World Coins

RCM produces a 2017 kilo gold mule

An uncertain number of the 10 Proof 2017 In the Eyes of the Timber Wolf gold kilo $2,500 coins sold by the Royal Canadian Mint were mistakenly produced with the obverse die of the Proof silver $250 version, creating a mule error.

Both obverses feature the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II but feature different denominations. The coins were struck at the RCM facility in Ottawa.

The mule errors were confirmed Aug. 2 at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Denver by Alex Reeves, RCM senior manager of communications.


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RCM officials are attributing the mule to “human error,” Reeves said.

A mule is a coin, medal or token struck with obverse and reverse dies not intended to be paired together.

Reeves said the RCM estimates that four of the mule versions of the .9999 fine gold kilo coins are being privately held and a fifth is in the RCM’s inventory.

According to Reeves, the RCM had already shipped nine of the purchased coins and was preparing to ship the 10th coin sold to a customer when staff noticed that the piece had the wrong obverse, with the $250 denomination.

A new piece was struck with the correct $2,500 denomination and delivered to the customer. The mule was retained by the RCM.

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Of the mules that were shipped to customers, one has already been certified and sold as an error.

Error coin dealer Fred Weinberg, from Fred Weinberg & Co. in Encino, California, purchased one of the mules at the ANA show Aug. 1. Weinberg said he purchased the kilo gold coin from another dealer who bought three kilo gold coins directly from the RCM, one each for three separate customers. One of that unidentified dealer’s customers, after receiving the coin, contacted the dealer to inform him that the piece had the wrong obverse. The customer returned the coin to the dealer with instructions to have the coin certified and then to sell it on the customer’s behalf. Weinberg purchased this piece.

The coin Weinberg bought has been graded Proof 70 Ultra Cameo by Numismatic Guaranty Corp.

The dealer’s other two gold kilo coin customers reported their coins bear the correct $2,500-denominated obverse, Weinberg said.

Reeves said production for the gold kilo coins was conducted over three separate days in January. Reeves said that the RCM had identified in which production cycle the known mules were struck, and said that there is a possibility that as many as three more mules were struck.

In all, an undisclosed number of coins were struck until the quality met the standards for release; the released mintage was capped at 10 coins. 

Reeves said quality control measures have been tightened since the RCM was notified of the error, to ensure a similar mule error isn’t produced and subsequently released. The gold kilo mule error that is in the RCM’s inventory was to be melted and the precious metal reclaimed for use in the production of other Canadian coins, according to Reeves.

The gold coins went on sale in February at $69,000 Canadian. The .9999 fine silver kilo version, of which a maximum mintage of 400 was set, went on sale at the same time for $2,299.95 Canadian each.

In a design by artist Pierre Leduc, the timber wolf’s eyes on the gold version and the mule are enameled emerald green. On the silver coin, the eyes are enameled yellowish gold.


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