Collectors of Canadian coins now have a chance to own test samples
of the new $1 and $2 coins that debuted in April.
The Royal Canadian Mint’s transition to new versions of the coins,
featuring a lighter-weight composition and additional security
features, required a wide-scale cooperative effort with multiple
agencies and organizations of the vending machine industry. The RCM
produced an estimated 1 million tokens for each denomination for use
in tests to ensure that the vending industry could handle the
transition, which began April 10.
The RCM has offered test token sets to collectors, on occasion,
when it has introduced changes.
July 10, the RCM began offering a new six-piece collector set
featuring the tokens. Each set contains a $1 and $2 test token, 2011
examples of the $1 and $2 coins (of the old styles) and 2012 examples
of the new coins.
The test tokens in the sets are like those “that were used by
suppliers in various automated coin acceptance industries to calibrate
and update their equipment,” according to the RCM.
The list of vendors who used the test tokens includes vending,
parking, transit and retail businesses among others. The firms were
sent the tokens so they could update and calibrate their equipment to
read and accept the new coins. Following the calibration exercise, the
tokens were sent back to the Mint.
According to the RCM, the test tokens being offered in the
collector sets were “part of a master set of the original tokens.”
According to the RCM, the tokens in the sets were not actually used in
The new $1 coin weighs 6.27 grams, compared to 7 grams for the
previous version; the new $2 coin weighs 6.92 grams, compared to the
7.3-gram weight for the earlier versions. Despite more than two years
of consulting with the vending constituencies, the new coins are the
subject of many news articles in Canadian media about agencies and
municipalities that had not yet transitioned their machinery
(especially parking meters) to accept the new coins.
In addition to being slightly lighter, the next generation of
coins incorporates new, visible security features and marks the debut
of the RCM’s patented multi-ply plated steel technology.
The new $1 coin is composed of multi-ply brass plated steel. It
retains the familiar 11-sided shape of its predecessor and features
the Loon design by Robert-Ralph Carmichael, which debuted 25 years ago.
The ringed-bimetallic $2 coin is composed of a multi-ply
brass-plated aluminum-bronze core within a multi-ply nickel-plated
steel outer ring. It features Brent Townsend’s polar bear image, which
has been featured on the circulation $2 coin in most years since the
coin’s introduction in 1996.
The reverses of both coins feature a laser mark micro-engraving,
and the $2 coin also contains a virtual image on the reverse and
edge-lettering. The laser marks were produced during the striking of
the coin using a contrasting pattern micro-engraved on the coin die itself.
The $1 coin bears a single laser mark of a maple leaf positioned
just above the Loon design on the coin’s reverse side. The $2 coin
features a set of two laser marks of maple leaves at the bottom of the
In addition, the $2 coin sports a hologram-like virtual image of
two maple leaves at the top of the outer ring. This virtual image
changes as the coin is turned from side to side. The element was
produced by engraving different patterns on each side of two-sided
grooves on the face of the coin.
Edge lettering on the $2 coin reads CANADA and 2 DOLLARS.
The tokens are similar in many ways to the coins that they
heralded, but the main difference is the indication of their test
token status with the letters T and E (representing “test” in English
and “Épreuve” in French) within the maple leaf laser marks.
Unlike the circulating version, the $1 coin features a pair of the
leaf laser marks, rather than one laser mark, and the 2011 date on the reverse.
The edition of the set is limited to 25,000; the remaining test
tokens have been recycled or archived at the RCM, according to officials.
The coin and token set is sealed inside a transparent plastic film
and presented in a keepsake envelope. It retails for $29.95 and should
begin shipping Sept. 4.
The price is listed in Canadian funds.
United States distributors for the RCM will carry the set at fixed
prices in U.S. dollars. Gatewest Coin Ltd., Brian Jenner Inc. and
Talisman Coins are all official distributors for the RCM.
To contact Gatewest inside the United States, telephone the firm
at 204-489-9112 or visit it online at www.gatewestcoin.com.
Write to Jenner at P.O. Box 2466-a, Pasco, WA 99302 or telephone
him at 509-735-2172.
Contact Talisman by visiting it at www.talismancoins.com,
telephone the business at 888-552-2646 or fax the company at