World Coins

Canada’s annual silver dollar honors 100 years of RCAF

Canada’s annual silver $1 coin and a Proof $100 gold coin mark the centennial of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

All images courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint.

Canada’s annual Proof .9999 fine silver $1 coin is the Royal Canadian Mint’s flagship collector coin, and in 2024 the release honors the centennial of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The Proof silver $1 coin is available in plain and gold-plated versions. A Proof gold $100 coin with a different design has also been issued to mark the centennial.

The coins are on sale as of Jan. 9, but are not due for delivery until early March.

RCAF history

Since its creation in 1924, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) has evolved into a storied national institution, one that has played a pivotal role in Canada’s history.

Building on the foundations laid by Canadian pilots in the World War I, the fledgling RCAF first distinguished itself through its civil air operations, pioneering the use of aircraft in fighting forest fires and contributing to the mapping of Canada. When Canada’s air force stepped onto the world’s stage during World War II, the RCAF quickly made a name for itself at home and abroad, propelled forward by the war and by the peacetime contributions of its members.

Design details

All of the coins referenced here feature on the obverse the King Charles III effigy by Canadian artist Steven Rosati.

The coin’s reverse design is the product of a collaboration between the RCM, the RCAF, and artist Jason Bouwman, who also designed the 2009 Anniversary of Flight in Canada Proof silver $1 coin.

In the design, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s history and its aviation fleet are represented by four aircraft, from left to right: the De Havilland DH-82C Tiger Moth, symbolizing the RCAF’s early years; the McDonnell Douglas CF-188 Hornet, representing its fighter fleet; the Lockheed CC-130 Hercules, representing its fixed-wing aircraft fleet; and the Boeing Vertol CH-147 Chinook, representing its helicopter fleet.

Three of the aircraft leave contrails behind that blend with the RCAF tartan. All four aircraft are connected to the RCAF roundel (symbolic circle), with the skyborne maple leaf at center representing Canada’s Air Force.

The RCAF’s future and its space division are represented by the planets and orbit rings, with the two outermost rings running across the maple leaf through the centennial years 1924 and 2024 representing all that has been achieved between these dates. The stars honor the RCAF’s current inspirational motto, Sic Itur ad Astra (“Such is the pathway to the stars”).

At the bottom is a flaming parrot tulip, representing “Rescue,” one of four tulip bulb types specially selected to commemorate the RCAF’s centennial in gardens across Canada and at the Canadian Tulip Festival in 2024.

Specifications, versions

The Proof silver $1 weighs 23.17 grams and measures 36.07 millimeters in diameter.

It has a mintage limit of 35,000 pieces and retails for $69.95 Canadian (all prices are in Canadian funds).

A gold-plated Proof version is available in the annual silver Proof set.

Instead of traditional yellow gold, rose gold plating is used for the 2024 Proof RCAF $1 coin on the maple leaf, and both obverse and reverse rims.

In addition to the Proof silver $1 coin, the silver Proof set contains .9999 fine silver versions of all circulating coin denominations, from 5-cents to $2. Gold plating is used on the $1 and $2 coins so the coins resemble their circulation counterparts.

The set has a mintage of 25,000 sets, and retails for $234.95.

Gold $100 coin

The RCM also issued a Proof gold $100 coin to celebrate the centennial of the RCAF.

This coin’s reverse, by Neil Hamelin, features the RCAF roundel in the background, with a maple leaf at its center.

Representing the RCAF’s early years is a De Havilland DH-82C Tiger Moth flying toward the viewer. Adopted by the RCAF in 1938, it was the last of the Moth trainers the RCAF and civil aviation used in Canada.

The aforementioned motto SIC ITUR AD ASTRA also appears.

The coin weighs 7.8 grams and measures 20 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage limit of 1,500 pieces and retails for $1,099.95.

To order any of the coins, visit the RCM’s website, www.mint.ca.

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