Regarded as one of the most popular mints in the world, the Royal Canadian Mint is a truly world-class coin-production outfit with an esteemed reputation and robust global clientele.
Today, the Royal Canadian Mint produces the entirety of Canada’s circulating coins, with its Winnipeg facility producing more than one billion of those coins annually, in addition to striking circulation coins for other countries across the globe.
For 2021, the Royal Canadian Mint has released a suite of unique coins that are now available to clients of the United States Gold Bureau. These striking precious metals pieces vary in shape, size, and subject of celebration and would make an intriguing addition to any personal numismatic portfolio.
With present-day locations in Ottawa and Winnipeg, the Royal Canadian Mint boasts a storied history dating back more than 100 years. For the first 50 years of Canadian coinage’s existence, from 1858 through nearly a decade after the turn of the twentieth century, the province's metal currency pieces were produced in London at the city's Royal Mint location. Additionally, some Canadian coins were manufactured at the Heaton Mint in Birmingham, England, a private establishment. Canadian coins were not produced on Canadian soil during this time.
Not long after the turn of the 20th century, as Canada evolved into a country of agency in its own right, it became increasingly clear that its need for coinage would only continue to increase, as it had been doing for some time. As a result of this realization, in 1901, the Royal Mint in the U.K. authorized a mint branch to be established in Ottawa, Canada, an idea that was first proposed in 1890.
On January 2, 1908, the Ottawa branch of the Royal Mint was officially opened. The occasion was marked with a short ceremony at which Governor General Early Grey opened the celebration by striking the country’s first domestically-produced coin – a fifty-cent piece – and his wife, Countess Grey, closed the festivities by striking the country’s first bronze cent.
For the ensuing two-plus decades, the Ottawa Mint operated under the banner of the larger Royal Mint of Great Britain. It wouldn’t be until the Great Depression that the Ottawa facility would negotiate its independence from the Royal Mint, becoming officially separate from its former parent organization in 1931. At that time, the facility was deemed the “Royal Canadian Mint” and commenced its operational reporting to Canada’s Department of Finance.
Nearly 40 years later, in 1969, the Canadian government restructured the Canadian Mint into what’s known as a “Crown corporation,” a designation it still operates under today.
Crown corporations represent a specific iteration of enterprise wholly owned by the Sovereign of Canada, which today is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. When the Canadian Mint was transformed into this type of organization, it ceased operating as a branch of the Department of Finance and began operating similar to other corporations, with increased autonomy, decision-making capabilities, and its own Board of Directors. Crown corporations are well-suited to governmental functions that do not squarely fit within any other ministries' purviews. They may also satisfy public service needs that would perhaps not be economically logical or viable for a private enterprise to fulfill. Crown corporations have a long history in Canada and have been largely seen as instrumental in the country's formation and development.
As demand and output levels of the Royal Canadian Mint increased throughout the middle portion of the 20th century, ideas about a new facility began surfacing. In November 1960, before the Royal Canadian Mint was transformed into a Crown corporation, the Master of the Mint advised Canada’s Minister of Finance of the need for a new facility, as evidenced by several facts he outlined. Such evidence included that the Ottawa facility had reached production capacity, a significant amount of Canada’s 10-cent coins was being produced in the United States at the Philadelphia Mint, and all Canadian numismatic coins were being struck in Hull, Quebec, versus at the Ottawa facility.
After years of governmental discussion, performance and operations functionality studies, funds being allocated, and locations being considered, construction for a new Royal Canadian Mint facility finally kicked off at the end of 1972. Although not without controversy, the site that was finally decided upon for the new Mint outpost was the city of Winnipeg in the province of Manitoba. The new Winnipeg facility officially opened its doors in 1976.
The establishment of this new Royal Canadian Mint location allowed the Ottawa facility to refocus solely on investment-geared coins. In contrast, the Winnipeg location would strike the country's entire inventory of domestic circulation coins, in addition to circulating pieces for many foreign governments. Today, the Royal Canadian Mint boasts a track record of producing more than one billion circulating Canadian coins each year at its Winnipeg facility.
Exciting 2021 Coin Releases from the Royal Canadian Mint
The Royal Canadian Mint boasts a proud history of producing an impressive repertoire of numismatic and investment-grade precious metals coins. Today, these pieces are struck at the Canadian Mint's original location in Ottawa and aim to celebrate the country's historical milestones, storied culture, natural splendor, and other industrial and human achievements that punctuate the country's legacy.
