Introducing the Bigger Picture Six-Coin Set From the Royal Canadian Mint
Starting in 2015, the Royal Canadian Mint produced and sold a “Big Coin” set. It featured all the designs found on the six denominations of Canadian coinage, but the diameter had been increased to 65 millimetres. The silver coins each weighed five ounces. This allowed collectors to get a better look at the designs that grace the reverse of Canadian coins. Further sets followed each year through 2019.
The Big Coin set proved to be remarkably popular, and in 2022, the Royal Canadian Mint is following up its previous success with the Bigger Picture six-coin set. Like its predecessor, the bigger picture features six silver coins, each with a diameter of 65 mm and a weight of five ounces. Each features the image on the back of that denomination of Canadian coins, but instead of blowing the image up, the image is set against another picture that provides additional context to the more familiar image.
The Beaver on the Back of the Five-Cent Piece
The beaver has a vital role to play in the Canadian ecosystem. By building dams across rivers and streams, it creates wetlands that become habitats for other wildlife. The beaver is also a significant part of Canadian history, with the fur trade having been such an important part of the economy even prior to Confederation. Since 1937, a single beaver has appeared on the back of the Canadian nickel.
However, beavers aren’t really solitary creatures at all. They live together in groups of about ten in semiaquatic lodges that could only be built with the cooperation of multiple family members. Designed by Pierre Leduc, the extended background image on the coin shows two members of a beaver family working on one of their constructions together.
The Bluenose on the Back of the Dime
The Bluenose schooner gained fame when it garnered the International Fisherman’s Trophy in 1921. It was its first racing season and it remained undefeated for the rest of the season. The Bluenose had so captured the public imagination that in 1936, 15 years after its triumphant racing debut, it was suggested as a design for a new series of Canadian circulation coins.
Nevertheless, before the Bluenose became a racing champion, it was a humble fishing vessel on which real work was done. The extended background image depicts a North Atlantic fisherman of the type that may have been employed on the Bluenose. The design was created by Yves Bérubé.
The Caribou on the Back of the Quarter
Known as reindeer when domesticated, caribou are found throughout Canada. There are four different species of caribou, each with its own habits and habitat. At least one species of caribou is a keystone species, meaning that the survival of the entire ecosystem is dependent upon it. Traditionally, caribou are of great cultural significance to Indigenous Canadian peoples.
Wide hooves and hollow hair for buoyancy make caribou excellent swimmers. The extended background image shows a herd swimming.
The Canadian Coat of Arms on the 50-Cent Piece
Fifty-cent coins are rarely seen in Canada because they are no longer sold to banks. When you do see one, you notice it has a stylized version of the Canadian coat of arms on the back. The Bigger Picture version features the coats of arms of each of the 10 provinces and three territories surrounding the national coat of arms in the centre.
The Loon on the Back of the One-Dollar Coin
The haunting cry of the loon is a common sound in Canadian wetlands. Loons nest alongside large ponds and freshwater lakes. Mating pairs typically lay a clutch of two eggs, and males and females share responsibility for incubating them and feeding them for approximately six weeks after they hatch. The extended background image of this coin shows a loon with its chicks.
The Polar Bear on the Back of the Two-Dollar Coin
The polar bear is an iconic predator of Canada’s arctic regions. The extended background image depicts a polar bear getting ready to catch a seal that has come out of the water to breathe. In the background, a pair of sun dogs is apparent. Polar bears are threatened by a loss of polar ice due to climate change, and the design shows the polar bear’s ice floe to be relatively small.
The first three coins in the set have been released in June 2022, with the others in the set to follow later this year. Shop for all six Bigger Picture coins at Colonial Acres.