Part of RCM’s ongoing ‘evolution’
By Jesse Robitaille
The focus of the Royal Canadian Mint’s introductory product line is shifting in a big way this year. Introduced in 2011, the face value program is being phased out and replaced with new introductory products, namely a $3 Fine silver coin that will retail at $19.95.
The move supports a “long-term strategy to grow and evolve” the Mint’s customer base, said Senior Communications Manager Alex Reeves.
“It’s an evolution of our marketing strategy. The focus has shifted, and through that we’re able to maintain our commitment to offer entry-level, affordable products.”
Reeves said the Mint remains committed to issuing these introductory products, which comprise only one portion of the Mint’s core numismatic program.
“Face value has been helpful in creating market awareness of the Mint and its numismatic products, and it was always meant to be a driver of awareness and interest in coin collecting,” said Reeves. “A lot of work has been done in that regard.”
He estimates more than 300,000 new customers have purchased products through the face value program since it was established five years ago. These face value coins – which contain slightly more than one-quarter troy ounce of silver and have a denomination of either $20, $25, $50, $100 and $200 – were able to be redeemed for their full face value.
“The goal for us now is to drive their interest into our core numismatic program, which really meets the full spectrum of customer needs and interests: from the entry point, affordable introductory products; for new collectors; for gift givers; and to the high-end exclusive rarities you see every year,” said Reeves.
“It was the next step in the Mint’s strategic evolution, and it makes good sense for the Mint and where we want to bring our customers.”
He also added Canada’s upcoming sesquicentennial will offer an “excellent opportunity to take the next step in the evolution of our numismatic program.”
2016 Q2 REPORT
According to the Mint’s 2016 second quarter financial report, which was released last August, revenue from numismatics declined nine per cent to $42.3 million in the second quarter of last year compared to the second quarter of 2015.
“This change is largely the result of lower second quarter demand for gold and silver numismatic products and reduced sales of face value coins,” reads the report. “Management is closely monitoring the performance of its face value program and implementing action to mitigate sales returns in the future.”
‘SPIRIT OF CANADA’
The Mint’s first $3 Fine silver coin, “Spirit of Canada,” was launched last October. Hailed as the Mint’s “most affordable silver coin,” the piece weighs 7.96 grams and has a 27-mm diameter. The coin also has serrated edges and a specimen finish.
Designed by Steve Hepburn, this coin depicts a cross-country journey featuring some of Canada’s most iconic images. The reverse design depicts a celebrated emblem of Canada’s Pacific coast, the orca whale. The scene transitions smoothly to the northern coastline of the Canadian Arctic, which is represented by an inukshuk and a polar bear with cub. Beneath these are the Rocky Mountains alongside a vast boreal forest on the left and the agricultural landscape of the Prairie provinces on the right. Atlantic Canada is represented by a Nova Scotian/New Brunswick Herring Seiner, which slightly overlaps the stirring image of a raised Canadian flag blowing in the wind. The nation’s northern climate is also represented by two children playing hockey.
“There are many other affordable products at different price points in our numismatic program and our Canada 150 program,” said Reeves. “There will be more products like it coming very soon and following throughout the year.”
Reeves said there are no plans to demonetize the face value coins or change the Mint’s return policy.
“The coins remain legal tender,” he added, “but people should enjoy these coins for what they are: they’re very appealing, they’re finely crafted, and they have a great variety of interesting designs. They are coins that are meant to be enjoyed in every way.”
Reeves couldn’t comment on whether the Mint is anticipating its customers to redeem their coins.
“It’s impossible to predict future, but I know there’s a large core of those customers that have bought these coins to collect them and enjoy them,” he said. “And now that we’re moving on to a new type of product, I think some people will find it an opportunity to complete their collection.”
On its Website, the Mint explains the process for reimbursing financial institutions for the face value of redeemed coins after they’ve been accepted from a customer and returned to the Mint.
“In the event a bank branch is unaware of this procedure, customers are advised to contact the Mint with the coordinates of the bank branch, which will take steps to inform the branch of the redemption process,” reads the Mint Website.
“As collector coins can only be redeemed at face value by businesses and financial institutions willing to accept them, it is recommended that individuals wishing to sell a collector coin first consult with a coin dealer, who is more likely to offer a price above face value.”