For the third year in succession the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) has released a range of coins featuring one of the most iconic characters in comics history, Superman. Unlike in 2013 when we saw seven coins released, all in large display boxes, the RCM has followed their 2014 launch with a range of three 1 oz silver coins and a 12g 14kt gold one, all in neat and tidy coin boxes. A far more sensible approach, the coins also closely follow the selection of themes from 2014 with one coin depicting a vintage scene, and the other three sticking with the modern interpretation of the character in comics.

Each coin takes an iconic piece of comic cover art and lightly adapts it for the coin format. For 2015 it’s the gold coin that depicts the 1940 take on the character, while the three silver coins stick with the modern Superman from the last few years. It’s a good selection with the Superman Unchained cover (lifting the tank) being the strongest for me, and Superman #28 (holding the name) the weakest. They could have overdone the colour, or gone with gimmicks, but didn’t, getting the balance just right. Saying that, we would like to see some clean-struck coins in the future, along the lines of the Sunshine Mints excellent Batman coin from last year. Packaging is far better than the big lumps from 2013 which were fine if you were a Superman collector buying one to display, but a pain for coin collectors buying them all.

Available to buyers in the US and Canada only and with limits of one gold and three silver (per design) coins per household, they’re up for sale now with early indications that a sell-out won’t be too long coming.

SUPERMAN COVER #28 (2014)

While following a lead on a story, intrepid reporter Lois Lane is suddenly ambushed by armed criminals; surprisingly, she is able to disarm these criminals with her strange psychic powers! Unusual things are happening in space too, where a mysterious, luminous door seems to be floating in Earth’s orbit. Superman’s attempt to move it is intercepted by Dr. Shay Veritas, who points out that they don’t know what the consequences could be. Returning to his apartment, Clark Kent is surprised to find his former roommate Jimmy Olsen there—it seems a life of riches doesn’t agree with Jimmy. Jimmy’s return is timely as he dispenses some friendly advice: if Clark is being offered millions for his blog by media tycoon Morgan Edge, then he must be very close to an important story. As Superman pursues Lois’ leads on the gang, he discovers they have a powerful benefactor—just as superhero Starfire bursts in looking for a fight…but why?

DESIGN: As seen on the cover of Superman #28 (2014), the reverse image features Superman in his Kryptonian battle armour, lifting the title of his comic book with the help of his heat vision and super strength. Dust and debris fall from the SUPERMAN title, as our superhero’s red-coloured cape billows in the wind. The reverse image’s detailed engraving is enhanced by the application of vibrant colour, all of which are framed within a series of concentric circles that add depth to the design and create the illusion that Superman is poised to leap out of the coin.

SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #2

July 10, 2013: Superman Unchained #2 is released during Superman’s 75th anniversary. It features six variant covers, one of which has been painstakingly reproduced on this coin and gives the impression that Superman is lifting the tank right off the coin!

Continuing from the first issue, Superman manages to save a collapsing building in Dubai; it seems this was masterminded by a terrorist group called the Ascension, which Batman later asserts is waging war on the modern world. But there’s more trouble on the horizon: Batman believes there is a new being whose physiology resembles Superman’s, but whose powers may in fact be more powerful. While Lois Lane chases down a lead on the Ascension in Nova Scotia, Superman heads for the Salt Flats to confront General Sam Lane, but soon finds himself surrounded by powerful, advanced weaponry. Suddenly, General Lane’s own mysterious weapon—the super-being Wraith—rises up to protect a weakened Superman and insists that he has been waiting a long time to confront Superman. With all of this unfolding, it’s not surprising that The Man of Steel is unaware that Lex Luthor has escaped from prison and intends to “save the world”

DESIGN: As seen on one of the six variant covers associated with Superman Unchained #2 (2013), the reverse image features vibrant colour in its depiction of Superman in action. Battling a corrupt and covert military force, Superman displays an incredible feat of strength as he lifts a tank over his head with just one arm. In the engraved background, high-tech tanks close in on the Man of Steel™, leaving a wake of destruction and rubble in their path. Surrounding the reverse image, a series of concentric circles add depth to the design, creating the illusion that Superman is poised to leap out of the coin.

ACTION COMICS #1 (2011)

Released in 2011, the “supersized” Superman Action Comics #1 presented a new, updated take on Superman as part of the relaunch of DC Comics titles; known as The New 52, the titles within each series offer a more modern take on its slate of characters through reimagined storylines, backstories and elements of their costumes.

In the New 52 universe, Superman is at the beginning of his crime-fighting career: he’s young, he can’t fly yet, he has a make-shift costume and he’s more of a vigilante. This issue featured several variant covers.

DESIGN: The reverse image recreates the 2011 cover of Action Comics #1, and features Superman as he runs from the authorities through the streets of Metropolis. The original artwork introduced a more modern take on a young Superman; wearing denim jeans and boots, Superman still maintains elements from his traditional costume with a blue shirt, red cape and the iconic ‘S’ shield emblazoned across his chest. Vibrant colour enhances the engraved portrait of Superman, even adding a red glow to the streaks caused by bullets that do little to slow him down. A series of concentric circles frame the reverse, adding depth to the overall design and creating the illusion that Superman is racing out from the coin at breakneck speed towards the viewer.

SUPERMAN #4 (1940)

Superman comes to the rescue in the issue’s first story, Superman versus Luthor, after Metropolis is rocked by its first ever earthquake! After Superman helps with rescue efforts, Clark Kent discovers that a powerful new laser weapon that is coveted by none other than his nemesis, Luthor, caused the tremor. The evil mastermind challenges Superman to a battle that pits our hero’s Kryptonian powers against Luthor’s scientific weaponry: if Superman wins, Luthor will admit defeat but if Superman loses, the caped hero must retire from his crime-fighting ways. Superman then performs incredible feats including outpacing super-speed planes, leaping high beyond the stratosphere, even surviving an exploding grenade—but the contest turns out to merely be a distraction, allowing Luthor’s henchman to steal the device. Will Superman be able to find Luthor and retrieve the laser before it can cause more destruction? It just might take another incredible feat of strength to save the day…

DESIGN: As seen on the iconic cover of Superman #4 (1940), the reverse image features Superman performing an impressive feat of strength. Wearing his blue and red uniform with the original iconic ‘S’ shield, Superman responds to chaos in Metropolis by hoisting a building’s crumbling pillars above his head as citizens scramble around him to find safety. The striking image is a telling showcase of Superman’s incredible powers and is brought to life through finely detailed engraving and vibrant colour. A series of concentric circles frame the reverse, adding depth to the overall design and creating the illusion that Superman is poised to step out of the coin, while the circled rim includes the engraved face value “100 DOLLARS”, the word “CANADA” and the year “2015”.

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OBVERSE AND PACKAGING

SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$20 CANADIAN 0.9999 SILVER 31.39 g 38.0 mm PROOF 10,000 EACH YES / YES
$100 CANADIAN 0.583 GOLD 12.0 g 27.0 mm PROOF 2,000 YES / YES
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