A Wood Bison issue completes the six-coin Canadian Wildlife series
of 1-ounce silver bullion $5 coins from the Royal Canadian Mint.
The RCM announced the sixth and final design for the three-year
program celebrating the nation’s animals on Feb. 1 during the media
forum at the World Money Fair in Berlin.
The coin has a maximum mintage of 1 million pieces (the same as
the five earlier designs). It will be available only through the RCM’s
network of bullion distributors and is not available directly from the RCM.
Distributors could begin ordering the coin on Feb. 18, with
deliveries to commence that week. The coins are sold at a slight
premium over the standard silver Maple Leaf pricing, but the pricing
for the Wildlife coins is very much bullion related.
The final coin in the Wildlife series features Emily Damstra’s
design of a left-facing bison galloping in snow at the edge of a
forest. Specifications and metal purity references, as well as the
nation’s name, fill the rest of the reverse.
The obverse depicts the Susanna Blunt effigy of Queen Elizabeth
II, with denomination and year date.
The Canadian Wildlife coins are produced at the Ottawa Mint to the
same specifications as the Maple Leaf 1-ounce silver coins, weighing
31.1 grams and measuring 38 millimeters in diameter.
The RCM does not intend for the Wildlife series to compete with
sales of the traditional Maple Leaf program.
Previous coins in series
Previous coins in the program honor (in order of release) the
wolf, grizzly bear, cougar, moose and pronghorn antelope. The first
two coins are dated 2011, the second two, 2012, and the final two
coins in the series (including the Wood Bison design) are dated 2013.
RCM Senior Mint Engraver William Woodruff designed the first four
coins in the series, with Damstra designing the final two coins.
Damstra is an illustrator specializing in natural science artwork
whose clients include the Royal Canadian Mint.
The wood bison is a subspecies of the American bison, and like the
more widely known species, by the early 20th century was nearly hunted
to extinction. According to the RCM, Canada is the only country in the
world where wood bison live in the wild.
Two coins have been released each year, one coin unveiled annually
at the ANA World’s Fair of Money, usually conducted in August, and one
unveiled at the World Money Fair in Berlin, conducted in late January
or early February.
RCM officials would not answer questions about whether a different
series would take the place of the Canadian Wildlife series, which has
been almost a footnote to the overall silver Maple Leaf program the
past few years.
The Canadian Wildlife coins have retained strong premiums since
their release, with earlier releases generally worth more than later
coins in the program. ■