We can always rely on the Royal Canadian Mint to give us a lot to look at (and write about…) every month, and May is no exception with a huge mix of gold and silver commemoratives. We’re going to split them into two posts and this is the first. There are some great coins here. On the clean-struck front, something the RCM thankfully does regularly, there are three gold coins in our first look, including a superb sailing vessel coin and a nicely detailed mini-gold.

On the coloured silver front, the dinosaur and aircraft coins are both fine examples of their type, both demonstrating a fine balance between colour and clean with the former not overwhelming the latter. The Firefighter coin will be one more for the general collector and is a nice take on the profession. For gimmicks, the RCM has launched the third in its glow-in-the-dark Universe coins with there unique glass inserts. Run your mouse over the coin image below to see it change to its dark counterpart. All but one of the coins have the Susanna Blunt effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse so we haven’t seen the necessity in posting its many minor variants here – the RCM doesn’t really do obverse designs like the US or Europe does. All are available to order now, some in stock, and some coming soon.

DAY OF THE DINOSAURS: ARMOURED TANK

Nice coin for the paleontologist and the last in the three coin series. Artwork is by Julius Csotonyi, a superb paleoartist and it’s great to see the mint go to an expert in the field rather than stay in-house for what is almost a science in itself.

MINTS DESCRIPTION: With a heavily armoured body, Edmontonia was well equipped to protect itself if attacked. This stout herbivore was one of the last armoured dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous period. Only its underside was left unprotected, as large ridged bony plates covered its body and neck while smaller plates shielded its hips and tail. Most fearsome of all were its large shoulder spikes; Edmontonia could aggressively defend itself using these spear-like features to impale its enemy, which made it appear all the more intimidating—even to a hungry tyrannosaurus!

DESIGN: Designed by Canadian artist Julius Csotonyi, your coin features a highly detailed depiction of Edmontonia, and was reviewed for scientific accuracy by palaeontologists at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. Viewed in three-quarter profile, this colourful herbivore lumbers across the prehistoric landscape on its four powerful legs. Its pear-shaped head is closest to the viewer; but its rounded outline stands in contrast to the imposing appearance of the spike-covered armour, which protects its neck, back and tail. The lush vegetation that dominated Alberta’s landscape during the Late Cretaceous period fills the background around Edmontonia, and all are beautifully rendered through finely detailed engraving.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$10 CANADIAN 0.9999 SILVER 15.87 g 34.0 mm PROOF 10,000 YES / YES

TALL SHIPS LEGACY: MARCO POLO

Beautiful, simple design of one of Canada’s finest sailing vessels. At an ounce in gold and a mintage of just 275, it’s clearly not for everyone, bu a silver one would be cool.

MINTS DESCRIPTION: The Marco Polo was launched in Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1851 to provide passenger service during the Australian gold rush. She quickly rose to fame as the fastest clipper ship in the world when she completed her roundtrip voyage between England and Australia in just five months and 21 days! Celebrate Canada’s proud maritime history with this exquisite coin featuring the Marco Polo under full sail, every detail engraved with amazing historical accuracy that will delight even the most discerning collector.

DESIGN: Designed by Canadian artist Neil Hamelin, your coin features a three-quarter portside view of the iconic Canadian sailing vessel, Marco Polo. The fastest clipper in her day, the Marco Polo is depicted on an oceanic voyage under full sail. With the wind filling her billowing sails, the sight of Marco Polo’s masts rising up into the sky adds a regal grandeur to this portrait of the wooden vessel as her bow cuts through the water. Precision engraving faithfully recreates the ship’s appearance with great historical accuracy, while capturing the finer details that served as a testament to her shipbuilder.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$200 CANADIAN 0.9999 GOLD 31.16 g 30.0 mm PROOF 275 YES / YES

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Roll you mouse over to see the glow in the dark effect

THE UNIVERSE GITD: SILVER FUME

Third of three coins in this intriguing glow-in-the-dark series, this is another pretty cool coin and every one is unique due to the hand-sculpted nature of the glass insert.

MINTS DESCRIPTION: People have looked to the stars for millennia. It wasn’t until the 1930s, though, when scientists who wanted to expand their knowledge of the universe began to listen to them instead. This coin features British Columbia’s DRAO, the largest facility of its kind in Canada. When viewed in the dark, this coin reveals a glowing, star-filled sky that even shines through its glass globule, a unique embellishment that was handcrafted in Canada.

DESIGN: Designed by Canadian artist Ardell Bourgeois, your coin features a depiction of the NRC Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) near Penticton, British Columbia. Against the tree-lined mountain to the north, the 26-metre John A. Galt Telescope is pointed up to the sky to capture and transmit the radio wavelengths originating from space. The soft colours of the blue sky and light clouds provide a beautiful backdrop to the engraved building in the foreground, which is easily identified by the NRC-CNRC logo. Under lit conditions, the coloured sky masks a spectacular hidden feature: the presence of glow-in-the-dark stars, as they would appear in the night sky over the observatory. To the left, artist Loïc Beaumont-Tremblay has handcrafted a lightweight yet resilient glass embellishment, which presents an artistic representation of a radio signal received by the telescope. Using a mix of glass and silver fume, the effect is achieved by working at extremely high temperatures in order to replicate the wave shape; the addition of luminescence also gives the wave a captivating glow, adding an otherworldly quality to this celebration of astrophysical achievement.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$20 CANADIAN 0.9999 SILVER 31.39 g 38.0 mm PROOF 8,500 YES / YES

PREDATOR VS PREY: ARCTIC HARE

Another of the ever-increasingly popular half-gram minigold coins and this one is the second of the four-coin set based around the hare and the fox. Impressive level of detail for its small 11mm diameter.

