By Jesse Robitaille
In celebration of 50 years in business, Vancouver’s J&M Coin & Jewellery has released a 1.5-ounce .999 silver medallion.
The medallions commemorate the 50th anniversary of J&M, which is owned by Joseph Iorio, but they also depict an orca (Orcinus orca) on one side. The orca design echoes sentiments from Iorio and other British Columbia residents about the mammal’s decline due to noise, toxic contamination and lack of food.
“It’s an interesting local theme,” said Iorio. “It concerns the extinction of the killer whale. There have been a lot of deaths and concerns lately, and it’s something that has been in people’s minds, especially here locally.”
This September, researchers in British Columbia said a young member of an endangered killer whale population living of the province’s coast had died after showing signs of malnourishment. Researchers said six new southern resident killer whales (a large, extended family of orca) were born in 2015 and 2016; however, the death this September was the third to take place since then, and none of the whales born this year have survived.
“I hope people find it (the medal) interesting,” added Iorio. “And hopefully we find a solution for saving the killer whales.”
REDEEMABLE FOR $50 IN MERCHANDISE
The medallions, which retail for $50, are also redeemable at J&M’s 127 East Broadway St. location for $50 worth of merchandise until 2027.
“This way, the people who are buying it are having two potential values: the precious metal as well as the face value redeemable at J&M. They have a good value,” said Iorio, who added he decided on a weight of 1.5 ounces because when he was in the planning stages, that was more than $40 in metal content
“Silver is not quite there at the moment,” he said on Oct. 18, “but with metal volatility and the potential upside of silver, it should exceed the $50 value in the not too distant future.”
There is a mintage of 5,000 medallions.
“I could get the mint to produce anything for me at a reasonable price,” he said, adding he’d prefer not to mention the name of the U.S.-based mint. “It seemed to be the quantity I was looking to produce, so I decided I’d try something different, and I thought my best option was 1.5 ounces of pure silver.”
‘TIMES HAVE CHANGED’
Looking back on 50 years in the numismatic business, Iorio said “times have changed” but there’s “still good interest in coins.”
“Back in 1967, the coin hobby was very hot and very strong,” he said, adding the other main hobby was philately, or stamp collecting. “Sports weren’t that big a thing, and of course, the Internet didn’t exist. Sports cards were around but weren’t major; they were in their infancy. Now sports cards – and comic books – are a big thing.”
For more information, or to order a 50th anniversary medallion, visit jandm.com or call 1-888-244-9999.