetics drive collectors into a bidding frenzy. To add yet another factor, special consideration must be placed on the solid 9’s serial number. Any note with this number was the last in a bundle, and therefore quite often is seen with “banding” or other handling damage. The catalog does not reflect it yet, but the 9’s should command a premium in the future, especially in gem condition.
What the catalog does already reflect is the premium placed on the solid 8’s number. Not only is it a solid, but a rotator as well. That is, it reads the same upside down. Another unwritten factor in the solid 8’s scenario, is the special interest and demand from Asian collectors. The numeral 8 is a symbol of luck and prosperity, so to have a note with all 8’s is quite a treasure. The catalog states 8’s command an additional 10 to 20% premium, but the market is already pushing over 50% premium for gem examples. A recent Ebay auction realized $1800 for a $2.00 1974 RP8888888.
Generally, the earlier the series the higher the value for solids, with 1937 and earlier almost unheard of, devil face issue quite scarce, then modified and newer being what we usually see offered. What is not commonly known however, is the scarcity of the high denominations of the 1954 issue. Based on the amount of prefixes used, the $100 1954 modified issue could only have 19 solids printed in all signatures, and the $50, only 17. According to some researchers, the only $100 1954 solid to have appeared publicly for sale was B/J1111111, which was held in a private collection for decades in Singapore, until a recent auction in Hong Kong where it was purchased by a Canadian collector, along with the $1, $10 and $20, for $5500 US plus juice against a $1000-$1200US estimate. According to the same researchers, there are only about 3 known $50 modified examples, these are, A/H7777777, B/H8888888 and one other unidentified example. With all the enthusiasm amongst collectors and dealers toward solids, there are dealers with standing “buy” prices at full catalog, one would think of solids as still being a good investment. But knowing the scarcity of the $50 and $100 one can only think the catalog values are a simple fabrication, and with the input of researchers whom have only seen but one or two ever offered, it won’t be long before the catalog reflects values possibly 10 times what they are now.
Previously published in the ENS “The Planchet” Vol-55 Issue-07