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!
One of the most fascinating things about coin collecting is of course the design on the coin – but what about the shape of the coin itself? As minting technology continues to advance, coins are being struck in all kinds of exciting and innovative shapes.
I’ve compiled a selection of coins which I consider to be 10 of the most collectable unusually shaped coins around…
1. The FIRST rugby coin of its kind…
To mark the Rugby World Cup last year, France issued the first ever coin shaped like a rugby ball.
The concave coins proved to be extremely popular with collectors worldwide, with many keen to add a coin with such a unique pedigree to their collections.
2. A coin shaped like a country…
The Perth Mint regularly issue map-shaped coins, taking advantage of their country’s unique and recognisable outline.
This series makes use of purpose-built tooling and die design to give the coin its distinctive shape.
The first coin in the series featured the Kookaburra, issued in 2012, since then there have been a variety of different animals to feature on the coin, with the most recent being the Redback Spider.
3. The ‘Imperial Egg’…
This impressive looking coin boasts beautiful enamelled colour and a shimmering gemstone inlay.
The ‘Imperial Egg’ Coin is based on the work of Fabergé and proved to be very popular with collectors last year, especially during the Easter period.
4. You’ll be lucky to find one of these…
You certainly won’t find this Four-Leaf Clover Coin in a field, no matter how hard you look! Legend has it that Eve took a four-leaf-clover from paradise as a memento for the wonderful time she had spent there – they’ve been considered lucky ever since.
Struck in gold to a proof finish, this cleverly produced coin could certainly be regarded as lucky by collectors who have one in their collection – as it is now highly sought-after.
5. The Earth-shattering coin…
The extra-terrestrial chondrite that has been set into the centre of this coin was sourced from a meteorite that crash-landed in Morocco in 2005. The space rock shattered into several pieces when it entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
The coin itself has been struck in a concave shape to represent the crater in which the piece of meteorite landed.
6. Is it a coin or is it a bar? It’s both…
This rectangular silver coin-bar features one of the world’s most iconic landmarks – London’s Tower Bridge.
It’s not often that you see coins minted in this shape – the ‘bar’ format is usually reserved for bullion.
This stunning coin boasts intricately detailed engraving and tiny detail can be seen on the Tower Bridge to create windows, clock and brickwork.
7. The poppy-shaped remembrance coin…
This coin’s unique shape and rich red printing on the reverse takes inspiration from the poppy, which has become synonymous throughout the world as a symbol of remembrance and the charitable work of The Royal British Legion.
Issued to commemorate the end of the First World War and to Remember the Fallen, the Poppy Coin is a significant issue that is poignant to many.
8. The coin that sold out in two days…
This remarkable coin is shaped like the iconic Canadian maple leaf, and proved so popular that it sold out at the Royal Canadian Mint in just 2 days.
Canadian Maple Leaf coins are some of the world’s most recognised Silver coins. This issue takes the design to a whole new level, complete with a special wooden display case. A stunning display that would certainly stand out on any mantlepiece!
Issued in China since 221 BCE, the Chinese Lucky Cash Coin features a square hole at its centre to represent Earth, while the circle symbolises heaven. This combination of heaven and earth make the coin a symbol of harmony and prosperity.
Chinese fortune-tellers would use cash coins, a tortoise shell, and their skill at numerology to tell the future. Because of their association with mystical prediction, these coins from China are thought to bring good luck.
10. And last but not least…
The playful Russian ‘Matryoshka Dolls’ first appeared in the late 19th century, now they’ve been immortalised on a silver coin.
This oval issue is displayed within special bespoke packaging which consists of two traditional wooden nesting dolls placed one inside the other – the coin and packaging are both something that I’ve never come across before!
Are you lucky enough to have any in your collection or have you perhaps seen any that you think should be on the list? Let me know in the comments below.
We still have a small allocation remaining of The Lucky Four Leaf Clover Gold Coin.
At this year’s American Numismatic Association World Money Fair in Chicago there is one coin everyone is talking about – the world’s first maple leaf-shaped coin.
Struck by The Royal Canadian Mint for Modern Numismatics International, this impressive Fine Silver $20 Coin is shaped like Canada’s iconic maple leaf and has such intricate engraving you can even see the veins in the leaf itself.
The Canadian Mint are known for their innovation and this is new release is no exception.
But it doesn’t stop there. They have even created a bespoke red maple leaf-shaped box complete with viewing window to add to the coins appeal.
Perhaps unsurprisingly this coin is set to be one of the fastest selling issues of 2015, with the Mint selling out of their allocation in 2 days.
The show ends on Saturday but this is certainly a coin that will be sought-after by collectors for many months to come.
The Westminster Collection has secured a limited stock of these stunning coins and you can add one to your collection today.
But you’ll have to be quick, it’s unlikely this opportunity will come up again.