The Royal Canadian Mint has released a number of exciting investment coins for 2021 that the United States Gold Bureau is proud to offer to our clients.
2021 Relics of New France: Louis XIV 30-deniers Two-Coin
In the early modern period of human history, the Kingdom of France was an Ancien Régime or "old rule" monarchy controlled by the House of Bourbon. The most prominent king of the age was Louis XIV, who reigned from 1643 through his death in 1715.
For a brief period during this time, from 1709 to 1713, a 30-denier coin, dubbed the “mousquetaire,” was minted by the French regime.
The then-centuries old denier itself was initially introduced by the Frankish king and Carolingian ruler, Pippin the Short, around the year 755 A.D., as a new currency system that would form the basis of all coinage in the region throughout the Middle Ages and beyond.
In the early years of the 18th century, French king Louis XIV authorized the mintage of the 30-deniers coins to satisfy the need for metallic currency in the French colonies, New France, Louisiana, and the French West Indies.
The 30-deniers coin was nicknamed the “mousquetaire” because of the cross design it bore on its reverse, which harkened to the emblem seen on the short coats worn by the French musketeers. Norbert Roëttiers initially designed this motif.
This year, the Royal Canadian Mint is honoring this early 1700s French coin's legacy by striking a faithful replica of the cross design on a modern investment-grade proof gold coin. The coin comprises 99.99% pure 24-karat gold and features the pristine proof finish revered by precious metals investors. The 2021 “mousquetaire” carries a CA$200 face value and has “serrated” edges.
To appropriately honor the French denier's legacy, the Royal Canadian Mint worked closely with the Bank of Canada Museum to ensure this 2021 design reproduction appeared as historically accurate as possible. To this end, the original "A.A." (Metz) mint mark is incorporated on the reverse of the coin, beneath the “mousquetaire” cross, as well as “the unilingual inscription stating the coin’s original face value,” as the Canadian Mint points out.
The obverse of the proof “mousquetaire” replica features the current effigy of the reigning monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Making this 21st-century release even more noteworthy, the Royal Canadian Mint is issuing the 2021 gold proof 30-deniers-inspired coin alongside a genuine piece of coinage history – an original 18th-century Louis XIV 30-denier coin, which comes sealed in a coin slab.
As part of its celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Arms of Canada, the Royal Canadian Mint has brought a rare pen-and-ink drawing of Canadian heraldic emblems in 1912 to life on this stunning silver proof coin.
Nearly two decades after the turn of the 20th century, a movement had begun that aimed to conceive of and design a new coat of arms for Canada. The former coat of arms imagery, which was, at the time, up to nine quarters, each showing the coat of arms of a province or territory that had joined Canada, had widely become regarded as too complex for a national symbol.
A committee formed in 1919 to embark on this redesign quest agreed to reference the Royal Arms of four countries – England, Ireland, Scotland, and France – alongside a depiction of maple leaves, representing Canada itself. After some resistance and ensuing political maneuvering – including personal involvement by Winston Churchill – to move the new design proposal through the channels of approval, the new Canadian arms design was formally adopted by a proclamation from King George V on November 21, 1921, as the Dominion of Canada’s Arms or Ensigns Armorial. The fresh design was closely reminiscent of the arms of the United Kingdom. Still, it included unique additions that were meaningful to and symbolic of Canada, such as the maple leaves motif and a nod to the country’s French roots, as represented by the royal arms of France in the image’s fourth quarter. The 1921 proclamation also established the colors white and red as Canada’s national colors.
A century after its adoption, the Royal Canadian Mint is honoring its arms design history with the production of its 2021 Archival Treasures: 1912 Heraldic Design CA$250 Silver Proof Coin. Following a deep dive into the country’s national archives, the Canadian Mint discovered a rare pen-and-ink drawing by Joseph Aubé of Canada’s nine heraldic emblems in 1912, which the Mint reproduced on this striking, kilo-sized silver piece. The Mint notes that “every line and flourish of the original design – including the emblems of Canada, France, and the United Kingdom – has been carefully studied, adapted and replicated to create a numismatic work of art."
The 100th-anniversary coin weighs in at a whopping approximately 32 troy ounces – or one kilogram – and comprises 99.99% pure silver. It carries a CA$250 face value and features the investment-grade proof finish. Only 500 of the coins were minted, marking a notably small population.
