Some of the very old Canadian 50 cent pieces, like the ones with Queen Victoria (pictured), are worth quite a bit of money. Coins dated before 1936 generally carry a substantial numismatic (coin collector) premium over and above face value of the coin. Modern coins, like the one in our secondary picture with King George VI, are worth face value (50 cents in Canada) or their silver value, whichever is larger.
As with all British coins, the reigning monarch appears on the 'heads' side.
As always, precious metal content sets the minimum value for a coin. Even if a coin is completely damaged, a silver coin cannot be worth less than its silver value. Use web sites such as kitco.com to look up the current value of silver. It changes every day. Here is a listing of the silver content of Canadian 50 cent coins:
1870 to 1910: 0.35 troy ounces of silver
1911: 0.27 ounces
1912 to 1919: 0.35 ounces
1920 to 1967: 0.30 ounces
1968 to 1996: 0 ounces silver (coin is made of nickel)
Starting in 1995, Canadian 50 cents are made of 0.35 troy ounces of silver, but they do not enter circulation; they are issued only in proof versions and sold to collectors.
To compute the silver value, multiply the weight by the current price of silver. If, for instance, silver is selling at $25 US dollars per troy ounce and your Canadian 50 cent coin is dated 1942, the silver value is $25 x 0.30 = $7.50. Be sure to look up the current value of silver.
Returning to the old dates, here are approximate catalog values for common date coins dated before 1936:
worn condition: $10 to $50 US dollars, older more valuable
average circulated: $30 to $100
well preserved: $200 to $500
fully uncirculated: $1000 to $5000
These are catalog values for undamaged coins. To understand these values, use our Important Terminology page (link at upper left). Cavescott's coin is apparently damaged, so its value goes down to almost zero. It sounds like this specimen had a hold drilled through it and the hole was later filled with some type of material.
Now there are also several *better data* Canadian 50 cent pieces that catalog above the *common date* prices above. These are listed below. The value shown is for average circulated coins.