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The Royal Canadian Mint

The Royal Canadian Mint (French: Monnaie Royale Canadienne) produces all of Canada’s circulation coins, and also manufactures government issued circulation coins on behalf of other nations.

The Mint has produced coinage for over 70 countries: centavos for Cuba, kroner for Norway and Iceland, fils for Yemen, pesos for Colombia, baht for Thailand, a thousand-dollar coin for Hong Kong as well as coins for Barbados, New Zealand and Uganda.In 2005, the Liberation of the Netherlands triple privy silver Maple Leaf was struck for the Royal Dutch Mint. The coin was to be presented to Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and it is the rarest of all silver Maple Leaf coins.

Coin designs

The Mint designs and manufactures precious metal investment, commemorative and collective coins. Traditional as well as innovative, the Royal Canadian Mint has gone where no other mint has dared: Maple Leaf gold, silver, palladium, and platinum bullion coins are amongst the world’s most popular, standing out for their absolute purity (reaching .99999) and their bold design and manufacturing policy, involving holographic enhancements, micro-engraved privy marks as an identification and security feature, even coloured enameling.

Nevertheless, with experimenting, peculiar things do happen as in the case of the “Milk Spot” blemish that many Canadian silver Maple Leaves carry. It is a baked-in blemish that happens when a cleaning detergent (usually chlorine) is left on the coin when it goes into the annealing furnace. The detergent gets baked into the coin itself and leaves a spot that cannot be removed easily.

All coins feature a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on their obverse sides and the maple leaf motif on the reverse, the artistry in every strewn line of the leaf fairly shimmering on the coin’s surface. Some annual variations will bear alternate designs, although there was only one proof release in 1989.

In April 2012, the Mint announced that it was developing Mint Chip, a digital currency (in the concept of the bitcoin) to allow anonymous transactions backed by the Government of Canada and denominated in a variety of currencies.

Royal Canadian Mint History

For the first fifty years of Canadian coinage the coins were struck at the Royal Mint in London, and at the private Heaton Mint in Birmingham, England. As Canada emerged as a nation in its own right, the need for a Canadian Mint increased. A branch of the Royal Mint was authorized to be built in Ottawa in 1901, the Ottawa branch of the Royal Mint officially opening on January 2, 1908. The Mint’s facility in Ottawa is currently responsible for producing collector and commemorative coins, bullion in the form of coins, bars, wafers and grain, medals and medallions. This is also where the master tooling is done to create the dies that strike coin designs for both circulation and commemorative issues. The Mint’s gold and silver refineries and assay labs are also located in Ottawa.

The Mint facility in Winnipeg was officially opened in 1976, and in 1979 the Royal Canadian Mint building in Ottawa was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.

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