The Royal Canadian Mint has released the second coin in tribute to their Winnipeg facility with a collector series entitled the “W Mintmark” series that celebrates Canada’s circulation coins, beginning with the $2 bi-metallic coin and continuing with the latest “loonie” dollar coin. First introduced in 1987, the story behind the development of Canada’s very popular $1 coin involved national debate, intrigue, and, ultimately, a new metonym for referring to Canadian money. It all began in 1986 when the Canadian government announced they would approve plans to introduce a new one-dollar circulation type coin which would ultimately replace the banknote of the same value. Replacing Canada’s one-dollar banknote with a coin was the subject of much debate, but a compelling argument outlining the cost savings of about $25 million annually won the day. The dollar banknote at the time could be expected to remain in circulation for a period of about 10 months before it needed to be replaced, whereas a coin of the same denomination could remain in circulation for 20 years or longer. Canada’s last dollar banknote was printed in 1989 and was part of the “Scenes of Canada” series in use from 1968 until it was replaced with the “Birds of Canada” series, introduced in 1986.
The loon design has stood the test of time due to its simplicity in depicting an icon of Canadian wildlife. However, it is believed the design might never have made it to Canadian coinage without the loss of master dies. The proposed dollar coin was to include the familiar “Voyageur” design created in 1935 by Emanuel Hahn. Meant as a commemorative coin to mark the Silver Jubilee of King George V, the design was eventually adopted for silver dollar coins minted from 1936 onwards, transitioning onto nickel strikes after 1968. Canada’s federal government authorised the loon design for the country’s new one-dollar circulation coin only after the original master dies were lost in transit to the Winnipeg mint from Ottawa in November 1986. As a consequence of the loss of the dies and to lessen the risk of counterfeit coins, a design submitted by Robert-Ralph Carmichael (1937–2016) back in 1978 depicting a loon swimming in a lake, with coniferous trees visible on the point of land on the horizon, was re-considered and adopted. The first golden-coloured, 11-sided coins were minted in 1987 at the Royal Canadian Mint’s Winnipeg facility. With the exception of commemorative designs, the “loonie,” as it is affectionately known, has remained in circulation ever since.
The “W Mintmark” series is especially rare as the Winnipeg Mint typically focuses its efforts on circulation coins rather than numismatic or collector coins. It is the W mintmark that adds additional appeal to the series overall. The reverse design created by Robert Carmichael is faithfully reproduced on this pure silver coin with a tailored specimen finish and as a special tribute to the most famous Canadian circulation coin. The featured W mintmark denotes the very facility that has produced every circulation quality loonie since the first ones rolled off its presses in 1987. Above the primary design is the text CANADA along the edge, and below, the year 2023 and the denomination of DOLLAR. The obverse features the memorial effigy of the late Queen Elizabeth II (1926–2022) by Susanna Blunt, which also bears a special marking beneath the portrait that includes four pearls symbolising the four effigies that have graced Canadian coins and the double date of her reign, 1952 and 2022.
|31.3 g||38 mm||Specimen||
Each coin is encapsulated and presented in a branded Royal Canadian Mint custom case accompanied by a numbered certificate of authenticity. For additional information, please click here.