The Royal Canadian Mint has released three new bullion coins, but
collectors will be hard-pressed to learn about them from that Mint.
The coins — a Polar Bear 1.5-ounce .9999 fine silver $8 coin, a
War of 1812 three-quarter ounce .9999 fine silver $1 coin and a War of
1812 quarter-ounce .9999 fine gold $10 coin — are all being issued
through exclusive distributors.
The release of these coins illustrates the partnerships between
private companies or individuals and world mints in the modern world
The RCM has released special issues in conjunction with
third-party distributors before — a series of privy-marked silver and
gold maple leafs is perhaps the most recognizable result from those partnerships.
The latest offerings, however, include unorthodox sizes never
before seen on Canadian coins. Additionally, distributors are
establishing minimum quantity purchases not normally in place for
standard RCM bullion sales.
Alex Reeves, the RCM’s senior manager of communications, said the
1.5-ounce and three-quarter ounce silver coins were produced “to add
variety to the Mint’s silver bullion coin offering, through unique
weights not found on collector coins, as well as eye-catching designs
which make them interesting acquisitions for both first-time precious
metals buyers and long-term investors.”
Though distributors are using the term Uncirculated to describe
the finish of all three coins, the RCM said all were issued through
its bullion department and feature a bullion finish.
The silver coins were released in late September and early
October, and the gold coin was released in April.
Unlike the RCM’s traditional bullion coins, these specialized
products are being sold at sometimes significant premiums.
Lear Capital is the exclusive distributor for the Polar Bear $8
coin, which shows a lone polar bear ambling across the scene with
legends surrounding. The designer is not identified, but the $8 coin,
as well as the War of 1812 coins, feature the Susanna Blunt effigy of
Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, which was first used for gold Maple
Leafs in 2004.
The $8 coin is available only in rolls of 15 coins (for 22.5
ounces of silver per roll). Based on responses to multiple inquiries
from the author, customers contacting the firm with questions about
the coin are quoted a price representing a 30 percent premium over the
precious metal or “spot” price of the silver in the coin.
The Polar Bear coin will be “produced to demand,” according to
Reeves. Canadian dealer Gatewest Coins obtained the license to sell
the coins in Canada only, and offers the coins at about the same
premium in effect for Lear Capital’s sales to U.S. buyers.
The Polar Bear 1.5-ounce silver $8 coin production requires a new
size of coin blanks.
War of 1812 coins
The two War of 1812 coins are exclusively available through
Both coins carry a similar reverse design by Cathy
Bursey-Sabourin, using allegorical symbols of American and British
forces flanking a maple leaf decorated shield. The design was used
earlier in 2012 on a Proof example of the quarter-ounce .9999 fine
gold $10 coin.
The Uncirculated gold bullion coin weighs 7.8 grams and measures
20 millimeters in diameter; the silver dollar weighs 23.3 grams and
measures 38 millimeters in diameter.
The silver dollars are being offered only in 30-count rolls, at
approximate premiums of more than 50 percent, based on responses to
inquiries through the company’s public telephone contact.
The gold coins are being advertised as available at the same price
as a standard Maple Leaf quarter-ounce gold bullion $10 coin. However,
the standard Maple Leaf gold bullion $10 coin was available at the
same time from other distributors for about a 10 to 11 percent premium
(no pricing was available for the Maple Leaf gold bullion $10 coin
from Goldline). For comparison, a Maple Leaf gold bullion $10 coin,
with an unlimited mintage, costs more than the Proof version’s
official issue price ($619.95); the Proof Maple Leaf quarter-ounce
gold coin has a mintage limit of 2,000 pieces.
According to Goldline representatives contacted through the public
telephone number, both War of 1812 coins have a limited production
window of one year, but no specified mintage limit.
The RCM did not require new blanks for the quarter-ounce gold 1812
coin, but the three-quarter ounce silver dollar required a new size of