The Royal Canadian Mint’s new “Day of the Dinosaurs” series recently announced its first of three coins, featuring the largest creature ever to fly, the Quetzalcoatlus.
This $10 Fine silver coin depicts a coloured design of the pre-historic creature, which was as tall as a giraffe and had a wingspan as wide as a small plane. Living more than 66 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous period, it had seemingly unbreakable bones: a partial skeleton unearthed in Alberta in 1995 showed evidence of a scavenging Saurornitholestes that broke a tooth on one of Quetzalcoatlus’ wings.
The coin is part of a three-coin series that also includes a “Spiked Lizard” and “Armoured Tank” piece. Each of these 99.99 per cent silver coins are enhanced with colour, depicting a powerful portrait of Canada’s pre-historic creatures. Importantly, the coins’ scientific accuracy has been verified by palaeontologists at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta.
The first coin design, by Canadian artist Dino Pulerà, features an engraved rendition of how a Quetzalcoatlus likely appeared, soaring with only an occasional flap of its enormous wings, keeping one wing bent towards the viewer while the left remains outstretched. Its long, pointed beak is open wide, releasing a cry into the wind as it prepares to swoop down for prey. The coin’s silver surface recreates rays of sunlight peeking through the clouds above the distant mountains, which convey how high the plane-sized creature would soar above the conifer forest below.