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The Sugar Maple Leaf has served for centuries as a symbol of Canada. Many historians date its status as such back to 1700. The St. Jean Baptiste Society in North America made the leaf its symbol in 1834, and Toronto’s The Maple Leaf described it as Canada’s chosen emblem fourteen years later. It made its first appearance as the country’s flag on February 15, 1965. Today, the leaf continues to inspire pride in America’s northern neighbors. It also features on the country’s two annual bullion series, the Gold and Silver Maple Leafs. Simple in concept, but intricate in execution, the designs make the coins among the world’s most admired. Now in 2019, the Royal Canadian Mint is introducing an incuse version of the Gold Maple Leaf for the first time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Gold Maple Leaf series.
In 1979, the Royal Canadian Mint issued the first ever Gold Maple Leaf. Initially the Mint issued only a .999 fine, one-ounce version, but in November of 1982, it began issuing quarter ounce and tenth ounce versions. At the same time, it increased the purity of the series to .9999. The quarter ounce joined the group in 1986, and a twentieth ounce piece was first issued in 1993. 1994 saw a 1/15 oz. piece as well, the only one ever issued, and the latest size, 1 gram, made its debut in 2014. The series has included several special issues, including bi-metallic Maples, five-nine fine pieces, two colored gold pieces, and four hologram gold Maples. Its history has also included Olympic Maple Leafs, special issues, privy coins, and maple leaf privies. Beyond its beauty and Canadian government backing, the coin is popular because of two security features introduced in 2015, radial lines and a maple leaf privy with the final two digits of the year, which make the coin virtually impossible to counterfeit.
The obverse of the coin features Susanna Blunt’s portrait of reigning British monarch and Canadian head of state Queen Elizabeth II. Blunt’s stunning effigy shows the monarch with her shoulders open to the holder. She wears earrings and a necklace, but Blunt strikes a note of Canadian independence by depicting her without a crown or tiara. The monarch’s name, “ELIZABETH II,” arches over her image, while the coin’s face value, “200 DOLLARS,” and date, “2019,” are provided below it. Blunt’s initials are inscribed on the Queen’s shoulder.
On the reverse is Walter Ott’s stunning Maple Leaf design, which is the same design that featured on the original issue in 1979. Ott’s exceptional detail brings Canada’s national symbol to life. The purity of the coin, “9999,” is inscribed twice, once on either side of the leaf. “CANADA” arches along the rim at the top, while the bottom portion of the rim provides the coin’s weight in Canada’s two national languages, English and French.
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