Earlier this month, the Royal Canadian Mint issued its final coins of 2017 to round out a year of celebrating Canada’s sesquicentennial through the lens of Canadian culture and history.
Among the December releases is a 2017-dated $5 Fine silver two-coin set, “30th Anniversary of the SML.” The two coins honour 30 years of history through its enhanced re-creation of the Silver Maple Leaf (SML) bullion coin.
The reverse designs feature the now-iconic image of a single maple leaf, which has remained unchanged since the SML’s debut in 1988. The fields are filled with a repeating pattern of a micro-sized maple leaf with the number “30.”
Each of the coins, struck in 99.99 per cent silver, has a weight of 31.39 grams and a diameter of 38 mm. There is a mintage of 5,000 sets.
2017 $15 ANIMAL EYES COIN
With its combined use of glow-in-the-dark technology and a colourful enamel effect, the third and final coin in the Mint’s Animal Eyes series re-creates the luminous gaze of the Canis lupus.
The amber-coloured eyes convey the wolf’s intelligence and strength in a reverse design by Canadian artist Curtis Atwater. Engravings capture the wild canine’s fine whiskers protruding from its muzzle and the textured appearance of the thick fur. Special emphasis is placed on the eyes, where an enamel effect mimics the glossy look of a traditional paint application but with more colour variation, which gives each iris a life-like appearance. The design is further enhanced by glow-in-the-dark technology, which evokes the luminous glow of the wolf’s eyes when encountered in low-light conditions.
The 99.99 per cent silver coin has a weight of 23.17 grams, a diameter of 36 mm and a mintage of 6,500 pieces.
The previous coins in the $15 Animal Eyes series include a “Great Horned Owl” coin (issued Oct. 3, 2017) and a “Lynx” coin (issued Nov. 7, 2017).
2017 $2,500 GOLD COIN
As part of the Mint’s year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, it has commemorated a gold piece with a deep historic significance for Canada. The first Canadian gold coin has been brought to life again, this time in one kilogram of 99.99 per cent pure gold.
The reverse features a near-faithful reproduction of W. H. J. Blackmore’s design for the first Canadian gold coins, which were struck between 1912 and 1914. The image centres on the Canadian coat of arms, as it appeared before 1921: it is a quartered shield composed of the provincial arms of the Dominion of Canada (Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick). Adding to the majesty of the design, the shield is encircled by crossed maple boughs and includes the inscriptions “CANADA,” “2017” and “2500 DOLLARS.”
The obverse features the official Canada 150 privy mark alongside the effigy.
The coin has a weight of 1,000 grams, a diameter of 101.6 mm and a mintage of only 20 pieces.
2018 $10 YIN & YANG COINS
In a Mint first, one of the December issues includes a combination of yin- and yang-shaped silver coins featuring two heroes of Chinese tradition, the tiger and the dragon. The coins, each of which has a weight of 15.87 grams, combine to form a perfect whole with a combined diameter of 39 mm.
Shaped in the traditional Chinese yin form, the first coin depicts tiger, the word “CANADA” and the year-date “2018.” The tiger, which is surrounded by 11 engraved cherry blossoms, is stylized to mimic Chinese paper-cut folk art. The upper portion of the reverse features an intricate engraved border completed by the other coin, forming a full decorative outer circle when the two coins are combined.
The second coin is shaped in the traditional yang form. Its reverse features the face value of “10 DOLLARS” along with a stylized yellow-gold dragon. Like the tiger, the dragon is designed in the style of paper-cut folk art and is adorned with vivid red motifs and a bright green ridge along its back. Nine engraved cherry blossoms surround it.
The unique obverses of both coins feature a branch of engraved cherry blossoms alongside the effigies.
2018 3-COIN SAN XING GODS SET
The beneficent San Xing (or Three Stars) dwell auspiciously in Chinese homes and businesses around the world. They are features in an engraved and painted set that includes three coins designed by artist Simon Ng.
On the first coin, Fu Xing, god of blessings, gazes to the left, holding a baby and a scroll. The background is accented with images of bats.
On the second coin, Lu Xing, god of prosperity, gazes serenely at the viewer, holding a gold lantern and a jeweled staff. The background also features two stylized stag deer.
The third coin features Shou Xing, god of longevity. He smiles toward the right side of the image, holding a peach in one hand and a cane in the other. A crane is also shown in the background. The peach and the crane both symbolize longevity.
Each coin has a weight of 157.60 grams and a diameter of 65.25 mm. There is a mintage of 588 sets.
2018 $5 JANUARY BIRTHSTONE COIN
The Mint has also continued its monthly birthstone series, the latest offering of which features the mandala. The $5 Fine silver coin, which has a weight of 7.96 grams and a diameter of 27 mm, features a colourful henna-inspired motif as well as a Swarovski crystal.
By Pandora Young, the reverse design presents a cross-cultural celebration inspired by the ancient tradition of Indian mehndi. A symmetrical arrangement of highly ornate shapes and symbols form a 12-point radial pattern that reflects the calendar year. A prominent henna motif – the lotus – is among the elements emanating from the centre, where a colourful Swarovski crystal represents the January birthstone, garnet. A selective application of colour complements the stone while the contrast between soft and vivid tones highlights the layered complexity of the engraved artistry.
The obverses of each of the aforementioned coins feature the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.