OTD: Canadian Mint begins production of $5 Silver Maple Leaf

On today’s date in 1988, the Royal Canadian Mint began production of its $5 Silver Maple Leaf (SML) bullion coin.

Following the success of the Gold Maple Leaf bullion coins, which were introduced in 1979, the Mint saw fit to produce a one-ounce SML coin in 1988. The coin’s obverse bears the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Arnold Machin, the year-date of 1988, and the face value of $5. The national symbol of Canada – the maple leaf – graces the reverse. The 1988 run of SML coins had a mintage of 1.11 million pieces.


Since it was introduced in 1988, the iconic SML has been a sought-after item for both investors and collectors.

Since 2014, all one-ounce SML coins have two enhanced security features. Radial lines were added to the field of the 2016 SML coins, and the uniqueness of the line width and pitch gives each coin its characteristic look by creating a light diffracting pattern. Combined with a micro-engraved, textured maple leaf and a “16” denoting the coin’s year-date on a small area of its reverse, the SML offers the “cutting edge in coin security,” according to representatives from the Mint.

Weight (ounces) One
Weight (grams) 31.110
Purity (percentage) 99.99
Diameter (mm) 38
Face value (Cdn.) $5

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