Maple leaves sticking their tongues out, a flying cupcake and
wedding rings with personality are just some of the whimsical designs
on a new series of Canadian 25-cent coins.
Toronto-based contemporary pop artists Gary Taxali and Matt Barnes
collaborated with the Royal Canadian Mint, which is issuing five gift
sets featuring their work; Taxali’s designs appear on the reverse of
the 25-cent Baby, Birthday, Oh Canada, Tooth Fairy and Wedding coins,
which are packaged in gift sets featuring Barnes’ photography.
Taxali is “known for a retro style combining pop and classical art
with 1930s-inspired iconography” according to the RCM. His previous
clients include the New York Times and Levi’s, among many
others. Barnes, “whose work is firmly rooted in the world of pop
culture,” according to the RCM, counts among his past clients Audi and
Trump International Towers in Dubai, UAE.
The Baby, Birthday, Oh Canada, Wedding coins are the centerpiece
of each set, which offers Uncirculated examples of each Canadian
circulating coin, with the special 25-cent coins replacing the
standard Caribou design. The Tooth Fairy coin is sold by itself in a
Dave Tupper, an associate art director at Young and Rubicam in
Toronto, worked with Taxali on the project, according to an essay
Taxali posted at Drawger.com, a
website community for illustrators. A sixth Taxali coin design, for a
holiday theme, will be released in the fall, according to that post.
Macleans.ca reported that the Holiday design shows laughing,
mischievous ornaments dangling from a tree.
Taxali, who was born in India, said that his surname means
“superintendent of the mint” in modern Hindi and was bestowed to an
ancestor some 300 years ago when he created a coin that was tough to counterfeit.
All of Taxali’s designs appear with a circle on the reverse,
surrounded by stylized inscriptions of 25 cents, 2012 and CANADA in
the Chumply font created by Taxali (and used for his GT initials
appearing within the circle). This was the first time the RCM allowed
an artist to change the typography on coins, according to artdaily.org.
A mobile with a car, plane, rabbit, clown, duck, moon and star
appears on the Baby coin, while a soaring anthropomorphic cupcake,
carried by three balloons, graces the Birthday coin. Six maple leaves,
all wearing facial features (including one sticking its tongue out)
are on the reverse of the Oh Canada coin, while two interlocked and
specifically gender-neutral wedding rings are on the Wedding coin.
Taxali told The (Toronto) Star that the rings, which
appear anthropomorphized, are specifically nonspecific to represent
gender neutrality, and the RCM “really liked that idea because it
represents the spirit of our nation. ... I think this is probably the
first piece of currency in the world, paid [for] by a federal
government that is pro-wedding regardless of gender and that makes me
A fairy with an impish grin waves a tooth-topped wand on the Tooth
The Susanna Blunt effigy of Queen Elizabeth II appears on the
obverse of the coins, which are struck in three-ply nickel-plated
steel to the same specifications as the circulating version (23.88
millimeters, 4.4 grams).
The sets are packaged in folders with the Taxali-designed coins in
a die-cut window in the cover, the same manner used to display the
solo Tooth Fairy coin.
Each set is priced at $19.95, and the Tooth Fair card costs $9.95.
Mintage is “produced to demand,” according to the RCM.
Prices are listed in Canadian funds.
United States distributors for the RCM carry the various coins 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 its website at www.talismancoins.com,
telephone the business at 888-552-2646 or fax the company at