Royal Canadian Mint adds to its cutout nature coin series with the Whooping crane

The second of a series of coins looking at Canadian wildlife, something the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) does regularly, this particular range employs a couple of techniques to lift them away from the usual output of this prolific coin producer. While sticking with a cleanly-struck style and thus eschewing any form of colouring, the main feature here is a cut-out silhouette shape of an animal. Not a new thing in itself, the technique was pioneered in some style by none other than industry innovators Coin Invest Trust with their Mongolian nature series of gilded half-ounce issues. It was again employed by the New Zealand Post for a Kiwi coin that was a favourite of ours, though an expensive one for the specification.

The technique here involves the cutting out of a distinct shape, leaving a hole through the coin. The background is then struck with an ‘environment’ for the creature. An effective technique and one enhanced by using a large 54 mm blank, although this requires a weight of 56.3 grams instead of a single troy ounce (31.1 g) with the resultant cost increase. This months coin depicts a Whooping Crane standing in a waterside habitat. The previous coin featured the Woodland Caribou.

The obverse has a small coin-within-a-coin design to hold the required effigy of QEII, along with a repeating etched pattern that looks good and breaks up what would have been a sparse look. Each issue sells for $189.95 CAD and has a mintage capped at 5,500 pieces. Disappointingly given the design, the RCM has chosen to present the coin in a standard maroon snapper case. We think one of the latex ‘floating frames’ would have been better able to show off the coin. Available now.



At a height of 1.5 metres, the photogenic whooping crane (Grus americana) is North America’s tallest bird. It’s also one of our rarest avian friends, and it has been the focus of intensive conservation efforts during the last half-century. The crane’s unmistakable silhouette makes for a haunting cutout on your coin. Surrounded by its engraved nesting grounds, the missing element brings renewed attention to the plight of this majestic, endangered species.

REVERSE: Designed by Canadian artist Trevor Tennant, your coin transports you to the northern boreal plains—specifically the remote wetlands near the border of Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Detailed engraving and multiple finishes recreate the mighty forests that surround the whooping crane’s natural nesting grounds, where it builds its nest in the low vegetation that lines the shallow water. Skillfully carved to ensure a smooth edge, the crane-shaped cut-out re-creates the large bird’s unmistakable silhouette, which stands as a tribute to this great conservation icon. But the eye-catching element also delivers a powerful message; it’s a re-imagining of the landscape without its long-endangered summer resident. The reverse includes the word “CANADA”, the face value “30 DOLLARS” and the year “2017”.

OBVERSE: Features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.



Like a puzzle with a missing piece, it’s hard to imagine Canada without many of its most iconic species, including the woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou); sadly, this majestic mammal joins other Canadian creatures that are classified as at risk, threatened or even endangered. With its uniquely shaped cutout, this pure silver coin shines the spotlight on the plight of the caribou—a national symbol whose numbers are in decline in Canada’s wilderness.

REVERSE: Designed by Canadian artist Trevor Tennant, your coin transports you to the mountainous landscape of Western Canada, where detailed engraving and multiple finishes recreate a timeless snapshot of the wild. The distant peaks provide a breathtaking backdrop to the grassy foothills, which slope down to the tree-lined river below; and while the beauty of the engraved scene is unmistakable, it is the uniquely shaped cutout that easily draws the viewer’s eye. Innovative technology has skillfully carved out the outline of a woodland caribou, smoothly recreating its distinctive profile and towering rack of antlers.

The missing caribou element is strongly symbolic: while it represents an artistic tribute to a beloved species, the overall design also offers a haunting re-imagining of the Canadian wilderness without this national icon—particularly the Southern Mountain population of caribou, which is listed as threatenedon Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA).


COMPOSITION 0.9999 silver
WEIGHT 56.3 grams
DIAMETER 54.00 mm
BOX / COA Yes / Yes