The world’s second-most popular silver bullion coin (by mintage)
celebrates its silver anniversary with a new design.
The Royal Canadian Mint on Nov. 15 began offering special limited
mintage examples of the 2013 Maple Leaf 1-ounce .9999 fine silver $5
bullion coin with a slightly modified design.
Delivery of the coins was expected to follow in the two weeks
following the release date in early December, according to distributors.
The anniversary coin features the traditional Walter Ott reverse
design of a single leaf with the standard inscriptions, with the
addition of the numeral 25 overlaid on the leaf.
The Susanna Blunt effigy of Queen Elizabeth II appears on the
obverse, and is the third effigy to appear on the Maple Leaf coins
since the gold program debuted in 1979. Arnold Machin’s effigy opened
the series and continued through 1989, and Dora de-Pedery Hunt’s
effigy was used from 1990 to 2003.
Maple Leaf beginnings
Silver Maple Leaf coins debuted 25 years ago, in 1988, with the
highest face value for a comparable 1-ounce silver bullion coin.
In addition to the metal fineness and weight, the standard design
has remained constant. (Brand extensions include the three coins
issued to commemorate the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, a six-coin
Wildlife series issued from 2010 to 2013, and multiple privy mark examples.)
Silver Maple Leafs were introduced less than a decade after the
Royal Canadian Mint launched the gold Maple Leaf program.
The Maple Leaf 1-ounce silver bullion coin weighs 31.39 grams,
measures 38 millimeters in diameter and has a reeded edge.
The 25th anniversary coins are delivered to bullion distributors
like other traditional Maple Leaf silver bullion coins — in white
plastic tubes of 25 coins in a plastic box of 20 tubes, for a total
count of 500 coins. Individually wrapped examples in what collectors
call Thermotron plastic may be available, if a distributor orders
them, at a higher cost per coin.
The anniversary coin is limited to a mintage of 1 million pieces
(as were all six issues in the recently concluded Canadian Wildlife
silver Maple Leaf series) and, like the Wildlife releases, is offered
by the RCM and its distributors for a slight premium (about $2) above
the premium charged for a standard silver Maple Leaf. The distributors
sell the coins to other merchants and directly to the public, at
prices based on the price of silver, plus the premiums.
The Royal Canadian Mint does not disclose the premiums it charges distributors.
With sales of 18.1 million 1-ounce coins in 2012, the RCM is
firmly entrenched in second place for silver bullion demand, with the
American Eagle silver bullion coin first, and the Austrian and Chinese
silver bullion coins following close behind. ■