Coin collectors in the United States rejoice: If you are looking for something fresh for your coin collection, why not take a numismatic trip to Canada, a nation whose coins are filled with images of nature, wildlife and the country’s colorful history?
Chances are, if you live near the U.S./Canada border or in a region which Canadians frequent, then likely you have seen a coin (or two or two-hundred) from Canada. Perhaps the first thing observant collectors notice is that U.S. and Canadian coins are denominationally valued similarly to U.S. coins. In fact, just as the U.S. has one, five, ten, twenty-five, fifty-cent and one dollar coins, so too does Canada. (Canada does, however, have a two-dollar coin). Also, both nations’ one, five, ten, and twenty-five-cent coins are sized similarly too, so it is not too hard for a Canadian coin to escape into U.S. circulation. Also, like with the U.S. Mint, the Royal Canadian Mint strikes commemorative coins, most of which are quite beautiful. Furthermore, like the U.S. Mint, the Royal Canadian Mint strikes bullion coins which, in the current market where gold and silver prices are up, do not make half-bad investment coins, either(!).
The obverse (heads side) of all current, circulating Canadian coinage bears an image of Queen Elizabeth II. The reverse of the circulating coins depict beautiful nature and wildlife scenes. The reverse (tails side) of the one-cent coin shows an image of the maple leaf. The back of the five-cent coin bears a picture of a beaver. The tails side of the ten-cent coin displays a schooner amid a vast body of water. The rear of the twenty-five cent coin grants space to the caribou. The reverse of the fifty cent coin honors Canada’s royalty by bearing the nation’s coat of arms. The back of the dollar coin is the home of the loon, and the reverse of the two-dollar coin portrays a polar bear. As one might imagine, Canadian coins should be tops on the lists of, especially, those who appreciate nature. Except for the circulating half-dollar, each of today’s Canadian coins that play a regular role in commerce pay homage to Canada’s vast and beautiful countryside and the creatures that inhabit it.
While Americans may have some difficulty in acquiring a collection of Canadian coins because either the coins are difficult to obtain or because U.S. collectors may not necessarily want to allocate a large part of their budget for acquiring foreign coins, there are probably few U.S. collectors who would ever truly back down from the idea of picking up at least a few coins from the north. After all, Canadian coins are not only beautiful, they possess the high-quality workmanship of the Royal Canadian Mint, which has produced crisp, sharp, and solid coins for generations. A great way to acquire Canadian coins is through the purchase of “proof-like” sets—annual coin sets packaged by the Royal Canadian Mint that include the circulating coins of a given year. Current proof-like sets can be bought directly from the Royal Canadian Mint, and earlier sets can be found offered via many U.S. dealers both online and in physical stores. Many proof-like sets from the 1970s on can be obtained for less than $10.00.
American collectors may also find refreshment in Canadian coins for another reason: unlike American coins, whose portraits of the presidents have generally remained unchanged for decades (though Jefferson’s and Washington busts on the nickel and quarter, respectively, have seen updates in the past ten years), Queen Elizabeth II has aged as gracefully on her Canadian coinage as she has in person. In fact, during her reigning fifty-five years, she has had no less than four different portraits on circulating Canadian coins, each successive design showing her as she has grown from being a young woman to mature matriarch.
While you may or may not find yourself devoted to collecting Canadian coins, few people who appreciate beautiful coin designs, nature, wildlife, or high-quality coinage could ever consider their collection truly complete without at least a few examples of the coins from the picturesque country to our north.
Royal Canadian Mint. http://www.mint.ca/royalcanadianmintpublic/