Where money is made
July 23, 2016 8:03 PM   Subscribe

"Why did the Royal Canadian Mint make the world's purest and largest gold bullion coin? Because we can." The Royal Canadian Mint makes all of Canada's money. They offer tours that are FULL of fascinating facts. Now, for the first time ever, see these facts at your local Metafilter website!

Locations
:: The collector coins, such as these Silver Superhero coins and these $20 Star Trek coins, are made at the Ottawa facility. You can visit it.
:: Our circulating coins are made at the Winnipeg facility - the geographic center of Canada. As of 2013 pennies are no longer manufactured (previously) but are still accepted as legal currency across Canada. You can visit it. This location can produce billions of coins a year and has actually manufactured coins for more than 80 other countries.
:: The Polymer bank notes are made at a SECRET location in Ottawa!

Faces of the monarch
:: Canada is a member of the commonwealth and we have the British Monarch on our coins. Each time the leader is changed the direction that the monarch is facing is changed as well.
:: You may notice that the direction is not changed between George V and George VI (they are both facing left). That is because after George V died his son Edward VIII was not in power long enough to have his image printed on coins. Edward VIII abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson when he learned that a divorced woman would not be accepted as queen. When more coins were needed, the Mint printed pennies with the image of the deceased George V and added a small dot to the coin to symbolize the significance of printing a coin that did not include the image of the current monarch. A penny with this dot recently sold for more than $250 000 at an American auction.
:: Queen Elisabeth II has been on our coin for more than 60 years and is the only monarch to update their image on our coin. The tour guide claimed that the Queen removed her crown in 2003 to both show respect for her father George VI and to show respect for Canada's independence. Apparently, we are the only commonwealth country for which she removed her crown. Our tour guide also explained that the queen wore a laurel wreath for her first portrait to reflect her youth and inexperience as a monarch.

The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic medals
:: The Canadian Mint in Ottawa produced the medals for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.
:: The medals, which are among the largest and heaviest ever made for the Olympics, each feature a unique image. When the medals are combined flat, like a puzzle, they form one large image. Good summary here.
:: Aboriginal artist Corrine Hunt (sound on her website) designed the artwork. The Olympic medals combine to make an Orca Whale, and the Paralympic medals combine to form a Raven. Listen to a CBC radio interview with Corrine Hunt here.
:: Omer Arbel , an industrial designer, created the wavy look of the medals, creating the first Olympic medals that are not flat. Their wavy surface reflects Canada's ocean waves, snow and mountains.

And finally... The million dollar coin
:: In 2007 the Mint produced the world's first million dollar coin to celebrate reaching 99.999% purity in its gold production.
:: It weighs 100 kg and only 5 have been sold.
:: Our tour guide claimed that 1 coin went straight into Canada's vaults, another was bought by a Canadian that loans it to museums, 2 were bought by anonymous buyers and the 5th was sold to a man in Dubai that uses it as a coffee table.

"Why did the Royal Canadian Mint make the world's purest and largest gold bullion coin? Because we can." Bad ass!
posted by eisforcool (36 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
(Technically, the Mint makes coins and the Bank of Canada prints bills, so the mint doesn't really make all of Canada's money.)
posted by ssg at 8:34 PM on July 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah - spotted that typo after I posted. Thanks for clearing it up! I meant to write coins.
Also, there's another typo about Wallis Simpson - she wouldn't be accepted as a queen consort, not as a queen.
Sorry all!
posted by eisforcool at 8:41 PM on July 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Nice post eisforcool! Thanks!
posted by Floydd at 8:44 PM on July 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


the 5th was sold to a man in Dubai that uses it as a coffee table.

It's not a very large coffee table, really. And gold that pure is super soft. Like, if you have a really strong fingernail you can put a dent in it. Maybe he has a layer of glass on top of it or something.
posted by hippybear at 8:46 PM on July 23, 2016


1947 coins with a maple leaf next to the date were minted in 1948 because new dies that did not refer to George VI as the emperor of India were not ready. And some 1947 quarters have a dot next to the date, just like the 1936 dot coins. But the dot on those 1947 quarters was actually due to a manufacturing error!
posted by clorox at 9:10 PM on July 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


They've done some serious Pop Culture coinage... Disney Princesses, DC Superheroes, Star Trek crew, Star Wars: Force Awakens, Looney Tunes... does the Royal Canadian Mint have a booth at San Diego Comic-Con? Or at least a few of the many Canadian Cons? (And if they're updating the Queen Elizabeth portrait, how about Liz as Snow White or Wonder Woman?)
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:24 PM on July 23, 2016


And the Canadian "nickel" has changed metal content about twelve million times since it was given to its current dimensions in 1922. Some years it's been essentially pure nickel*, some years it's been brass, some years it's been plated steel.

*Which is more than the nearly-identically sized US nickel has ever been, toppin out at 25% nickel, 75% copper. And yes, the Canadian 5 cent coin has also been made of that same alloy.
posted by clorox at 9:35 PM on July 23, 2016 [1 favorite]




The 100kg coin has a face value of $1M CAD, but I think it's worth mentioning it's more valuable than that. 100kg of gold is worth $5.6M CAD, or $4.2M USD. Gold coins typically have a low face value because they are not intended for use as legal tender.
posted by foobaz at 11:08 PM on July 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


The same thing has happened with pretty much all silver coins minted since the early 1970's. The only coins still in circulation that contain silver worth less than face value are the Mexican 20, 50, and 100 pesos, but from what I have read they are not commonly used.

