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30 Years of Canadian Platinum Coins

September 24, 2018 0 Comments

The Canadian maple leaf is an iconic, and instantly recognizable emblem of Canada, that northern neighbor across the world’s longest open border. It figures prominently in the center of the national red and white flag. More importantly for coin collectors, it also features on the ever-popular Maple Leaf Gold Coins produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. (The ‘Royal’ bit reflects the fact that the official head of state in Canada is the British Queen.) Those gold coins are always popular, but Canada is also one of a slowly-growing number of countries that issue platinum coins. In fact, Canada began producing them in 1988, which was almost 10 years earlier than the American equivalent – the $100 American Platinum Eagle coin.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of that first platinum Canadian Maple Leaf, their Mint has released a small run (just 400 sets) of a take on that coin which does something unique with that maple leaf design. By taking the exact original design and laying three of them one on top of the other, they have created a triple-leaf design, with of course one leaf for every decade of production. The coins are sold only in a 4-coin fractional set. That is, 4 coins, of four different weights, all with the same design.

The four coins are denominated in Canadian dollars, and it is made from 99.5% pure platinum. The weight is in Troy ounces, which is of course a little more than a standard ounce (1 troy ounce weighs 31.1035 grams, while a standard ounce is just 28.3495 grams). Each coin contains exactly a fraction of a troy ounce, so the gram weight of the coin itself is slightly higher, to compensate for the 0.5% that isn’t platinum.

The 1 troy ounce coin is denominated at $300, and has a diameter of 30 mm, so a little over one inch across. The ½ troy ounce coin is $150, and measures 25 mm (just under an inch) across. The ¼ troy ounce coin is marked as $75, and it is 20 mm (about ¾ of an inch) across. Finally the smallest coin in the set is just 1/10th of an ounce, denominated at $30, and it is 16 mm (2/3rd of an inch, about) across. The coin set comes in a wooden box for storage and display.

The reverse is designed by Jesse Koreck, with the triple maple leaf design. This is the leaf of the sugar maple (Acer saccharum), the source of maple syrup, which of course is a big Canadian export. Around the leaves are the words, CANADA, PLATINUM, and PLATINE; the coin weights: 1 oz., 1/2 oz., 1/4 oz., 1/10 oz.; the purity level, ‘9995’, and the dates. 1988 and 2018, which mark the 30-year anniversary. In addition, there is an anniversary privy mark of, ‘30’. This security feature ensures the continuing authenticity of the coins, and so reduces the risk of counterfeiting.

The obverse design is that of all Canadian coinage, the profile bust of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Head of State. Because this is an anniversary coin, this engraving is the one created by Arnold Machin for the first Platinum Maple Leaf coins issued in 1988. It is not the current bust that is being used on other new coins being minted in 2018.

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