Canada’s annual commemorative silver dollar is returning to a
higher silver fineness.
Canada’s annual silver dollar for 2012, which was released Jan.
23, is composed of .9999 fine silver. The fineness of the silver in
the silver dollar has been changed over the years, both rising and
falling in the level of fineness. Traditionally, silver dollars have
been of .500, .925 and .999 fineness, with the coins issued since 2007
composed of .925 fine silver.
Despite the higher fineness of the 2012 coin, its actual silver
content is slightly less than the silver content of older, lower
The coin is available both individually and as part of two Proof
sets. New for 2012 is the first release, in what is to be an annual
offering, of a silver Proof set featuring every coin struck in .9999
The RCM’s initial release of 2012 also includes its annual
Brilliant Uncirculated and Specimen sets.
The 2012 annual silver $1, struck in Brilliant Uncirculated, Proof
and gold-plated Proof versions, celebrates the bicentennial of the War
of 1812, when the British Empire clashed with the United States of
America, drawing in Native Americans as well.
The conflict “united English, French and First Nations forces in
defending the borders and values of a future Canada and also ushered
[in] two centuries of peace between Canada and the United States,”
according to the RCM.
War of 1812 design
The same design is used for each of three different versions.
The reverse, designed by military artist Ardell Bourgeois of
British Columbia, features a British sergeant, a Voltigeur Canadien
(light infantry unit) and an Iroquois warrior united in the defense of
their border against an approaching invader (U.S. forces). Behind them
is a map showing part of the Great Lakes and southwestern Ontario,
“where U.S. forces sparked the conflict by invading the territory of
the future city of Windsor, Ontario on July 12, 1812,” according to
Encircling this design are 200 beads near the rim of the coin to
symbolize the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812.
The obverse features the Susanna Blunt-designed effigy of Queen
Elizabeth II, which appears on all of the new coins in this release.
The fineness of the annual silver dollars was not the only
specification changed. The annual silver dollars, when struck from
.925 fine silver previously, weighed 25.175 grams for an actual silver
weight of 23.29 grams. The weight of the 2012 coin is 23.17 grams,
meaning the coin contains slightly less actual silver than the past issues.
All of the coins measure 36.07 millimeters in diameter, the same
as previous issues.
The BU version is limited to a mintage of 25,000 pieces and is
available only individually, while the Proof example is limited to a
mintage of 80,000 pieces, 40,000 to be offered in individual sales and
40,000 in the 2012 standard Proof set. The BU coin costs $54.95, while
the Proof version is $59.95.
Two Proof sets
The RCM is offering two 2012 Proof sets, each with a different
version of the commemorative silver dollar, and having the other coins
made of different compositions.
One of the 2012 Proof sets will offer the other 40,000 standard
Proof issues and will also feature Proof base metal examples of the
eight circulating denominations of Canadian coins: the 1-cent, 5-cent,
10-cent, 25-cent, 50-cent, $1 and $2 coins.
The commemorative silver dollar in this set differs from previous
dollars in Proof sets offered in recent years in that it does not
feature any selective gold plating.
This 2012 Silver Proof set becomes available in April and carries
a retail price of $99.95.
What the RCM website bills as a Fine Silver Proof set is an
addition to the RCM’s line of products for 2012.
This year, for the first time, all eight denominations in the
additional Silver Proof set are composed of .9999 fine silver (only
some of the coins were previously struck in silver, and that was to a
The annual commemorative silver dollar in the Fine Silver Proof
set has gold plating on the edge, on the rims of both obverse and
reverse, and on the three warrior figures depicted on the reverse. In
addition, the silver cent and $1 and $2 coins feature gold plating
(selective on two pieces) to mimic the look of circulating versions.
What RCM officials term as “pink gold” is used for the cent, with the
maple leaves on the reverse selectively plated in pink gold (generally
described as an alloy of gold and copper) to emulate the appearance of
a newly minted copper-based coin. According to the RCM, this is the
first time a pure silver version of the 1-cent coin has been offered
in a Proof version.
A standard $2 coin is a ringed bimetallic piece, so gold plating
is applied to the .9999 fine silver $2 coin in the Fine Silver Proof
set on what would be the core section of a standard $2 coin. The
entirety of the silver Loon dollar (bearing the standard design) has
been plated with gold.
A maximum of 20,000 Fine Silver Proof sets are being issued, each
set offered for $224.95. The mintage limit reflects a drop from an
edition of 45,000 for the similar set in 2011 (one containing the 2011
commemorative silver dollar and Proof examples of the circulating
coins, some composed of .925 fine silver).
An annual Uncirculated set, featuring examples of all eight
circulating denominations in Uncirculated condition, has also been released.
The mintage limit for the 2012 Uncirculated set was raised to
75,000 for 2012, after being limited to 55,000 in recent years. The
Uncirculated sets are priced at $23.95 each.
2012 Specimen set
The annual Specimen set features eight coins: Specimen-finish
examples of seven circulating coins and also a special Specimen Loon
dollar available only in the annual set. The design for the 2012
Specimen dollar honors the 25th anniversary of the Loon dollar, which
entered circulation in 1987.
A common loon swims on the reverse of the 2012 coin with two young
chicks, one just behind the mother and another on her back (see design
at top of page), in a design by Ontario artist Arnold Nogy. The dual
dates of 1987 and 2012 also appear on the reverse.
The mintage limit for the 2012 Specimen set is 35,000 sets (the
same as recent years). The sets sell for $49.95.
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 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