Sunday 23rd September 2018

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The Royal Canadian Mint makes history to commemorate history

by Greg Klein | September 4, 2018

Impractical but legal tender just the same, the Royal Canadian Mint’s latest batch of coins features, not for the first time, a world first. This one’s an oval- and concave-shaped one-kilo 99.99% silver coin. Using innovative techniques to portray a traditional theme, it shows a boatload of voyageurs having “just cleared a treacherous cascade, their canoe almost launching itself from this incredibly sculpted and immersive design.”

Royal Canadian Mint makes history to commemorate history

The oval shape “beautifully frames the design while its concave shape heightens the sense of perspective,” the Mint enthused. “The ultra-high relief delivers incredible depth and dimension which are further enhanced by the coin’s antique finish.” The result “showcases incredible artistry and the Mint’s technical prowess that has made it a global leader for over a century.”

Although hardly the Mint’s largest coin, this one sells for 10 times its face value of $250. Just 400 copies have been struck.

This certainly isn’t the first time voyageurs have canoed a course across Canadian coins. A pair of paddlers predominated on silver dollars in circulation between 1935 and 1986. The same duo would have reappeared in 1987, when Canada struck a new coin to replace $1 notes, had the dies not gone missing on their way to the Mint’s coin-casting facility. As a result, Canada got stuck with the loonie, a less inspiring but arguably more representative image of our contemporary society.

Royal Canadian Mint makes history to commemorate history

Something of an anomaly among the Canadian-themed releases announced September 4 was Superman: The Last Son of Krypton. Justified by the fifth anniversary of the hero’s Canadian numismatic debut, the fame of Canadian comic book artist Jason Fabok and maybe also the man of steel’s Canadian co-creator, Joe Shuster, the $100 10-ounce silver coin actually serves as a base for a gold-plated statue. It sells for $1,199.95.

Presenting an icon more commonly associated with Canada and the North, another coin/statue shows a whale tail extending from the surface as a humpback takes a deep dive. With each hand-carved soapstone sculpture unique, the five-ounce $50 silver coin costs $549.95.

Another arctic scene employs another Mint innovation, that of dimensional paint. This shows a polar bear cub cautiously approaching the water while its mother and sibling swim below surface, who are seen as if “looking through water.” The 62-gram $30 silver piece sells for $199.95.

Royal Canadian Mint makes history to commemorate history

Among several other issues available this month, the Mint celebrates the 30th anniversary of its platinum coin, “still recognized as one of the purest in the world, a sought-after piece whose maple leaf is the unmistakable symbol of outstanding Canadian craftsmanship.” The four-piece set goes for $4,999.95.

As a maker of numismatic history itself, the Mint commemorates a little-known aspect of historic Canadian currency with its Playing Cards of New France release. Due to a shortage of coins in 1685, playing cards with handwritten notations served as currency. Although intended as a temporary measure, “card money was re-issued and circulated like modern-day banknotes until 1759,” the Mint reveals.

In recognition of the practice, four 1.5-ounce silver pieces with narrow rectangular proportions represent the king of each suit. With a face value of $25 each, the set costs $649.95 and comes with a complete deck of paper cards.

Royal Canadian Mint makes history to commemorate history

Read more about the Royal Canadian Mint.

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