Canadian Shinplaster 25 Cent Banknote

by Johnny

About Shinplaster Banknotes

Shinplaster was paper money of low denomination, typically less than one dollar, circulating widely in the economies of the 19th century where there was a shortage of circulating coinage. The shortage of circulating coins was primarily due to the intrinsic value of metal rising above the value of the coin itself. People became incentivized to take coins out of circulation and melt them for the true intrinsic value. This left no medium of exchange for the purchase of basic consumer goods such as milk and newspapers. To fill this gap, banks issued low-denomination paper currency.

The term shinplaster came into use during the American Revolutionary War. Shinplaster was a piece of paper soldiers put inside their boots to cushion their shins against chafing and rash. Common, low-denomination notes, perceived as almost worthless compared to hard currency such as gold and silver, came to be known by this term.


Canadian Shinplaster Denominations

Denomination25 Cents
Years Issued1870, 1900, 1923

Shinplasters, 25-cent Dominion government notes that were first issued in 1870 as a temporary measure to counteract the effects of an excess of American silver coinage circulating in Canada. Shinplasters were popular and were reissued in 1900 and 1923. Over 5 million were in circulation in 1929, but in 1935 the new BANK OF CANADA began recalling them. The term may have been used initially in American revolutionary times by soldiers who used similar bills to pad their shoes.

1870The initial issue of 1870 was composed of approximately 4,300,000 notes. These notes were not issued with serial numbers or check digits. While the 3rd group of these notes printed only made up a total of 300,000 notes, they are still the most common variety to this day. The initial “series A” notes are by far the rarest and command well over $100 for even poor examples.
1900The second issue was released in 1900 and were redesigned to feature a seated Britannia figure with trident and shield. Due to a loss of records covering the period from 1914 to 1921, the total number of 1900 25-cent notes issued is unavailable. However, of the remaining periods, over 5 million notes were issued. Many of these notes are still quite common today and decent enough examples can be had for less than $50.
1923The third and final issue of Canada’s 25-cent notes was released beginning in 1923 and continued until the Bank of Canada was created in 1935. This issue differed in that it was not only redesigned from its predecessors, but it is also the only one to feature serial numbers. A total of 7 million of these 1923-dated shinplasters were issued before the Bank of Canada took over.


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