Topic: 1986 $5 Bird Series GOG Test: new information and expanded serial number ranges  (Read 9696 times)
Just Bank Notes
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This new recent information is being shared on this forum to inform collectors, buyers, sellers in a fair manner.  A more detailed article will be published in a future CPMS Journal.

The Bank of Canada performed a series of durability tests using $5 Bird Series bank notes.  A government publication, Bank of Canada Review Autumn 2007 describes $5 bank note circulation testing with a new material trademarked “Luminus” by Domtar, a Canadian security paper manufacturer.  Circulation trials were conducted from July 1995 to 1998.  In 2012, the bank confirmed that $5 Bird Series test notes used in circulation trials had prefix and serial numbers GOG 0100000-0199999.  Circulation tests proved successful; however in 1999 the paper manufacturer withdrew its offer to supply Luminus for future bank notes.

Some bank note collectors have heard that GOG test notes were called “GoGo notes”.  The Bank of Canada commented that this was a combination of the GOG prefix and test serial numbers starting with a zero.  A test note with GOG 0xxxxxx was GOG 0 or “GoGo”.  This clear serial number distinction would make sense from a practical point of view for people involved in culling notes from circulation throughout the two year trial.  It would also support a view that regular non-test GOG notes had serial numbers starting with 1 through 9.

The Bank of Canada has previously released little information about GOG tests.  Other information has circulated in the bank note collecting public, however, has not been officially confirmed.

In 2013, CPMF reported the first $5 Bird test note discovered GOG 0168401 (sold by G. Bell Auctions in 2013). The man who found it shared the note’s provenance on CPMF.  His mother, who lived in Saint John, always cashed her paycheque at her local RBC branch and they sometimes gave her new bank notes.  She put new notes away from time to time and the GOG note was one amongst many other regular notes.  After she died, her son discovered her collection included this GOG test note.

Saint John and Ottawa are known as favourite locations for Bank of Canada circulation trials. The discovery of an uncirculated GOG test note handed out by a bank in Saint John appears to confirm that circulation trials were being conducted in that city in 1995.

In July 2022, I visited the Bank of Canada Museum in Ottawa and noticed one particular $5 Bird Series bank note on display had a GOG prefix.  I took a photo because it was prominently displayed apart from a group of all denominations of the Bird series.

I only recently decided to check the serial number on that GOG note at the museum. It was GOG 0500152. Since it was outside the disclosed test range and the NCC does not have any GOG test note images available online for public viewing; I decided to ask the Bank of Canada. (Was this GOG a repeat of the G/R test note seen on display at the museum for years before the general collecting public noticed?)
A knowledgeable source at the Bank of Canada’s Currency Museum released more details including serial number ranges of $5 Bird Series tests for various paper materials and control notes.

The Bank of Canada’s information is summarized below:

   Test and Control Notes                                 Serial Number Range      Number of Notes Printed
   Luminous substrate paper tests #1,2,3          GOG 0100000 – 0219999         120,000
   Notes containing 100% cotton                      GOG 0280000 – 0399999         120,000
   Control notes containing 75% cotton             GOG 0400000 – 0519999         120,000

Based on the above, the revised number of GOG test notes printed has increased to 360,000.  As we have done with other test notes; control notes are an integral part of any test to provide a direct comparison of local conditions at the time test notes are circulating.  They were put into circulation and recovered over the same period of time.

A very preliminary register of GOG test notes is shown below:


   1986   $5   GOG 0168401   Bonin - Thiessen   BCS Unc 60   G. Bell Auction (May 2013)
   1986   $5   GOG 0191731   Bonin - Thiessen   Legacy VF 20   G. Bell Auction (April 2022)
   1986   $5   GOG 0206790   Bonin - Thiessen   Unc              National Currency Collection
   1986   $5   GOG 0500152   Bonin - Thiessen   Unc              National Currency Collection

This register is expected to increase with the expanded serial number range.

Please share any other GOG test notes with me.  Confirmed notes will be added to the register.

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Great info & thanks for sharing JBN.

I recall when that lucky chap posted his inherited GOG $5.00 test note & hearing about its later auction results. Talk about amazing story right there.

I will be sure to be on the look out for these even though I seldom see the GOG prefix (test note range or non test note range) TBH.

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Great info  8)
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Thanks for providing this information, great work! Would it be possible to reach out to your contact at the museum and get answers to the following questions?

#1. Luminus tests 1,2,3: What does this mean?  Were three batches released into circulation at different times?  Why were only serial numbers GOG 0100000 – 0199999 confirmed before by the bank?  Which range is correct?
Can the bank now confirm WHERE and WHEN exactly the Luminus notes were released into circulation?
#2.  Notes containing 100% cotton: why is this special?  Are not all bird series notes 100% cotton?
#3.  75% cotton.  What is the other 25%?
Can the bank now confirm WHERE exactly the notes were released into circulation (for all three test notes)?

As to the register of GOG test notes, the note with the serial number 0168401 was regraded by PMG as UNC 64. The record can be found here:

Just Bank Notes
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Thanks for the feedback!  Here is my response.  It is not the Bank of Canada’s.

The Bank of Canada’s mandate includes production and distribution of bank notes for circulation.  The public needs to have confidence in these notes and the bank is continuously evaluating new security features.  Work includes testing material and printing techniques both internally and occasionally externally with circulation trials.

The Bank of Canada will limit the information they divulge to collectors… and counterfeiters!

To this point, I don’t expect the Bank to share more information regarding bank note composition details on tests or regular notes.  Divulging when and where tests occur would distort the redemption rates of circulating notes in trials because collectors would be hunting for test notes at the same time.

I am pleased the Bank released this much information for the Birds GOG test notes. This amount of information is similar to details provided about other tests with 1954 S/R and Multi RS notes for example. 

Can anyone on CPMF confirm if a third GOG test note was found in circulation?  Someone posted on CPMF in 2012 that they had GOG 0125297.  Was this a genuine test note and is an image available?

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Would it also be possible to ask your contact for any info on the M/C prefixes  FTH ($10), BSW ($20), AMK ($50) and EKZ ($100), which may also be test notes.


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