Canada launches its first meteorite adorned coin in honour its Royal Astronomical Society

We don’t cover every release from the Royal Canadian Mint as the volume of them has become quite overwhelming, but we do like to pick out what we think are the most interesting, or simply what we think are the best of them. This one is definitely interesting as it seems to have captured general attention and caused a spike in aftermarket prices. Given the prevalence of meteorite coins appearing on the market over the last few years, we can’t imagine the frenzy is being driven by the more hardcore coin collector, so one that resonates with the Canadian public, perhaps. Similar stories can be told about the Falcon Lake coin from a couple of months ago, as well as the recent gimmicky carousel coin issue.

The more informed coin collector will no doubt be aware of some of the superb meteorite coins released by such producers as Coin Invest Trust (CIT), the Mint of Poland, and others. So what has made this one stand out? No idea, to be honest. A simple coloured one-ounce coin with a meteorite fragment stuck to the face is hardly cutting edge in this genre, and even the fragment is Argentinian – not Canadian. The subject commemorated is certainly a worthy one. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) has been contributing to the human body of knowledge for 150 years and that’s something that should be acknowledged.

The coloured image is a collage of astronomical features, including the simply breathtaking Pillars of Creation, so plenty of appeal to astronomy buffs. A fragment of meteorite from the expansive Campo del Cielo fields is attached to the face. The obverse is the usual RCM effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Sussana Blunt. Packaging is quite disappointing. The RCM has shown a willingness to embrace the latex frames for display, as well as some very high quality boxes, but this is one of those served up in the standard maroon snapper box. A shame given the display potential.

As we hinted at earlier, this coin has picked up some good appreciation on the secondary market, but how long that lasts is open to question. The 4,500 mintage is high for the genre, and if we’re being completely honest, the European competition is much more ambitious in design, rarer in mintage, and more attractive. Even the Campo del Cielo meteorite has appeared on several coins before. It’s good to see the RCM release their first meteorite coin and have it be successful, but we’d like to see something a bit more creative next time. Available from several of our sponsors, these are selling very well, so if you want one, now is likely the time.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

Founded in 1868, The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) has nurtured the passion of astronomers while fostering the curiosity of anyone who has ever looked up at the stars and wondered what lies beyond. We are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the RASC with an awe-inspiring (and scientifically accurate) reverse design that adds a photo-realistic twist to the Society’s sesquicentennial logo! To top it all off, the design includes an authentic meteorite fragment, which is a fitting tribute to the contributions of RASC members.

REVERSE: Designed by Alexandra Lefort, your coin is a re-interpretation of The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s sesquicentennial logo in a scientifically accurate, photorealism art style. The original logo features stars that allude to Canadian contributions to stellar spectroscopy and photometry, and a globular cluster that honours the scientific work of Helen Sawyer Hogg and Canada’s cooperative partnerships; both are colourfully re-imagined here as the Eagle Nebula—specifically the pillars of interstellar gas and dust known as the Pillars of Creation, where the formation of new stars is a symbolic representation of the RASC’s beginnings (and by extension, its anniversary).

A fixture in RASC public outreach efforts, the Moon was chosen to represent the lunar calendars of the First Nations peoples, and the navigational astronomy that guided many European discoverers during Canada’s early history. Beneath it, the Andromeda galaxy—the nearest major galaxy to our own—is a symbolic ode to Canadian contributions to cosmology.

Blazing as it burns through Earth’s upper atmosphere, the depiction of a meteor is topped by a genuine iron meteorite fragment sourced from the Campo del Cielo meteorite fields, where the impact craters date back an estimated 4,500 years. Both the meteorite and the view of the Manicouagan crater in Quebec are a nod to the RASC’s longstanding interest in the study of planet geology, meteor dynamics and impact cratering, and to the excellence of Canadian research in these fields. Always fascinating, the space-weather phenomenon of the aurora borealis adds a “True North” flourish that a design that encapsulates 150 years of exploring the cosmos. The reverse also includes the word “CANADA”, the double commemorative dates “1868–2018”, and the face value “20 DOLLARS”.

OBVERSE: The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.

METEORITE: Front and center on your coin, the extraterrestrial piece of our solar system was sourced from the Campo del Cielo meteorite field in Argentina, where a large fragment was first documented in 1576. A polycrystalline coarse octahedrite, the IA iron meteorite was recovered from one of 26 impact craters formed roughly 4,500 years ago, when a shower of metallic meteorites dispersed fragments across an area of roughly 320 square kilometres. The typical composition of a Campo del Cielo meteorite is 92.7% iron, 6.15% nickel, 0.42% cobalt, 0.37% carbon and 0.28% phosphorus.

https://www.mdm.de/
SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $20 Canada
COMPOSITION 0.9999 silver
WEIGHT 31.39 grams
DIMENSIONS 38.0 mm
FINISH Proof
MODIFICATIONS Colour, meteorite fragment
MINTAGE 5,500
BOX / COA Yes / Yes
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By |2018-07-02T21:33:07+00:00July 2nd, 2018|Categories: Coloured, Nature, Inserts, Silver, Canada, Royal Canadian Mint|0 Comments

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