Hologram coin marks space anniversary

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.

Canada’s first achromatic hologram coin was a $20 silver issue in the 2013 Superman series, showing Superman and Metropolis. Earlier Canadian hologram coins have been the more common full spectrum hologram design.

The $20 coin is struck in .9999 silver with a mintage limit of 10,000. It has a weight of one troy ounce, and a diameter of 38 mm. No designer is credited for the coin.

The CSA, which is committed to leading the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity, was formed in 1990. However, Canada’s role in space predates the CSA, going back to 1945. Originally defence-related research, the Canadian government launched the first Canadian satellite in 1962.

Today the Canadian space program includes partnerships with space agencies in Japan and India and the European Space Agency as well as NASA.

The coin was unveiled at the International Astronautical Congress 2014 held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

“Whether they are flying among the stars or planted firmly on the ground, the Mint takes great pride in commemorating Canada’s diverse and remarkable achievements,” said Marc Brule, interim master of the Royal Canadian Mint. “This special coin features exceptional holographic technology which is a fitting tribute to the CSA, as it has been synonymous with innovation since 1989.”

“This year marks a milestone in Canada’s space history as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the CSA,” said retired General Walter Natynczyk, president of the Canadian Space Agency. “Our many accomplishments have built the foundation for a flourishing space industry and we are absolutely delighted that the Mint has captured Canada’s leadership in space with such expert craftsmanship.”

It is not the first time the Royal Canadian Mint has paid tribute to Canada’s role in the exploration of space.

In 2006 a pair of silver and gold coins were issued showing Col. Chris Hadfield. The coins were issued to mark the fifth anniversary of Hadfield becoming the first Canadian to perform a spacewalk when he installed the Canadaarm2 on the International Space Station in 2001. Both coins had a similar design, Hadfield in the foreground and the Canadarm2 in the background. The $300 gold coin featured laser etching, and the $30 silver coin came with a hologram.

In 2009 a $30 colourized silver coin was issued showing an observatory and heavenly wonders to commemorative the International Year of Astronomy.

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