(Technically the silver coins of some countries, including Canada, USA, and Switzerland, are still valid, but the silver content has outweighed the face value for 40+ years. Rumor has it that the Winnipeg Mint acts as a sort of central coin depository for Canada, and any silver coins that are deposited to it are culled and melted down.)
posted by clorox at 11:35 PM on July 23, 2016


I'm willing to bet that at least one of those super-coins ended up in a display case in a casino in Las Vegas. (One of those casinos has a display case right now that contains a million dollars in $20 bills.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:48 PM on July 23, 2016


A few weeks ago I was strolling through the deserted numismatics collection of a Berlin museum and I encountered one of these 100 kg coins.
Making such a thing seemed rather pointless. But then I'm not Canadian.
posted by jouke at 12:44 AM on July 24, 2016


MetaFilter: Making such a thing seemed rather pointless. But then I'm not Canadian.
posted by hippybear at 12:50 AM on July 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


"HRH Elizabeth II", please.
posted by pompomtom at 12:56 AM on July 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


"HRH Elizabeth II", please.

Absolutely should be a z.

I obviously need to review more during my next go at this.
posted by eisforcool at 5:25 AM on July 24, 2016


I toured the mint in Winnipeg last year. It's pretty cool. Even though the mint doesn't print the bills, I learned a cool thing about the bills there: they are scratch and sniff. The maple leaf smells like maple syrup. No one (in the US) believes me when I tell them this; they think I am trying to make them sniff the money to make them look stupid.
posted by tippy at 5:50 AM on July 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


100 kg is 220 pounds, for any other Americans who suddenly had a vision of themselves carrying off a really badass heist
posted by Greg Nog at 5:52 AM on July 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Since 2012 the Perth Mint (in Australia) has held the record for the world's largest gold coin - the Australian Kangaroo 1 tonne gold coin. It's pretty impressive as well!
posted by KirkpatrickMac at 6:13 AM on July 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


To be exact, it should be HM (Her Majesty) Queen Elizabeth II. She ain't no lowly HRH.
posted by elkerette at 6:17 AM on July 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Maybe those Pacific islands where the currency is a four-ton immobile stone were just way ahead of their time.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:29 AM on July 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have one of the $20 silver Star Trek coins. It is, in all regards, neat.
posted by davelog at 9:32 AM on July 24, 2016


What does that come out to in Ningis?
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 9:45 AM on July 24, 2016


Imma need a couple of properly sized galleons from these people, please
posted by Hermione Granger at 10:19 AM on July 24, 2016


It's great until you put it in a vending machine and have to take all the change.
posted by lagomorphius at 10:48 AM on July 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Imagine the satisfying THUNK it would make in the machinery of the vending machine when you dropped it in, though...
posted by hippybear at 10:59 AM on July 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Just don't drop it on your toe.
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:33 AM on July 24, 2016


Reinforced toe work boots are your friends. :)

And required by OSHA when carrying a 100kg gold coin, I believe.
posted by hippybear at 11:51 AM on July 24, 2016


Does the Royal Canadian Mint have a booth at San Diego Comic-Con? Or at least a few of the many Canadian Cons?

I have a tenuous connection to people who work in marketing at the mint & have made that suggestion.
posted by quaking fajita at 12:54 PM on July 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know how much these went for? I really hope they turned a profit on them, rather then wasting my taxpayer money on something only five rich people can enjoy...
posted by Canageek at 5:38 PM on July 24, 2016


I don't know how official our tour guide's numbers were but she said they sold for 2.5 million and are now worth more than double that. The crowd ooooohed pretty strongly!
posted by eisforcool at 8:57 PM on July 24, 2016


Does the Royal Canadian Mint have a booth at San Diego Comic-Con? Or at least a few of the many Canadian Cons?

Canada Post was at Fan Expo Canada a few years ago when they released a batch of Superman stamps, and they're also a retailer of Canadian Mint products. They're a Fan Expo sponsor again this year.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:32 AM on July 25, 2016


clorox: The same thing has happened with pretty much all silver coins minted since the early 1970's. The only coins still in circulation that contain silver worth less than face value are the Mexican 20, 50, and 100 pesos, but from what I have read they are not commonly used.
Mexican here. These are rare enough to suffer the same fate of the legendary 2 USD bill at Taco Bell: some people believe they are fake and outright refuse to take them. However, not all $20 coins have silver in them: several commemorative coins have [75% copper 25% nickel] in their center.

The $50 coins were introduced when we adopted the "nuevo Peso" (see slide 21) and I recall them having silver centers. However, I'm sure no more have been coined since the 90's, as the Bank of Mexico estimates some 2,000 of them in circulation and slowly being retired.

The 100 MXN coins are almost always minted as collectible coins and do have silver centers. The latest series reflect historical coins of Mexico, including one that was markedly anti-government at the time. Oh, the irony of history.
posted by andycyca at 10:19 AM on July 25, 2016


The Bank of Canada Currency Museum (currently closed for renovations, but a nice place to kill a couple of hours) has (had?) a Rai Stone in the lobby, revealing maybe a long-standing and deep-seated national urge for gigantic coins.
posted by cardboard at 12:10 PM on July 25, 2016


The Canadian Mint is pretty funky, they make me look at their cool odd quarters when I'm in the laundromat. It's nice stuff.
posted by ovvl at 5:14 PM on July 25, 2016


> "Gold (Au) which is 99.999% pure is defined as having a total of less than 10 parts per million of the following elements: ..."

This strikes me as a rather strange disclaimer. Is the gold less than 99.999% pure by the usual meaning of the term? i.e. does it contain other impurities not in that list of elements?
posted by richb at 4:01 PM on July 26, 2016


I think it is the opposite. IE: there are only 10 ppm or less of non gold atoms in this gold and those atoms are exclusively from this short list.
posted by Mitheral at 7:46 PM on July 26, 2016


« Older "Hidden literary gems"   |   “I (had) to see it from both sides.” Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments