2016 Uncirculated sets contain 2015-dated loon

The $25 error sets realizing up to $300

By Bret Evans

Between an error in some Royal Canadian Mint sets, and speculation about this year’s circulating issues, 2016 is shaping up to be an interesting year for collectors of dollar coins.

An undisclosed number of 2016 Uncirculated sets, called Proof-Like by collectors, have the 2015-dated loon coin instead of the current date. Errors in Mint sets are not unknown, but are uncommon enough that they are sought after by collectors. According to Todd Sandham, of Colonial Acres Coins in Kitchener, Ont., the error set is currently selling for $150 to $300. The original issue price was $24.95. As an error, the exact number produced is unknown.

On Jan. 28, the RCM confirmed the error is genuine and described it as “an assembly error.”

At the same time, demand for regular 2016 Uncirculated sets is being driven by rumours that the Mint does not intend to issue circulating loon pattern coins this year, but will be issuing circulating versions of a lucky loonie for this year’s Summer Olympic Games in Brazil. There is also a circulating commemorative $1 coin issued this year to mark the 100th anniversary of women voting in Canada. So far no circulating loon coins have been issued with the 2016 date.

RCM spokesman Alex Reeves said the Women’s Right to Vote coin was issued in March, but would not confirm if a lucky loonie was planned for this year. In previous Olympic years the RCM has issued a lucky loonie in both circulating and non-circulating versions.

As for the circulating loon-pattern coin, Reeves said it was too soon to state there would not be circulating coin.

“We forecast coin demand every month and it is too soon to tell what total demand for any denomination will be by the end of 2016,” he said.

Reeves’ statement is in line with a long-standing RCM policy of not commenting on the production of current-date circulating coins to avoid hoarding, or stockpiling by collectors or speculators.

If the RCM does not issue a loon pattern coin for circulation, the only way collectors will be able to get one is by purchasing an Uncirculated set. Two Specimen sets are issued each year, but one set has an older pattern loon lacking the laser engraved maple leaves, and the second has a separate commemorative design. Specimen sets also have a Specimen finish different from circulating coins, while Uncirculated sets have the same finish and composition as circulating coins. Proof sets contain a loon dollar but it has a Proof finish and are struck in gold-plated silver instead of the base metal used for circulating coins.

If the speculation is correct, collectors will be seeking out a number of one-dollar coins. There will be two types of loons from Specimen sets, one type of loon from the Uncirculated set, and versions of two commemorative dollars. There are also four different base metal commemorative dollar coins contained in the 2016 gift sets. They have the themes of birthday, baby, wedding, and O Canada. All of this in addition to the traditional silver dollar issued separately and in Proof sets.

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