World Coins

Canada’s Specimen set includes dollar for Blanding’s turtle

The 2021 annual Specimen set from the Royal Canadian Mint features a dollar exclusive to the set, this year depicting Blanding’s turtle, a species that is threatened.

Images courtesy of Royal Canadian Mint.

Canada is the only nation offering an annual set featuring coins in a Specimen Finish. The Royal Canadian Mint describes Specimen Finish as brilliant and frosted relief over a lined background.

All six coins in the 2021 annual Specimen set, including a specially designed dollar available only in the set, feature the Specimen Finish.

This year’s Specimen set continues the Endangered Species theme introduced in 2020.

Home to more than 600 types of plants and animals considered to be at risk, Canada has a responsibility to protect rapidly vanishing species, according to the Royal Canadian Mint.

Designed by Canadian artist Pierre Girard, the Specimen dollar features a Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) sunning itself on a log in its wetland habitat.

This long-lived (up to 80 years) species has suffered a dramatic population decline. And given its late maturation (14 to 25 years), even the smallest increase in adult mortality pushes it closer to extinction.

But in a bit of good news, nest protection and head-start programs, like the one established by the Toronto Zoo and its partners, are part of ongoing efforts to give this “smiling” turtle a more certain future in Canada.

The obverse of the turtle dollar features the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.

All other denominations in the set, from 5 cents to $2, feature the standard designs in the standard alloy and size.

The 2021 Specimen set is limited to 30,000 sets and retails for $59.95 Canadian.

To order the set, visit the Royal Canadian Mint website,

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