The Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) is indisputably one of the leading lights in the bullion coin and collectible numismatic realm today. It enjoys the reputation of a groundbreaking innovator and talented artisan producer of some of the most coveted coin series on the planet. The main duty of the RCM is to produce and provide circulation coinage. Today, the RCM also acts as a contract mint for nations with no mint of their own. They are one of the foremost refiners of silver operating today, in addition to offering assay services. They strike collector coins, bars, tokens, medallions, and medals in gold, silver, platinum, palladium and base metals. Collector coins from the RCM are popular and range in subject matter from famous comic book super heroes like Superman and Batman, to issues featuring Canada’s historic contributions to nearly every field of human endeavor.
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The Mint began striking coins at their Ottawa facility on January 2, 1908 as part of the British Royal Mint. They were tasked with striking local circulation coins and the legendary Gold Sovereign coin from gold recently discovered in Canada’s famed Yukon. The Royal Canadian Mint gained independence from the British Royal Mint in 1931. Since 1976 the circulating coinage for Canada and other nations has been struck at the technologically advanced Winnipeg, Manitoba RCM facility. Bullion products and collectible coins are produced in the Ottawa, Ontario facility.
The RCM has a number of firsts to their credit: they produced the first colorized coin, the first hologram coin, the first million dollar face value coin which was comprised of .99999 pure gold, and the first coin with glass as an integral part of the design. They have also developed a process called multi-ply plating for their circulation coins. This process prolongs the useful life of a circulation coin, lowers the overall cost to produce the coin and allows for a unique electromagnetic profile which reduces counterfeiting.
They also operate one of the most technologically sophisticated refining operations on the planet. They process and purify precious metals for the jewelry industry, various industrial and technological applications, and for non-Canadian mint operations all over the world.
In 1979, the RCM introduced one of the most sought after gold bullion coins in the world, the Gold Maple Leaf. Prior to the introduction of this series, the private market for gold ownership was dominated by the South African Gold Krugerrand. The American Gold Eagle would not be introduced until 1986. Originally the Gold Maple was struck in .999 fine gold with the new standard to .9999 fine gold for today’s regular issues. The coins are struck in a variety of sizes: 1 oz, 1⁄2 oz, 1⁄4 oz, 1⁄10 oz, 1⁄15 oz, 1⁄20 oz and 1⁄25 oz.
The Royal Canadian Mint's Silver Maple Leaf series was introduced in 1988. The reverse features the iconic RCM Maple Leaf image from the Gold Maple Leaf series while the obverse features the portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. The series has been struck in a variety of sizes: 1 oz. 1⁄2 oz, 1⁄4 oz, 1⁄10 oz, and 1⁄20 oz. At one point the Silver Maple was once marketed as “the purest silver regular issue bullion coin on the planet” at .9999 fine.
The RCM has also struck Palladium Platinum Maple Leaf bullion coins. These issues tend to be harder to find and are enduringly popular with collectors. The coins are legal tender, are offered in the standard 1 oz size and occasionally below that in fractional sizes. Both the platinum and palladium are refined to .9995 purity.
The RCM has a strong tradition of maintaining and celebrating Canadian cultural identity through special issues and commemoratives marking historic anniversaries and notable Canadians and their achievements.
The RCM regularly features the diversity and beauty of Canada and its creatures with Canadian Wildlife Coins. Recently featured species include: wolves, polar bears, grizzly bears, cougars, moose, antelope, bison, lynx, and eagles. Also highlighted are natural elements of the North American landscape like the Canadian Rockies. These coins often feature a unique innovation in the production, presentation or appearance of the coin. They are also quite popular with collectors due to their reliably low mintage limits.
The RCM also manufactures a variety of Gold Bars and silver bars in sizes ranging from 1 oz. to 1000 oz. in a variety of styles and purity.