A $2,500 gold coin dubbed “Sugar Maple Majesty” is among the 17 new issues in the Royal Canadian Mint’s February numismatic catalogue.
From a tiny bud nourished by spring showers to its colourful swan song in the fall, the sugar maple leaf is a symbol of Canadian beauty through the year.
Crafted in 99.99 per cent pure gold, the coin presents a detailed portrait of one of Canada’s most captivating symbols. Hand-polished to a Proof finish, each coin was struck up to four times to ensure an immaculate impression that leaves no doubt about its beauty and value.
Designed by artist Maurade Baynton, the reverse design of the presents a tranquil nature scene centred on a sugar maple (Acer saccharum) leaf. Sculpted rocks of all sizes fill the field while at the centre a large-sized sugar maple leaf has been deposited onto the surface of a pond.
This coin has a weight of 1006.1 grams, a diameter of 101.6 mm and a limited mintage of only 10 coins.
THE QUEEN’S GATE
Another highlight of this month’s releases include a $30 Fine silver coin, “The Queen’s Gate: Formal Entrance to Parliament Hill,” which depicts the ceremonial entrance for the Canadian sovereign or her representative.
The Queen’s Gate on Parliament Hill forms a beautiful boundary between the City of Ottawa and the political heart of a nation. This two-ounce silver coin captures the Victorian-era beauty of the commanding gateway on the reverse, where a metal-cast feature adds to a magnificent view that stirs Canadian pride.
Combining high visual appeal with national historical significance, the reverse features a filigree gate that captures the likeness of the Queen’s Gate on Parliament Hill. This multi-dimensional design element is fashioned from black bronze and mimics the wrought-iron vines and floral flourishes that represent the height of Victorian craftsmanship and metalwork. Affixed to the coin’s rim using a tongue-and-groove approach, the imposing entry re-creates the intended viewing experience if one was standing before the actual gate: the centre railing is perfectly aligned with the central axis of the parliamentary grounds, and forms a straight line from the gate, past the Centennial Flame, to the Peace Tower that dominates the Centre Block building. The green lawn, blue sky and burning flame add colourful vibrancy to the engraved reverse, which was designed by Cathy Bursey-Sabourin and coloured by Patrick Belanger, while the Peace Tower’s spire and flagstaff add a sense of soaring height by rising up beyond the image’s edge.
This coin has a weight of 62.69 grams, a diameter of 50 mm and a mintage of 5,500 pieces.
The Mint’s February releases also include a $3 Fine silver coin, “Bear Moon,” of “The Thirteen Teachings From Grandmother Moon” series. Bear Moon teaches us patience and to honour the vision quest that began in the fall. It’s the second teaching from Grandmother Moon who makes 13 appearances throughout the year as she watches over Mother Earth’s children and lights up their paths with her gentle wisdom.
In February, the bear may come out of hibernation after a long slumber, or a she-bear may emerge with her cubs. Months earlier, both were able to see beyond the darkening days of autumn, and never doubted that life would return to the forest. Bear teaches us to see beyond “what is,” and to trust in our dreams. There is no need to growl and dominate others to get what we want. There is far more power in silent confidence and steadily moving towards our goal.
Algonquin artist Frank Polson created a captivating image of a full moon filling the sky as it sits low on the horizon behind a leafless tree. To the left, a bear stands on its hind legs like a human as it stretches after its long hibernation and reaches for its dreams. The use of bold lines, and the insertion of vivid colour within black areas as if to reveal what lies within, is a signature design element in woodland art.
This coin has a weight of 7.96 grams, a diameter of 27 mm and a mintage of 4,000 pieces.
ANCESTOR MOON MASK
Other highlights include the $200 pure gold coin, “Ancestor Moon Mask,” an ultra-high relief piece that puts a face to that mysterious realm as seen by Indigenous cultures in the Pacific Northwest—a gentle and caring ancestor who watches over the people, lighting the way when travellers are on the water during the night, or illuminating the beach to help people dig for clams in the dark.
Ancestor Moon is always present, always ready to guide and protect. Canadian K’ómoks and Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw artist Andy Everson has created a unique portrait of Ancestor Moon using the ancient formline art of the Pacific Northwest, combined with contemporary elements and modern design aesthetics. The formlines’ distinctive style is unmistakeable, and the shapes in the moon’s serene and knowing expression have been enhanced with multiple finishes for maximum visual impact. Finely engraved line art fills the outer ring that shines with all the brilliance of a full moon.
