Rio-bound Canadian athletes receive a bit of luck in continuation of tradition

Royal Canadian Mint distributes, sells Lucky Loonie coins for Rio Summer Games
By , Coin World
Published : 07/08/16
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The legend of Canada’s “Lucky Loonie” will live on for another Olympic Games.

Though the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro will take place far away from the ice where Canada’s 2002 victory in the Winter Games in Salt Lake City helped create the legend, the Royal Canadian Mint will again celebrate the Games with a circulating commemorative dollar coin.

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The 2016 Lucky Loonie was unveiled July 1 (Canada Day) at the Canadian Olympic Team Beach Party in Toronto on Woodbine Beach. The 2016 coin pays tribute to all Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes competing in the Rio 2016 Summer Games.

The Luckie Loonie tradition, explained

The tradition began more than 14 years ago. In what is now a legendary tale, a Loon dollar was buried at center ice prior to the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City to bring good luck to Canada’s gold medal-winning men’s and women’s ice hockey teams. Following the teams’ success, the RCM has produced a Lucky Loonie circulation coin for each Olympic Games since 2004. 

Each member of the Canadian team will receive a 2016 Lucky Loonie upon arrival in Rio.

The reverse of the 2016 circulation coin shows the image of a common loon on the water, poised for take-off with its arched body and outstretched wings. The addition of a stylized maple leaf in the background symbolizes Canadian pride. 

Designed by Ontario artist Derek Wicks, the reverse of the coin also features the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Team logos. 

The obverse carries the Susanna Blunt effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. 

And these coins are in general circulation in Canada?

Yes. Five million 2016 Lucky Loonies were released into circulation.

All of the coins are exclusive to Canada because of licensing agreements and issues with the Olympics. Collectors in other countries will not be able to buy the coins directly from the Royal Canadian Mint.

Canadians are able to purchase one five-coin pack of the coins at face value, plus shipping and handling, through the RCM website.

In addition, the RCM offers a limited number of 25-count rolls in special wrapping. In total, 52,000 rolls are available for $49.95 Canadian. 

A colorized Proof .9999 fine silver version (weighing 7.9 grams and measuring 26.5 millimeters in diameter, the same specifications as a circulating version) is also available.  The silver version features the Olympic and Paralympic logos in full color. It has a mintage limit of 15,000 pieces and retails for $39.95 Canadian. 

Another related coin is the Proof Celebrating Canadian Athletes .9999 fine silver dollar, which features a montage of Olympic and Paralympic Team athletes in action, in a design by Three Degrees Creative Group.

The Celebrating Canadian Athletes coin weighs 23.17 grams and measures 36.07 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage limit of 10,000 pieces and retails for $79.95 Canadian. 

To learn more about all of these coins, visit a dedicated page at the RCM’s website.  

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