World Coins

Canada bison silver coin based on wildlife photographer’s image

The designer of one of the Royal Canadian Mint’s popular 2014 Proof silver $20 Bison coins is credited by the RCM as Doug Comeau, but the image on the coin came from photographer Robert Berdan, according to a recent news report from a local newspaper in Canada.

The story was reported by, the community website of Metroland North Media, a division of Metroland Media Group.

Berdan is a renowned wildlife photographer, and it was his image of a wood bison next to a highway north of Fort Providence, N.W.T., that drew the attention of Comeau, who was sketching designs for the RCM.

The wood bison (Bison bison athabascae, the largest land mammal in North America) is larger than the plains bison (Bison bison bison) that is common in the United States, and has a square hump.

The design, showing the animal facing the viewer head-on, was chosen for the first Proof .9999 fine silver $20 coin in the Bison series. Dubbed “The Bison: A Portrait,” the coin was released Feb. 4, and subsequent $20 coins with various designs were issued through August.

All of the coins in the program, as well as many other bison coins, were the subject of the World Coins section's cover story in Coin World’'s August Monthly edition. 

Read those earlier stories:

The coin had an issue price of $99.95 Canadian and is sold out through the Royal Canadian Mint, but distributors like Gatewest Coins and Talisman Coins still offer it for less than issue price.

Berdan operates the Canadian Nature Photographer website, and also offers guided photography tours and builds websites, among other endeavors.

This is his first coin, he told the newspaper.

“It is nice to get one of my photos on a coin,” he said. “I would like to get some of my photos on a Canadian stamp, but it’s mostly nice to see (my) images in print and that others like them.” 

He has not been enlisted for any other coin projects, Barden told Coin World.

To learn more about Berdan’s photography, visit his Flickr gallery or his website-building business

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