For decades they’ve been the coins that Canadian public never knew about – a hidden secret in Canada’s numismatic past.
But, now they’ve resurfaced and finally made it onto coins as they were originally destined to do.
A currency overhaul…
In January 1936, the death of King George V meant that all of Canada’s coins needed new obverse designs; this was the perfect opportunity to update the reverse of all but the dollar coin, too.
A committee was formed and 12 Canadian artists were invited to submit sketches for new circulation coins. The artists were given broad artistic freedom, although suggested themes included Canadian flora and fauna, or scenes highlighting agriculture and industry.
Initial submissions were all rejected, including designs submitted by the designer Emanuel Hahn. It seems his images were dismissed because they did not dispel the view of Canada as a northern wilderness.
Hahn’s three coins never made it onto circulation coinage, but are now considered some of the most beautiful designs in Canada’s history:
25-Cent Polar Bear
The first 25-cent coin design features a polar bear standing on an ice floe, its head turned toward the right side of the coin, while the open sea is visible behind the mound. A stylistic representation of the Aurora Borealis hangs over the low horizon and stretches across the northern sky, only yielding to the Big Dipper asterism that is a common element on all three coins.
The diamond-like stars are more prominent in the second 25-cent coin design, which centres on a goose in flight. The side-profile view allows for the inclusion of several details, including the flight feathers along the outstretched wings.
The five-cent coin’s reverse has a remarkable tie to the present: it is Hahn’s original caribou design, the precursor to the one now synonymous with Canada’s 25-cent circulation coin. Viewed in side profile, the ungulate moves beneath the night sky, where the Big Dipper is clearly visible.
The NEVER-SEEN-BEFORE coins, now reimagined…
None of the coins made it into circulation, but they have now been brought to coins for the FIRST TIME by the Royal Canadian Mint as part of a special limited edition Silver Proof set.
The fact that none of these coin designs ever entered circulation makes this set a very unique and special piece of numismatic history – so it’s no surprise that these fascinating coins SOLD OUT at the Mint in a flash.
If you’re interested…
We still have a limited number of these special sets available for UK collectors. But considering how quickly they sold out at the Mint, we don’t expect this stock to be available for long… Click here to add it to your collection now >>
It is always exciting to see new, innovative products coming out of the numismatic industry, and there is nothing quite like the test token set issued by the Royal Canadian Mint’s Research and Development lab. When you see this set it’s no surprise that the Royal Canadian Mint is a market leader in security. Looking to be at the forefront of new minting technologies this latest collection showcases some never before seen minting techniques which are guaranteed to impress both seasoned and budding collectors alike.
So what exactly is a ‘test token’ I hear you ask? A test token is a prototype of next generation currency, and is created purely to test new technologies and minting techniques before giving the green light to produce future coins with the technology. Since the tokens are test pieces their designs and technologies will not necessarily be replicated in future currency, perhaps only some of the techniques or designs will be taken forward,so the test pieces are one of a kind.
Chief Technology Officer at the Royal Canadian Mint, Dr Xianyao Li, says “the products in our R&D Lab Collection are tried,tested and true examples of forward-thinking technology that could re-define the future of domestic and foreign coins.”
Now we’re suitably intrigued about the new technologies featured in the set, let’s take a closer look at the tokens…
At first glance this perhaps looks to be the most unassuming token of the set, but looks can be deceiving as this token is an example of the advances currently being made in coin production to prevent counterfeiting. If you inspect the surface of the coin closely you will notice it resembles a pie-chart, with the surface subtly split up in to segments which are only just distinguishable. The slices are differentiated by the orientation and size of micro text which varies between segments. Micro text is one of the advancements in minting technology which has emerged in the last few years with the aim of preventing counterfeit coins, as the tiny text is difficult to replicate. Not only is the text extremely difficult to reproduce, it is also virtually indiscernible to the naked eye!
Caribou and Moose
The Caribou and the Moose instantly spring to mind when contemplating iconic Canadian imagery, so it would seem only natural they make an appearance in this set. Each token is crafted from multi-ply plated steel and includes both raised and incused maple leaf designs, instantly creating a noticeably three-dimensional textured surface. The depictions of the creatures on each coin have micro text hidden in their fur as an added security feature, and the maple leaf above the shoulder of each creature is also composed of micro text.
The maple leaf is synonymous with Canada and is instantly recognisable as one of its national symbols dating back to the 18th century. Considering this it is unsurprising then that The Royal Canadian Mint also uses this iconic leaf as its logo, creating a strong identity link between country and coinage. Two pieces in the set celebrate the maple leaf with both sides of the tokens featuring raised and incused leaves in a circular pattern with the Royal Canadian Mint’s logo at the centre. The combination of raised and stamped elements create a unique texture on the token which adds an extra layer of security because forgers will struggle to perfectly mimic it in counterfeits.
The clue is in the title with this one, as it has been produced from a Canadian patented tri-metal compound, consisting of a carefully balanced combination of multi-ply plated steel, brass plated steel, nickel plated steel and copper plated steel. Complex multi-metal compound technology is a security feature to prevent counterfeiting as the exact compound composition is patented and unknown so cannot be easily recreated in a replica.
Own a piece of history in the making
What makes this test token set truly remarkable is the fact that pieces included in the set are the real trial pieces which have been used in calibration and laboratory testing, so each one has been tried and tested making the collection truly unique – no two will be the same!
If you’re interested…
You can now own a piece of numismatic history in the making as we have secured 149 of these unique sets from the Royal Canadian Mint. Be ahead of the curve and add this sneak peek at the next generation of coinage to your collection today!