Golden celebration of Arctic culture leads RCM September unveiling

For the third year in a row, the Royal Canadian Mint is issuing a collector coin crafted entirely of Nunavut-sourced gold.

Described by the Mint as “entirely Arctic from its design to its metal content,” this year’s $10 pure gold coin is entitled “An Inuk and a Qulliq.” It features a reverse design by artist Ulaayu Pilurtuut, of Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, a region in northern Québec east of Nunavut. The coin’s motifs of inuksuit – the iconic human-made landmarks of piled stones – and the traditional Inuit oil lamp known as a qulliq are powerful symbols of Pilurtuut’s culture.

The coin is struck in 1.581 grams of 100 per cent Nunavut-sourced gold. The gold comes from two mines, including Agnico Eagle Mines’ Meadowbank mine near Baker Lake in central Nunavut and TMAC Resources’ Doris North mine at Hope Bay, about 630 kilometres northwest. It’s the first time the Mint has struck a stand-alone collector coin on a 1/20th-ounce gold blank – a size previously available only with bullion products or as part of a fractional set.

Issued on Sept. 1 along with six other coins in the Mint’s latest numismatic catalogue, the $10 Inuk coin has a diameter of 14 millimetres and a mintage of 4,000.

The latest 1/20th-ounce pure gold coin from the six-piece ‘Tribute to Alex Colville’ series recreates artist Alex Colville’s lynx design. Each of Canada’s 1967 circulation coin designs is reinterpreted as part of the series launched this February.


Another pure gold coin is the latest instalment in the Mint’s 1/10th-ounce coin series marking the 100th anniversary of Canadian painter Alex Colville’s birth.

It’s the third issue from the six-coin series reinterpreting each of the 1967 circulation coin designs created by Colville to mark Canada’s centennial. The 25-cent coin’s reverse design features a lynx while the reverse – like the original 1967 coins – depicts Arnold Machin’s 1965 effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.

The series is working its way down through the denominations, starting from $1 (issued in February) to 50 cents (unveiled in April) and now 25 cents. The 10-, five- and one-cent coins will be issued in November, January and March, respectively.

Echoing the original 1967 circulation coins, the obverse of the ‘Tribute to Alex Colville’ coins depict Arnold Machin’s 1965 effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.

Each of the six coins has a weight of 3.14 grams, a diameter of 16 millimetres and a mintage of 1,200.


Other issues released as part of the September numismatic catalogue include:

  • the special-edition silver dollar proof set, “75th Anniversary of V-E Day,” featuring a special proof silver dollar honouring the Royal Canadian Navy;
  • a $30 Fine silver coin, “S.S. Keewatin,” featuring artist Matt Conacher’s bow and stern illustrations of the historic Great Lakes steamship;
  • a $25 Fine silver coin and $250 pure gold coin, “Proud Bald Eagle,” featuring the work of artist Neil Hamelin in high relief;
  • the $50 Fine silver coin, “The Hummingbird and the Bloom,” designed by Eric Boyer and featuring the interactive innovation simulating a hummingbird flying around a flower; and
  • the $250 Fine silver coin, “Reimagined 1905 Arms of Dominion of Canada,” a one-kilogram silver celebration of heraldic art.

The release of the 2021 Fine Silver Maple Leaf fractional set, ‘Our Arboreal Emblem: The Maple Tree,’ is pushed back until next month.

Due to pandemic-related modification of Mint operations, the 2021 Fine Silver Maple Leaf fractional set, “Our Arboreal Emblem: The Maple Tree,” will be available on Oct. 6.

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