2014-2015 CANADIAN BIRDS OF PREY by the Royal Canadian Mint

2014-2015 CANADIAN BIRDS OF PREY by the Royal Canadian Mint 2016-11-05T06:34:16+00:00

Project Description

After the success of the Canadian Wildlife series, a 1oz,  six-piece silver bullion coin series issued twice annually by the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) between 2011 and 2013, it was clear a new series would plug the new gap. The sequel series didn’t stray far from the original theme, but took to the air in style. Featuring birds of prey indigenous to the North American continent, the four coins that make up this set all show birds of prey in flight, usually in the act of hunting.

In terms of specification and mintage, these remain identical to Canadian Wildlife. One ounce of 0.9999 silver with a million coins struck per design is now standard fare for the Royal Canadian Mints non-Maple bullion coins and these are no different. Also released at the rate of two coins per year, all of these also sold out in good time, no doubt a combination of design and the relatively limited mintage compared to the Silver Maple Leaf (SML).

The designs on these are a step up from Canadian Wildlife in our view. The clipped-wing look of three of the coins drew some minor negative comment, but the designs by Emily Damstra are nice and dynamic, well proportioned and consistent. Popular opinion seems to agree these are a little more regarded than their predecessors. With the exception of the fourth coin, which had some changes to the inscriptions, the obverse remains constant.

Available in 500-coin monster boxes, filled with 20 tubes of 25 coins, most dealers sell individual units to collectors, or those wanting a few as part of a mixed stack. Unfortunately these coins seem to suffer quite widely from the same ‘milk-spot’ issue that plagues the Maple and the Canadian Wildlife ranges, despite selling for a higher premium than the SML. It’s a flaw introduced during the minting of many mass-produced silver bullion coins, and one which the RCM shows little interest in fixing. The issue is cosmetic and while annoying on the SML, it’s more unwelcome on these due to their collectibility. Be wary when purchasing for a collection and don’t think being graded and slabbed is any protection; it isn’t. Other than that issue, a sought after set of bullion coins which are still available from big dealers like APMEX.

THE DESIGNS

2014 PEREGRINE FALCON

The Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) is the world’s most widespread raptor, the only major ice-free landmass it doesn’t inhabit being New Zealand. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-grey back, barred white underparts, and a black head. The wingspan generally ranges from 74-120 cm, with a body length of 34-58 cm, females being larger than males. Females usually weigh over 800g, and males under 700g. They mate for life, returning to the same nesting spot every year.

While its diet consists almost exclusively of medium-sized birds, the Peregrine will occasionally hunt small mammals, small reptiles, or even insects.The Peregrine Falcon lives mostly along mountain ranges, river valleys, coastlines, and increasingly in cities. The fastest animal in the world, the Peregrine is capable of exceeding 200mph in a dive, one individual being timed at an amazing 242mph.

A study testing the flight physics of an “ideal falcon” found a theoretical speed limit at 400 km/h (250 mph) for low altitude flight and 625 km/h (388 mph) for high altitude flight.

REVERSE: Pictures a Peregrine Falcon about to strike from a dive. Inscribed along the top is “CANADA”, along the bottom “FINE SILVER 1 OZ. ARGENT PUR.”, and in the artwork the coin purity, “9999.”

2014 BALD EAGLE

The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a sea eagle found in North America. Its range includes most of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States, and northern Mexico. It is found near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth trees for nesting.

The Bald Eagle is an opportunistic feeder which subsists mainly on fish, which it swoops down and snatches from the water with its talons. It builds the largest nest of any North American bird and the largest tree nests ever recorded for any animal species, up to 4 m deep, 2.5 m wide, and 1 metric ton in weight. Sexual maturity is attained at the age of four to five years. The average lifespan of Bald Eagles in the wild is around 20 years, with the oldest confirmed one having been 28 years of age. In captivity, they often live somewhat longer and in one instance, a captive individual in New York lived for nearly 50 years.

Bald Eagles are not actually bald; the name derives from an older meaning of “white headed”. The adult is mainly brown with a white head and tail. The sexes are identical in plumage, but females are about 25 percent larger than males. The beak is large and hooked. The plumage of the immature is brown.

REVERSE: Pictures a Bald Eagle in flight with a fish in its talons. Inscribed along the top is “CANADA”, along the bottom “FINE SILVER 1 OZ. ARGENT PUR.”, and in the artwork the coin purity, “9999.”

2015 RED-TAILED HAWK

The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) breeds throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West Indies, and is one of the most common birds of prey on the continent.

It is one of the largest members of the genus Buteo in North America, typically weighing from 690 to 1,600 g (1.5 to 3.5 lb) and measuring 45–65 cm (18–26 in) in length, with a wingspan from 110–145 cm (43–57 in). The Red-tailed Hawk displays sexual dimorphism in size, with females averaging about 25% heavier than males.

The Red-tailed Hawk occupies a wide range of habitats and altitudes, including deserts, grasslands, coniferous and deciduous forests, agricultural fields and urban areas. It lives throughout the North American continent, except in areas of unbroken forest or the high arctic. It is legally protected in Canada, Mexico and the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

REVERSE: Pictures a Red-Tailed Hawk with its wings spread and beak open. Inscribed along the top is “CANADA”, along the bottom “FINE SILVER 1 OZ. ARGENT PUR.”, and in the artwork the coin purity, “9999.”

2015 GREAT HORNED OWL

The Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus), also known as the tiger owl or the hoot owl, is a large, extremely adaptable bird with a vast range and is the most widely distributed true owl in the Americas.

Its primary diet appears to be rabbits and hares, rats and mice and voles, although it freely hunts any animal it can overtake, primarily other rodents and small mammals, but also larger mid-sized mammals, various birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. The  owl is generally colored for camouflage with underparts usually light with some brown horizontal barring; the upper parts and upper wings are generally a mottled brown usually bearing heavy, complex darker markings. All great horned owls have a facial disc.

Adult great horned owls range in length from 43 to 64 cm, (average 55 cm), and possess a wingspan of 91 to 153 cm (average 122 cm). Females are somewhat larger than males. Mean body weight is 1,608 g (3.545 lb) for females and 1,224 g (2.698 lb) for males, but depending on subspecies, maximum weight can reach 2,503 g.

REVERSE: Pictures a Great Horned Owl, wings and talons extended swooping down for prey. Inscribed along the top is “CANADA”, along the bottom “FINE SILVER 1 OZ. ARGENT PUR.”, and in the artwork the coin purity, “9999.”

OBVERSE IMAGES

The obverse of the four coins depicts the usual effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Canadian artist, Susanna Blunt, her initials visible on the Queens shoulder. The design changed for the fourth coin, however. The first three are the same as the previous Canadian Wildlife coins. At the top of the coin sits the inscription “ELIZABETH II”, and at the bottom the denomination “5 DOLLARS” and the year of issue, either 2014 or 2015.

The fourth coin has the date “2015” at the top, the denomination “5 DOLLARS” at the bottom, the inscription “ELIZABETH II” to the left, with “D.G.REGINA” to the right. The rim of all the coins are reeded.

SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$5 CANADIAN 0.9999 SILVER 31.103 g 37.97 mm BULLION 1,000,000 NO / NO

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