This coin has a weight of 33.17 grams, a diameter of 30 mm and a mintage of 300 pieces.
A $10 Fine silver coin, “Maple Leaves,” represents the proud symbol of Canadian culture and history.
With a reverse design by Celia Godkin. The coin depicts a beloved Canadian emblem, Acer saccharum. Attached to the twig by its petiole, each sugar maple leaf seemingly reaches for the opposite side of the coin while revealing the deeply etched veins that run through their palmate lobes, towards the pointed tips. The maple twig also bears three u-shaped, double- winged fruits that extend from slender stalks.
The coin has a weight of 15.87 grams, a diameter of 34 mm and a mintage extending “while supplies last.”
A $15 Fine silver coin, “Celebration of Spring: Apple Blossoms,” which features a colour-over-engraved reverse showcasing the seasonal beauty of Canada’s national apple tree: the McIntosh.
Designed by artist Jan Poynter, the design combines colour and detailed engraving against the shine of a Proof finish. The apple tree in full bloom is inspired by the McIntosh variety, which was first discovered in Dundela, Ont., and is now Canada’s most commonly cultivated apple. Like a botanical illustration, the blossom-laden bough below offers an enlarged view of the delicate-looking flowers nestled in the green leaves. The addition of a design flourish hints at the apple blossom’s sweet scent, which floats in the spring breeze and attracts pollinators to the yellow centre of each white and pink-coloured bloom.
The coin has a weight of 23.17 grams, a diameter of 36.07 mm and a mintage of 6,500 pieces.
STAR OF MILITARY VALOUR
A 2018 $20 Fine silver coin, “Canadian Honours 25th Anniversary of the Star of Military Valour,” marks the 25-year history of the Star of Military Valour, which represents a nation’s recognition of members of the Canadian Forces and comrades-in-arms for “distinguished and valiant service in the presence of the enemy.” The star-shaped insignia has been faithfully reproduced as the reverse design, which serves as both a tribute piece and a celebration of extraordinary valour in combat.
The reverse features a detailed reproduction of the Star of Military Valour, one of three Military Valour Decorations established in 1993. As originally designed by the late Bruce W. Beatty, the four-pointed gold star is patterned after the Star of Courage with sculpted maple leaves positioned at each of the four angles. The Star’s colours are replicated by an application of red, silver and gold translucent paint over the engraved elements—especially the maple leaf superimposed in the centre and surrounded by a laurel wreath. The reverse includes the engraved commemorative dates “1993” and “2018”, as well as the word “CANADA.”
The coin has a weight of 31.83 grams, a diameter of 40 mm and a mintage of 5,500 pieces.
‘BURROWING OWL’ SPECIMEN SET
The Mint has also released a Specimen set featuring the long-legged burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia), a bespeckled summer resident of Canada’s Prairie provinces. One of Canada’s smaller-sized owls, its features are showcased on the aureate dollar coin that is at the heart of this 2018 Specimen set.
Canadian artist Pierre Girard captures the beauty of an endangered prairie species on the reverse of the $1 specimen coin. Viewed from the side, the pigeon-sized burrowing owl presents a three- quarter profile that allows for close examination of its stilt-like legs and mottled plumage. Its head is turned towards the rear as the bird of prey fixes its gaze on something that lies to the right, beyond the coin’s rim; this positioning provides a view of the bird’s facial features, including the beak and large eyes that give the owl a wise and studious expression. Blades of grass rise up behind it, alluding to its nesting grounds in Canada’s open prairies and grasslands, while small mounds of dirt hint at the owl’s unique penchant for nesting in underground burrows.
The remaining coins in the Mint’s February numismatic catalogue include:
- a 2018-dated $250 pure gold coin, “A Crown Jewel”;
- a 2018-dated $50 Fine silver coin, “Maple Leaves in Motion”;
- a 2018-dated $20 Fine silver coin, “Golden Spring Pysanka”;
- a 2018-dated $20 Fine silver coin, “Lucky Clover”;
- a 2018-dated $20 Fine silver coin, “Majestic Wildlife: Courageous Cougar”;
- a 2018-dated $20 Fine silver coin, “Nature’s Impressions: Wolf”;
- a 2018-dated $20 pure silver coin, “Norse Figureheads: The Dragon’s Sail”;
- a 2018-dated $10 Fine silver coin, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”; and
- a 2018-dated $5 Fine silver coin from the Birthstones series for the month of March.
For more information, visit mint.ca.