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.