Canada’s new pocket change: Monday Morning Brief

Canada will celebrate a national milestone in 2017 with new circulating commemorative coin designs. Senior Editor Jeff Starck reveals the new designs from the Royal Canadian Mint and relates them to previous circulating coins for the Confederation anniversary.

Full video transcript:

Good morning! Welcome to the Monday Morning Brief. I’m Jeff Starck of Coin World.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The Royal Canadian Mint conducts a design contest for circulating coins that will celebrate an important milestone in the nation’s confederation.

The 2017 coin designs unveiled Nov. 2 to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary actually represent the third time that Canada will have called on its residents to create special designs for circulation in relation to a confederation anniversary. 

Canada 150th anniversary coinsRoyal Canadian Mint unveils 150th anniversary circulating coins: Members of the Canadian public cast more than 1 million votes online to select the five new designs, for the 5-cent to $2 coins.

The first time was in 1967 for the Centennial of confederation. That design contest resulted in Alex Colville’s sleek, simple but beautiful designs celebrating Canadian wildlife. These coins are an affordable starting point for someone wanting to dip their toes into the Canadian coin collecting waters, and their subtly beautiful designs offer a nice break from the standard designs. 

In 1992 the RCM was at it again, this time soliciting 12 designs for circulating quarters to mark the 125th anniversary of Canadian confederation. These classic coins honor each province and territory of Canada and provide the inspiration for the American State quarters program. Designs are simple yet elegant, clean and inviting, while shining light on some of the best natural attributes of Canadian life.

Similar quarter dollar programs in 1999 and 2000 marked the millennium but were not affiliated with a confederation milestone and certainly were not celebrated for their designs.

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So how do these new designs stack up when compared to earlier efforts? 

A simple stylized beaver graces the 5-cent coin, and the maple leaf makes a triumphant return to Canadian circulation coinage, this time on the dime. Multiple animal images fill the 25-cent coin, and the dollar coin is even busier, with eight different buildings, vessels or structures on the tiny 26.5-millimeter canvas. A northern lights scene on the $2 coin is a bit more balanced, and given the Royal Canadian Mint’s use of color on circulating commemoratives, one wonders whether the Mint will issue a colorful version as well.

The coins are due for release next spring and mintage limits and other details have not been announced. These coins will add to the legacy of circulating commemorative Canadian coins and give residents and visitors something to look for in their pocket change.

Now, I want to know what you think about these designs. 

Be sure to share with us: Find us on Twitter, Facebook, online at, and of course, in print in your mailbox.

For Coin World, I’m Jeff Starck. Happy Collecting!

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