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New Security Features For 2014 Silver Maple Leafs

April 21, 2014 0 Comments

2014 Silver Maple Leaf

With the speed at which technology is advancing these days, battling forgery and counterfeiting is a top priority for most companies. This is no different in the Numismatic Community as evidenced by the new $100 dollar bill that was released by the United States Mint this past year. However, there have yet to be great advances in minting practices when it comes to combating bullion counterfeiting. But in 2014, the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) was the first sovereign mint to introduce new minting technology aimed at keeping forgers at bay. These new features have just been released in their flagship silver bullion coin, the 2014 Canadian Silver Maple Leaf.

Almost all silver bullion coins start as a 1 ounce round silver blank. This is simply a silver disc before it is stamped or “minted” into a coin. It takes a great amount of pressure for the design of the coin to be pressed into the blank. This has been a benefit for mints for some time because the tons of pressure required to stamp metal is not easily attainable in somebody’s backyard. However, just as technology advances and becomes cheaper (figure anyone with a smart phone now has a powerful computer in their pocket), so has the equipment to create these great pressures.

Although counterfeiting bullion coins is not as prevalent as buying bootleg DVD’s, the RCM has decided to be proactive and invested in new techniques and technologies for the 2014 Silver Maple Leaf. The first and most noticeable step has been the added texture to the field (the flat, empty space around the design of the coin) of the coin on both the obverse (front) and the reverse (back). Silver Maple Leaf coins have had the same finish on them since their introduction in 1988 – a subtle, vertical lined texture to the field. This can be evidenced here:

Classic Silver Maple Leaf Texture

Radiating Linear Field Finish

What is replacing the field texture is a new linear textured finish. Starting from the center of the coin will be precise radial lines that emanate from the center of the coin and project toward the outer rim in somewhat of a starburst pattern. These lined textures will be matched from die to die and from coin to coin. In a news statement, the Royal Canadian Mint said:

“The specific width and pitch of the lines radiating from the coin’s central maple leaf design create a light-diffracting pattern which is unique to the Mint’s ‘next generation’ SML and unmatched by competing bullion products…”

2014 Silver Maple Leaf Front and Back


2014 Silver Maple Reverse


2014 Silver Maple Obverse

Laser Engraved Maple Leaf with Micro-Engraved Year

Although this feature was first introduced to the $1 and 2$ circulating coins (Canada got rid of the penny) in 2012, this is the first time the laser engraving has been brought to Canadian silver bullion coins (the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin received this feature the prior year in 2013).

On the reverse of the coin, the RCM applies a laser engraved maple leaf underneath the right side of the actual stamped maple leaf of the coin. In the center of the engraved maple leaf is the number “14.” This denotes the coin’s year of issue and is only visible under magnification as it is a micro-engraving. This tiny engraving is extremely difficult for forgers to reproduce since it is only visible under magnification and must be precise. The micro-engraving will be a feature on all future Silver Maple Leaf coins with the number changing each year.

Silver Maple Reverse Close Up

Silver Maple Leaf Microprint Zoom

As you can see, the Royal Canadian Mint is on the forefront of bullion security features. Most other mints aren’t even close when it comes to adding these types of technologies to their bullion coins. But as technology progresses even faster, you can be sure that other sovereign mints will be rushing to catch up.

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