MDM and the Royal Canadian Mint celebrate the 100-year anniversary of telephone pioneer, Alexander Graham Bell

Born in 1847, Scottish inventor Alexander Graham Bell’s name will forever be linked with his most famous invention – the telephone. His efforts in the field were driven by both his wife’s, and his mother’s deafness, the work he undertook aimed at relieving it. The telephone wasn’t his only focus, however, with the talented scientist also contributing to the fields of optical telecommunications, aeronautics, and even hydrofoils. Given the period he lived in, even the subjects are pushing envelopes. He died on 02 August 1922 at the ripe old age of 75, and after an extraordinary life. He was widely admired in his lifetime, and considered one of the greats to this day.

German producer, MDM, have launched a neat homage to the man and his groundbreaking invention, with a three-ounce silver, telephone-shaped coin. It’s a classically styled phone, one the youth of today would think wasn’t real, perhaps, but the perfect choice for this. It’s antique-finished and replete across both faces with depictions of Bell, his invention, and the wires that carried the signal. In the centre of the reverse face sits an old-style dial, fully gilded, and actually rotatable. It’s all a bit gimmicky, of course, but you can’t argue with the focus. We like it, and it’s very original.


It was in Ontario, Canada, that Bell made his home, and did his pioneering work. He actually made the first telephone call there, so it’s hardly surprising that Canada would want to honour their adoptive genius with a numismatic celebration on the centenary of his death. The Royal Canadian Mint has actually produced three new coins, although two are variants of each other.

The quarter-ounce 0.9999 gold coin uses a mix of finishes, including frosting and laser-engraving, to depict Bell, and his prototype telephonic device, surrounded by a blueprint-style pattern. Boxed with a C.O.A., it has a mintage of 2,000 pieces. As with most Canadian coins, it has a simple Susanna Blunt effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.

The $1 silver coin has a more innovative design. Here, Bell’s portrait is built up from a word jumble, using words relevant to his life and work. The design by artist Armand Nina is quite neatly done, and there’s a signature, and a depiction of his 1876 experimental telephone as well. The coin has a weight of 23.07 grams, so about two-thirds of an ounce. The mintage is high, at 50,000 pieces,

In addition, there are 20,000 part-gilded coins of the same design, but this is only available as part of a seven-coin set featuring silver proof versions of Canada’s circulating currency. While the solitary silver coin sells for $69.95 CAD, the sets retail at $234.95 CAD. All are available now.

DENOMINATION $5 (Barbados) $100 Canada $1 Canada
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.9999 gold 0.9999 silver
WEIGHT 93.3 grams 7.8 grams 23.17 grams
DIMENSIONS 66 x 51 mm 20.0 mm 36.07 mm
FINISH Antique Proof Proof
MODIFICATIONS Shaped, gilding None None
MINTAGE 999 2,000 50,000
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes