Man of steel receives tributes in silver, gold and cupro-nickel

The Royal Canadian Mint has drawn on Toronto’s Superman links to roll out a set of seven coins commemorating the man of steel’s 75th anniversary. One of the coins, a $20 silver piece, is the first to feature an achromatic hologram, which uses a technology first developed for passports and high-security documents. Its use creates a three-dimensional look on a flat surface. In the case of this coin, it creates an image of Superman flying out of the coin over Metropolis, with the city and the Daily Planet building below. The city is rendered using a conventional hologram to create a dramatic effect.

The coin is struck in .9999 silver with a mintage limit of 10,000. A second innovative coin uses lenticular technology, which has been used on a few other Canadian coins in the past. The theme of the 50-cent cupro-nickel coin is the evolution of the character. Lenticular images change when tilted, creating a sense of motion. In this case, the design changes from the image of the superhero used on the first Superman comic to a modern interpretation of the same pose by celebrated Superman artist and DC Entertainment co-publisher Jim Lee. The coin, packaged with one of the stamps issued by Canada Post to commemorate the event, is being produced on demand.

The world’s most famous superhero, Superman was created by Toronto-born artist Joseph Shuster and writer Jerry Siegel. Shuster, who moved from Toronto and attended high school in Cleveland, Ohio, modelled Superman’s city, Metropolis, after Toronto, and the Daily Planet after the Daily Star. The two created the character in 1933, and sold it to DC Comics, who debuted Superman in 1938. Ironically, Siegel and Shuster envisioned the character as The Super Man, a bald telepathic villain, but later reworked the character into the form known today. As one of the first comic book superheroes, the character’s costume of shorts over tights became a standard look for the genre.

Over the years, the character has been portrayed by seven actors on television series and movies. “The generations of young people who grew up reading Superman comics may not have fully appreciated the story behind them,” said Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander. “Our government celebrates Canada’s history and heritage and the very values and strengths that Superman embodies.” “Seventy-five years after Superman’s introduction to the world, Mint employees are proud to honour Superman’s legacy by producing a special series of gold, silver and cupro-nickel collector coins for Canadians and collectors alike to treasure for years to come,” said Ian Bennett, master of the Royal Canadian Mint. “The man of steel inspired legions of popular comic book heroes, but only Superman has been immortalized on Canadian coins, which feature bold innovations and superb craftsmanship.”

“Superman is the most iconic superhero with legions of fans around the world that span multiple generations,” said Karen McTier, Warner Bros. Consumer Products’ executive vice-president, domestic licensing and worldwide marketing. “We’re thrilled to partner with DC Entertainment to offer the Royal Canadian Mint the ultimate DC Comics superhero in this honourable collection that embodies the world of Superman.” The coins are also the first Canadian coins to have an inscription in a fictional language, in this case the language of Superman’s home planet, Krypton. The coins have a Kryptonian engraving which reads “75 years of Superman” along the edge of the reverse design of several of the coins.

As well, each coin is packaged in an illustrated beauty box featuring the most memorable sights and symbols of the man of steel. The other coins include a gold $75 issue struck in 14-karat, 91.67 per cent gold. It features a full-colour image of the superhero soaring over Metropolis as pictured on the cover of the Superman No. 1 comic book. That legendary image is framed by an engraved rendering of Superman’s crystalline Fortress of Solitude, with three contrasting finishes. The mintage limit is 2,000. A .9999 silver $10 coin features Superman breaking out of chains as he defeats another legion of villains.

As with all the portraits, they are taken from images of Superman used over the years. The coin is limited to 15,000 pieces. The set also includes a $15 silver coin showing Superman in full flight. The .9999 silver coin is packaged in a beauty box showing the hero’s alter ego Clark Kent and the famous S shield. The mintage limit is 15,000. There are two other silver $20 coins. One uses an image from the cover Superman No. 204. Designed by Jim Lee, it shows Superman standing guard over Metropolis. The design is enhanced with the use of colour over engraved relief. The mintage limit is 10,000 and the purity is .9999. The other coin, also with a purity of .9999, has the S shield floating over a mirror field. The shield was not part of the original Superman character, but was adopted in the 1940s. The mintage is 10,000.

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