When I think of Canada several things spring to mind: the iconic maple leaf, the caribou and beaver, ice hockey and Celine Dion, just to name a few. But at the top of my list is without a doubt the Royal Canadian Mint.
As one of the three ‘Royal’ Mints in the world – alongside The Royal Mint here in the UK and the Royal Australian Mint – they are known for their innovation and impressive minting techniques, resulting in some of the most magnificent issues I’ve ever seen.
So to celebrate Canada Day, I’ve rounded-up my top five favorite Canadian releases, each demonstrating why they are one of the most prestigious mints in the world. Believe me, some of these issues are truly incredible!
Take a look for yourself…
The R&D Security Test Token Set
It will come as no surprise to know that the Royal Canadian Mint is the market leader in numismatic security.
The R&D Test Token set offers us a glimpse at never-before-seen minting techniques which will shape our future coins, and are sure to impress even the most seasoned coin collectors.
Included are six specimen tokens with high-tech design elements showcasing fascinating examples of tri-metal technology and micro-text. What’s more, each token included in the set is a real life trial piece which has been used in laboratory testing. So each set is completely unique – no two will be the same! Click here to find out more >>
Lest We Forget Silver Helmet-Shaped Coin
This issue truly is one of a kind. The minting expertise required to strike such an impressive coin is astounding – I’ve never seen a coin like it.
Not only is it struck from the Mint’s signature .9999 Pure Silver, but it’s an incredible miniature replica of the steel Brodie helmets worn by British and Commonwealth forces during the First World War.
How the Mint achieved this result I will never know – it remains a closely guarded secret. There are even engraved cracks and markings you would find on an original helmet. The final antique finish gives an authentic distressed look, the fine detail is incredible. Click here to find out more >>
Pure Silver D-Day Coin
The first step in to battle takes incredible courage, and this year to mark the landmark 75th anniversary of D-Day the Royal Canadian Mint issued perhaps the most poignant D-Day commemorative yet.
This stunning issue perfectly captures the moment Canadian soldiers set foot on Juno Beach. It is expertly struck from a quarter ounce of .9999 Pure Silver – or “four nines Silver”, the purest grade available for which the Mint is known – and has an innovative reverse proof finish which replicates the texture of the sand. Click here to find out more >>
3D Monarch Caterpillar Coin
Some of nature’s most beautiful things come in small packages. And this remarkable issue is no different.
The Monarch Caterpillar Pure 1oz Silver Coin is a perfect combination of Italian craftsmanship and Canadian design. It features a stunning 3D Monarch Caterpillar handcrafted from Murano glass, poised upon the selectively coloured design of a swamp milkweed plant leaf.
The combined traditional engraving, colour and Murano glass creates a truly unforgettable piece. Click here to find out more >>
John Lennon Silver 1oz Coin
It’s hard to believe that just 50 years ago, John Lennon and Yoko Ono conducted their “Bed-in for Peace” protest against the Vietnam War and debuted the most famous anti-war anthem of all time – Give Peace a Chance.
It was a moment that has forever cemented a bond between John Lennon and Canada. A bond that is marked by the release of this limited edition John Lennon commemorative.
Using bespoke printing technology the coin features a photographic image of John and Yoko during their protest and is struck from 1oz Pure Silver to a mirror-like proof finish.
But that’s not all! There’s plenty of other fantastic coins that have been issued by the Royal Canadian Mint. You can take a look at the full range by clicking here >>
It’s surprising, in this new digital age, just how ‘hands-on’ designing a coin is. In fact, it’s very much the job of a master craftsman.
Never was this more evident than when the Isle of Man Treasury chose to mark the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria with three new coins, each with a brand new portrait.
The man they turned to was renowned sculptor Luigi Badia and here’s the remarkable process of how these coins were developed.
First Stage – Pencil designs
Like most products across all industries, designing a coin starts with pencil sketches. These are then amended, potentially many times, until a final sketch is produced and approved.
Second Stage – Plaster modelling
The second stage is arguably the most visually stunning. The sculptor, Luigi Badia in this case, will turn their sketches into a 3D ‘Plaster’ design. The skill involved in this process is really very impressive as every tiny detail must be modelled.
The plaster is far larger than the actual coin size to allow for this detail to be captured. The design will be resized in the next step of the process.
Third Stage – Digital Modelling
It’s during this stage where technology has certainly helped the design process. The 3D ‘Plaster’ designs are scanned and a digital file, called a greyscale, is created.
An engraving machine then uses this file to cut the design into a piece of steel that’s the actual size of the final coin. This will then be used to make the dies that will actually strike the coins.
Fourth Stage – Coin Striking
This final stage is when the physical coin comes to life. The specially prepared die is used to ‘strike’ the design onto a metal ‘blank’. The metal used for the blank can vary widely, from cupro-nickel to silver and gold.
Only once the mint is perfectly happy with the quality of the struck coins will they be issued.
The Queen Victoria Silver Antique £5 Set
This set is the only way to own all three of these stunning, specially commissioned Antique Silver £5 Coins.
Just 495 of these stunning sets are available worldwide and exclusive to The Westminster Collection.
A brand new Remembrance Day Poppy Coin has just been released in support of the Royal British Legion.
Issued especially to commemorate Remembrance Day, the Official 2015 Poppy Coin is the latest commemorative to be struck in support of the Legion and features a distinctive new ‘wreath’ poppy design.
I spoke to the designer, Chris Lloyd, to find out his inspiration behind the new design…
“I was inspired by the poignant poppy wreaths that are laid on War memorials during remembrance services all over the country and the world.
“I was keen to form the wreath shape around the edge of the coin using intricately detailed engraved RBL poppies, with individual poppies picked out in the traditional red colour as worn by the public every November.
“I hope that this coin will serve as a timeless reminder of the sacrifices made in conflict both past and present.”
A One-of-a-Kind Design
This exclusive new design is only to be found on the official range of coins issued in support of The Royal British Legion. The nuanced, textured piece of numismatic art is truly as unique as it is beautiful.
The only text on the reverse of the coin – ‘Lest we forget’ – taken from Laurence Binyon’s For the Fallen – serves as a starkly poignant reminder of the sacrifice made by so many.
A Range of Coins Available – Each with a Donation
The limited edition coins are available to own in a range of different metals to suit all collections. From a Proof condition £5 coin right up to an impressive 22 Carat Gold edition – there is even a generous 5oz Silver version, truly a sight to behold.
To further support the work of the Royal British Legion, The Westminster Collection have organised for a donation from the sale of each coin to go directly to the charity, helping them to continue to provide financial, social and emotional support to all who have served and are currently serving in the British Armed Forces and their families.
You can add the 2015 Remembrance Day £5 Proof Coin to your collection today – click here for details.
A donation from the sale of each coin will go directly to The Royal British Legion.