The obverse of the 2021 Archival Treasures: 1912 Heraldic Design CA$250 Silver Proof Coin features the current effigy of the reigning monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The obverse image includes a floral vine along the top arch of the coin, mirrored by the coin’s CA$250 face value and 2021 strike year along the bottom.
2021 Pysanka CA$250 Gold Proof Coin
Each year, the Royal Canadian Mint honors its widely varied cultural mosaic by striking an investment-grade coin shaped like the traditional Ukrainian Easter egg known as “pysanka.”
This year, according to the Canadian Mint, its “upscale” pysanka gold coin “features a mesmerizing mix of traditional folk art motifs,” anchored by a central image of a rooster, a “symbol of good fortune.”
The pysanka is a Ukrainian Easter egg designed with traditional Ukrainian folk images and motifs. The detailing is applied to the shell of a hollowed-out egg using a wax-resist method, in which the designs are written, or “inscribed” with beeswax (the word “pysanka” derives from the verb “pysaty,” meaning “to write” or “to inscribe”). Such Easter egg decorating traditions are common in many Central and Eastern European cultures, including the Czech, Slovak, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Polish, and many Balkan ethnicities, among others.
Today, Canada boasts a significant population of Ukrainian and Ukrainian-descended residents. According to the 2016 Canadian Census, which is the most recent accounting of the country’s population, Canada is home to an estimated 1.4 million people of partial or complete Ukrainian origin. This figure makes the Ukrainian population in Canada the country's eleventh largest ethnic group and gives Canada the third-largest Ukrainian population in the world, behind Russia and Ukraine itself.
The annual pysanka coins are some of the most anticipated and revered precious metals pieces produced by the Royal Canadian Mint, often selling out quickly after release. This year, the Canadian Mint will strike a mere 250 of its pysanka coin, an incredibly low population for any numismatic piece.
The 2021 Pysanka Gold Proof Coin comprises nearly two troy ounces of 99.99% fine gold and is struck with a proof finish. This unique investment-grade coin is shaped like an egg, mimicking the Ukrainian Easter egg it is designed to celebrate. It features symbolic engravings on its reverse, such as the rooster good-fortune emblem, sunflowers that grow in the warmer months of the year, and repeated sunbursts representing growth. Reverse-side inscriptions include “CANADA,” the coin’s "2021" strike year, and its CA$250 face value.
The obverse of the 2021 Pysanka CA$250 Gold Proof Coin features the current effigy of the reigning monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
2021 Triumphant Dragon CA$125 Silver Proof Coin with
In keeping with its annual tradition, the Royal Canadian Mint has released this investment-grade silver and gold-plated coin to celebrate the 2021 Chinese New Year. This Lunar New Year-honoring coin was inspired by the Chinese Proverb that tells the tale of schools of carp that would swim against the current of the Yellow River and try their luck at jumping over the legendary Dragon Gate, a seemingly impossible task. The carp that succeeded were rewarded for their perseverance, bravery, and persistence in the face of adversity by being transformed into mighty golden dragons. The ideals and lessons imparted through this tale are artfully depicted on this stunning 2021 Triumphant Dragon silver and gold-plated coin from the Royal Canadian Mint.
The dragon-themed coin, one of two released by the Canadian Mint this year, comprises 16 troy ounces of 99.99% pure silver and carries a face value of CA$125. The coin is struck in the stunning proof finish fashion and features the addition of selective gold plating on its reverse and obverse sides, which emphasizes the design features of the coin in a unique and eye-catching way.
The silver and gold-plated Triumphant Dragon coin features an intricate carp-turned-dragon motif in stunning detail on its reverse, representing the legend of the carp leaping over the Dragon Gate. The tale was brought to life by Canadian artist Simon Ng.
The coin’s obverse shows the current effigy of the reigning monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, along with the standard Canadian coin inscriptions related to Her Majesty’s image, the coin’s CA$125 face value, “CANADA,” and the strike year, “2021.” The obverse of the coin also features selective gold plating, like its reverse side.
The Royal Canadian Mint honors its long, storied history with its impressive suite of 2021 coins. These intriguing pieces are a refreshing take on investment-grade coins that would provide a unique edge to any personal precious metals portfolio.