Canadian Tire Money: Coupon Collecting Worth Thousands

Canadian Tire Money: Coupon Collecting Worth Thousands

Just about everybody has some Canadian Tire money stuffed in the back of a drawer somewhere. Now might be a good time to bring it out into the light to see if it’s worth anything.

In 2017, a $2 Canadian Tire bill sold at auction for more than $3,000. This particular two-dollar bill was printed in 1989 and is a sought-after collector’s item because of a printing error. For Canadian Tire Coupon collectors, these peculiarities are considered rare and highly valuable.

Canadian Tire History

The Canadian Tire Company evolved from a chain of stores established in 1909, known as the Hamilton Garage and Rubber Company. In 1922, brothers and founders, John William Billes and Alfred Jackson Billes, pooled their money together and opened up the first retail store, Hamilton Tire and Garage Ltd., in downtown Toronto at Yonge and Gould. They specialized in reselling rubber tires but soon branched out into automotive, hardware, sports, leisure and housewares.

In 1927, the name changed to Canadian Tire and has been a mainstay in the Canadian retail landscape ever since.

How Did Canadian Tire Money Get Started?

It wasn’t until 1958, with the opening of the first gas bar at Yonge and Davenport in Toronto, that the first Canadian Tire coupons were printed and sent into circulation. The enterprising idea came from one of the co-founder’s wives, Muriel Billes. In effect, she created the first customer loyalty program in retail history.

The coupons were handed out to customers in return for buying gas. They offered discounts at the Canadian Tire merchandise retail outlet, incentivizing customers to visit the store and make another purchase.

By 1962, several coupon denominations were being printed, including 1¢, 2¢, 3¢, 4¢, 15¢, 20¢, 30¢, 35¢, 40¢, 45¢ and 60¢.

These were printed by none other than the Canadian Bank Note Company and the British American Bank Note Co. – the same company that prints Canadian paper money. No wonder Canadian Tire money looks so authentic.

The coupons were so successful that in 1985, customers could get Canadian Tire money at the CT service stations as well as the merchandise retail outlets.

What Makes Canadian Tire Money So Collectable?

The CT 1989 two-dollar bill that sold for more than $3,000 is considered rare and valuable because of a printing mistake. On the back of the two-dollar note is a serial number, which is usually evenly spaced out.

On this particular bill, the 10 digits were printed without the standard spacing or ‘kerning’ of the typeface. Irregularities like these are exactly the kind of thing that excites a Canadian Tire Coupon Collector.

Coupon Printing Error Collectibles

There are many examples of these printing mistakes and they fall into a whole separate category of CTC collecting, called Errors and Varieties:

"This type of collection varies widely and is a continual collecting challenge. Such errors include serial numbers errors, printing or omission errors, colour variations and cutting errors." (Canadian Tire Coupon Collectors Club)

Collectors with a keen eye keep a lookout for Canadian Tire coupons containing errors such as the following:

  • Print offsets
  • Ink smears
  • Missing print pass
  • Blocked printing
  • Reverse image
  • Creased printing
  • Double print pass

Coupon Serial Number Errors

It’s not just printing errors that attracts the CT coupon collector. Serial number errors, as seen with the 1989 two-dollar bill, are also considered rare and valuable. Many things can go wrong with the printing of the serial numbers and this factor alone makes them more collectible and varied.

Some of these imperfections include:

  • No numbers
  • Missing digits
  • Partial digits
  • Upside down digits
  • Duplicate digits
  • Mismatched numbers
  • Mismatched prefix
  • Shifted or slanted digits
  • Misalignment
  • Reverse printing

Coupon Varieties Collecting

Much can go wrong in the printing and production process, such as changes to the typeface. When these peculiarities get released into circulation, it increases their value. These anomalies are called ‘varieties’ in the collecting world. Varieties differ from Errors in a number of ways and may not be as easy to spot. Here are a few examples:

Which Canadian Tire Coupons Are Most Valuable?

The 1989 two-dollar CT coupon fetched the hefty price of $3,000 because of a printing error. But it’s not just a mistake in the printing or production process that attracts CT coupon collectors. Rare issues and limited editions are also considered valuable and highly collectible.

$100 Canadian Tire Coupon 100th Anniversary Issue

In 2022, to mark its 100th year in business, Canadian Tire issued a special 100-dollar bill, but there was a catch. To get your hands on one of these highly collectible notes, you had to participate in a nationwide treasure hunt.

In a press release, Canadian Tire stated:

"Canadian Tire is celebrating its 100th birthday by giving back to Canadians and to mark their birthday month, they’re hiding exclusive $100 Canadian Tire bills across Canada."

A 100th anniversary special edition Canadian Tire coupon will fetch anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000.

75th Anniversary Special Edition Issue

To mark the company’s 75 years in the retail trade, Canadian Tire issued a special edition anniversary series for all denominations. These notes can fetch anywhere from $300 to $2,000.

1996 Set of Last Issue BABN Series

This is a complete denominational set from 1996, marking the last print run for the British American Bank Note Co., before they switched printing production to the Canadian Bank Note Company. Not only is this a complete set, but the serial numbers all match. Listed on eBay for $1,375.

How Do I Start Collecting Canadian Tire Coupons?

The Canadian Tire Coupon Collectors Club recommends you start by deciding on a particular series of notes. These are dependent on the design and the years of circulation.

There are four collecting series in total including:

  • Gas Bar Series - 9 series 1958-1985
  • Store Series - 30 series 1961-2009
  • Lubritorium (or Sandys) - 7 series 1962-1969
  • Lubritorium (or Sandys) - 7 series 1962-1969

Once you’ve chosen a series category, you can narrow down your collecting criteria according to several varying factors.

Here are just a few examples of the many subcategories of collecting Canadian Tire money:

  • Rare Issues and Limited Editions, such as the $100 coupon
  • Topic Collecting, such as the 1976 Olympic Issue
  • High and Low Serial Numbers
  • Denominational Collecting
  • Specimen Collecting
  • Replacement Note Collecting

You can find more information on collecting CT coupons at the Canadian Tire Collectors Club website.

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