MINTS DESCRIPTION: There’s an astounding amount of detail crafted into this 11 mm portrait of the Arctic hare, stock-still as it detects a predator with its large ears and eyes. Expert engraving conveys the texture of its famously warm winter fur, complete with darkened ear tips that have evolved to absorb heat from the Arctic sun.

DESIGN: The reverse design by Canadian artist Pierre Leduc features a traditional side-profile view of an Arctic hare (Lepus arcticus) in a natural setting during the winter season. Intricate engraving captures the hare’s features with extraordinary precision on such a small scale, giving it a life-like quality that conveys the texture of its famously warm winter fur. The hare is aware of the predator’s presence beyond the image field; keeping its large eyes trained on its foe, the hare moves its dark-tipped ears to detect the warning sounds of approaching danger.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$0.25 CANADIAN 0.9999 GOLD 0.5 g 11.0 mm PROOF 6,500 YES / YES

AIRCRAFT OF FIRST WORLD WAR: SOPWITH TRIPLANE

Although these are simply coloured silver coins, we love the design of these, definitely one of the better aircraft series we’ve seen from any mint.

MINTS DESCRIPTION: Planes were still a rare sight in the sky when the world was plunged into war in 1914. The “flying machines” seemed to have little use, but the ever-evolving tactics of war quickly propelled them from rickety canvas-over-wood reconnaissance planes to full-fledged aerial combat weapons that engaged in spectacular dogfights.

This exciting new coin series features three of the most successful Allied fighter planes of the First World War, beginning with the British-built Royal Aircraft Factory S.E. 5a. Introduced in 1917, this biplane was on the front lines of innovation. It could fly up to 222 km/h and remain airborne for more than two hours, two factors that enabled the Allies to regain and maintain air superiority until the war’s end in 1918.

 

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$20 CANADIAN 0.9999 SILVER 31.83 g 40.0 mm PROOF 7,500 YES / YES

THE BOLD BLACK BEAR

Very nice, detailed strike, this one is in five nines gold (0.99999). More for marketing than anything else, the difference between this and 0.9999 gold is so small as to be of no consequence.

MINTS DESCRIPTION: Aboriginal peoples have long revered the black bear as a symbol of strength, introspection and knowledge. This highly intelligent animal has excellent long-term memory. While its eyesight is poor, this is offset by its exceptional hearing and sense of smell. This coin features the black bear in its characteristic pose: nose in the air searching for food, its bulky frame concealing surprising agility and the power to run 55 km/h—a wilderness treasure crafted with exceptional realism on the world’s purest 99.999% gold coin!

DESIGN: Designed by Canadian artist Pierre Leduc, your coin features a highly detailed profile of a bold black bear in its natural environment, as it moves across an open area in one of Canada’s many forests. Against the towering trees in the background, the thickset bear pauses briefly as its keen sense of smell has detected a possible food source. By turning its head to the right, this inquisitive bear offers us a glimpse of its straight facial profile and features. Its stance is also ideal to convey its size, build and distinctive physical characteristics; from the clawed forepaws to the texture of the bear’s fur, all are beautifully recreated through extraordinary, intricate engraving. The entire design is enhanced by multiple finishes that add a sense of dimensional layers to the art.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$350 CANADIAN 0.99999 GOLD 35.0 g 34.0 mm PROOF 350 YES / YES

NATIONAL HEROES: FIREFIGHTER

One of those coins the mint does that is aimed at the gift market, you can’t argue with a tribute to one of any countries most selfless organisations, and this one captures perfectly what they do.

MINTS DESCRIPTION: Your pure silver coin is a poignant tribute to firefighters and the dangers they face every time they answer the call of duty. The background features a burning home while selective colour highlights the firefighter in the foreground. He has just emerged from the house with the family dog—a heartwarming image that reflects the depth of a firefighter’s commitment to preserve and protect all life.

A heartfelt way to recognize the valour and dedication of these men and women, who face danger each day in the line of duty!

DESIGN:Designed by Canadian artist Ken Ryan, your coin uses selective colour over engraving to create a timeless portrait of a firefighter in the line of duty. In the engraved background, flames and smoke pour out of a residential home as the firefighter emerges in the foreground; he is depicted in full turnout gear, including a red helmet with visor and a tan-coloured jacket with reflective yellow-green and silver trim. Beneath the visor, the firefighter’s self-contained breathing apparatus is visible—this protects him from the dangers of exposure and smoke inhalation in a fiery environment. In his right hand, the firefighter holds the bolt cutters that help him enter the burning building to search for any trapped occupants; his left hand cradles a dog he has rescued from inside the home and is carrying to safety.

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
$15 CANADIAN 0.9999 SILVER 23.17 g 36.07 mm PROOF 10,000 YES / YES

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