Innovation is the key to survival

The numismatic market is crowded. This month, for instance, the Royal Canadian Mint has put more than 30 coins into the market, the exact number depends on if you count different variations of the same design. Now, I’m not picking on the RCM, because while they may be more aggressive than some other mints, they are not the only ones. In truth, I can’t think of a single coin issuing authority releasing fewer coins now than they were 20, or even 10, years ago. Continue reading →

Hologram coin marks space anniversary

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques, from the left, Royal Canadian Mint board member John Bell, astronaut Jeremy Hansen and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) president Walter Natynczyk unveil a silver collector coin celebrating the 25th anniversary of the CSA at the 2014 International Astronautics Congress in Toronto.

The 25th anniversary of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is the subject of a new silver coin, just the second Canadian coin to use an achromatic hologram. The coin, unveiled in early October, shows an image of an unidentified Canadian astronaut floating above the Earth. The astronaut is anchored to a foot restraint on Canadarm2, which bears the Canada word mark. In the distance is the cloud-mottled blue surface of Earth, backed by the black depths of space. The hologram lends depth and movement to the design; the astronaut seems to float above the Earth. Achromatic holograms are unique in that they are only one colour, usually, as in the case of the coin, just black and white, and in high resolution. Continue reading →

Legal tender subtleties leave collectors and dealers scratching their heads

The $20 for $20 coins are popular, but difficult to spend.

Nobody can argue about the success of the Royal Canadian Mint’s (RCM) face value program when it comes to selling coins, the problem seems to be when owners want their money back. When the first $20 for $20 coin came out in 2011, members of the public jumped at the chance to acquire a silver coin for face value. The issue sold out in just 29 days, despite limitations on how many could be sold to a single address. The coins, which contain slightly more than one-quarter troy ounce of silver, have an approximate bullion value of $7 at press time. That success led to a program that continues, and has now been expanded to $50 for $50 and even $100 for $100 coins, all proving popular sellers. In recent years, mintages have been lowered from the 2011 high of 250,000 to 200,000 in the most recent issue, but the coins always sell out in the year of issue. Continue reading →

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