A new coin from Canada continues a popular series targeted to
The Royal Canadian Mint has released the third Maple Leaf .9999
fine silver $5 coin from the “Great Landmarks and Monuments of Europe”
series of the coins bearing privy marks, a usually small device used
on coinage. The privy mark on the new coin celebrates the Leaning
Tower of Pisa in Italy. The two earlier coins in the series are a
Specimen Finish 2009 Maple Leaf silver $5 coin marking London’s Tower
Bridge and a Reverse Proof 2009 silver $5 coin honoring Berlin’s
Today, privy marks are generally used for marketing and
promotional purposes, and are often commemorative in nature. The added
adornment brands the coin as special, and can be a logo, words or a
combination of the two.
Though the coin is part of a series released only in Europe, an
American distributor, Talisman Coins (an official RCM distributor) has
acquired some of the pieces for sale in the United States. The
2012-dated coin features a privy mark of the famous Italian landmark
Leaning Tower of Pisa (Torre pendente di Pisa), which was built as the
freestanding bell tower of the cathedral (duomo) of the Italian city
of Pisa. The tower stands just over 183 feet (55.86 meters) from the
ground on the low side and 186 feet (56.70 meters) on the high side.
Construction of the Tower occurred in three stages across 177
years, beginning on Aug. 8, 1173. The tower began to sink just after
construction had progressed to the second or third floor (sources
vary) in 1178 because the tower’s foundation was set in weak, unstable subsoil.
War halted construction for nearly a century, allowing the
underlying soil to settle. Construction resumed in 1272 for a dozen
years, with engineers compensating for the tower’s tilt by building
upper floors with one side taller than the other. Because of this, the
tower is actually curved.
The seventh floor was finally completed in 1319, and the belfry
finally added in 1372.
The tower has both 294 and 296 steps, because the seventh floor
has two fewer steps on the north-facing staircase. Prior to
restoration work performed between 1990 and 2001, the tower leaned at
an angle of 5.5 degrees, but now leans at about 4 degrees, meaning
that the top of the tower is displaced horizontally nearly 13 feet
from where it would be if the structure were perfectly vertical.
Stabilization efforts during the 1990s were successful,
straightening the tower by 18 inches, returning it to its position of 1838.
The privy mark on the Specimen Finish coin reflects the tower’s
tilt, a sight that draws hundreds of thousands of tourists annually.
Specimen Finish is described as a three-fold combination of different
finishes: the raised area (relief) includes both brilliant and
mirrored surfaces, while the fields (background) are subtly striated,
resulting in a contrasting, matte appearance. No other mint in the
world employs the Specimen Finish, according to the RCM.
Susanna Blunt’s effigy of Queen Elizabeth II appears on the
obverse of the coin, with the date, denomination and the queen’s name
The reverse depicts the single Maple Leaf design created by Stan
Witten, with the privy mark to the left of the maple leaf’s stem.
Inscriptions reading FINE SILVER 1 OZ and 9999 reflect the metal,
weight and purity of the coin.
The coin weighs 31.39 grams, measures 38 millimeters in diameter
and has a mintage limit of 50,000 pieces. The coins are packaged in an
archival quality mylar holder
Each coin costs $59.95. A roll of 25 coins costs $1,248.75 or
$49.95 per coin.
For more information about the coin, visit a special page about
the coin at the Talisman Coins website, www.talismancoins.com/servlet/Detail?no=1789,
telephone the firm at 888-552-2646 or fax the business at