Commemorative Canadian Coins: How Are They Made?
The Royal Canadian Mint is renowned worldwide as a reputable producer of quality engravings and technical coin designs. The process by which these Canadian coins are minted is also one-of-a-kind. From considering ideas collectors will want to invest in and hiring expert designers to paying special attention to detail during the minting process, the mint produces truly long-lasting and unique coins.
Generating Ideas for the Coin
The process often begins with determining what story or theme the coin represents. Some of the popular themes among collectors have focused on commemorating anniversaries of national historical events.
The 2021 Wreath of Remembrance is a good example of this. It features red poppies and engraved forget-me-nots as a way to honour all those who have served in Canada’s armed forces. Red poppies tell a story of poignant sacrifice, while forget-me-nots send the message that those who served are always remembered.
The process of selecting which stories to tell often starts more than two years before the coin is released, to ensure time enough for community consultations, historical research, and interviews with stakeholders.
Collaborations Between Artists and the Royal Canadian Mint
After generating ideas, the collaboration process begins. Here is a series of ways that the Royal Canadian Mint collaborates with artists:
- Work internally with product managers and design team coordinators to identify artists whose portfolios match the type of coin desired.
- Commission a single artist or open up a competition through which many artists may submit samples.
- Consult with outside experts to ensure that the art meets technical specifications and is likely to be approved by the Government of Canada.
- Create a short list of appealing designs and distribute online surveys to citizens over the age of 18.
- Recommend popular designs for approval by the Government of Canada.
Artists are always attributed by name and compensated for their creations.
Minting the Coin Itself
This process consists of forging steel dies and punch-pressing thousands of blank planchets before superimposing the desired images.
Forging a Steel Die
A die is a stamping template that can be used to create thousands of identical impressions on a hard surface such as a coin. Skilled metallurgists know how to create intricate designs in relief so that the target being stamped has an accurate appearance. These are forged with a combination of heat and special tools to create the designs.
Creating Blank Planchets
One of the raw materials that the mint starts with is large, flat sheets of steel or precious metal, pre-cut to the desired thickness of the coin. Then, blank planchets are created by mechanically punching thousands of discs from these sheets. The resulting discs are then sent to a different station in the assembly process to be punched by steel dies.
Stamping the Coins
Once the blanks and the dies are calibrated correctly, it is time to stamp the designs onto the coins. The coins have to be flipped during the process, and different dies have to be applied to the obverse side. For example, the 2022 Canada $1 Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty features the Queen wearing the George IV State Diadem, which appeared in her portrait on Canadian coins from 1990 to 2002, while the obverse features the Queen’s profile as found in most Canadian coins of more recent mintage.
Printing the Artwork
One of the most attractive qualities of a collector coin is its vibrant colour. This is created one of two ways: by applying dyes on top of the coin, or by using a laser to permanently alter the colour of the metal.
Commemorative Keepsakes at Colonial Acres
Visit the Royal Canadian Mint section of our website. We have elegant Canadian coins from the 1950s all the way up to 2022. Not only can coin collectors expand on their collection, but you can have a keepsake from your favourite historical event or find the perfect gift for a loved one.