12 December 2012

Canada's unusual coins

First are the glow-in-the-dark quarters:
The mint's latest collectible coin features a dinosaur whose skeleton shines at night from beneath its scaly hide. 

It's actually two images on one face, which could be a world's first. The other side depicts Queen Elizabeth. Her Majesty does not glow in the dark...

The glowing novelty is a first for the mint, but sadly it won't be for general circulation. The dino's mintage is limited to 25,000, and collectors who want to count their dinosaurs at night will have to pony up to the tune of $29.95.
I saw that back in April, and then in September a reports of cryptics on Canadian coins -

- including Memphré (a reptilian monster that inhabits a lake in Quebec), Mishepishu, (a water panther of Lake Superior) and Sasquatch.

At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man, I'll express my dismay at this type of marketing, which should be done by Hasbro, not a national mint.  I fully understand these are not standard coinage for circulation.  But there once was a time when collectable coins actually commemorated events (state centennials, sesquicentennials, expositions, Olympiads - and they were minted from gold and silver.  This stuff is metallic junk (cupronickel) designed to raise money for government by touting "collectibility."  I could continue the rant to include the debasing and extreme proliferation of modern commemorative stamps (which are no longer collectible except to the most gullible).  Sigh...


  1. You're probably old enough to remember when coins were worth their face value in precious metal. Silver coins (dimes, quarters, halves and full dollars) would be worth their face value if silver were a dollar an ounce. As of today, a silver US quarter (about the same size as Canadian) would be worth about eight dollars. There's still no reason they couldn't make a commemorative $10 silver coin, if people didn't mind them not working in vending machines.

  2. "Her Majesty does not glow in the dark."

    You know, I'm actually kind of disappointed about that. I wish there were more glow-in-the-dark monarchs!

  3. I'm not a coin collector, but I do think it's quite neat that Canada was the first country to have coloured coins in general circulation. I think the first two were Remembrance poppies and breast cancer ribbons. They had some initial issues with fading that are now fixed and coloured coins do turn up in your change quite often - I've accidentally put a coloured quarter through the wash and there's no fading now!

  4. Do not get me started on our recent rash of weird coins. They even mess with the ones for general circulation and it's a pain in the butt.

    As a Canuck all I can say is that it makes change into a baffling experience. Quarters are the worst - apart from the coloured ones, there's a whole raft of odd designs in plain tin-coloured metal. Some are odd enough that you stop in mid-change to see what the heck you're trying to pay with. AND they do it with the dollar coins too. It's getting so we just sort by size and not what's on the actual coin.

    It's just as well you can't make much money forging small change. Otherwise you'd make a mint around here. (harr-de-har-har)

    1. i thought everyone went by size, and not the picture? i can feel the difference between a penny and a dime like the difference between a nickel and a loonie


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