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Have you ever wondered about who makes all that change in your piggy bank or pocket? Where does it come from and who designs them? Coins reflect our Canadian history and culture and for over 100 years, we have been making them at the Royal Canadian Mint. We make all of the coins in Canada and we even make coins for other countries.
It all depends on the coin, but basically the metals that the coin is made from need to be melted down, then cooled and rolled into a flat sheet. Metal disks, called blanks, are then pressed from this sheet. Meanwhile, an artist has designed the image that will appear on the coin and a die bearing the image has been made. This die is then used to stamp the image onto the blank. There are many steps along the way, and you can learn more about coin production here.
If you are in Ottawa or Winnipeg, then be sure to come by and check us out. You can take a tour of either plant and learn about how we make coins. All of the circulation coins (those you use to pay for stuff) are made in Winnipeg.
But there are also coins that you collect and all of those are made in Ottawa. Many of our collector coins are made by hand.
Take a look in your wallet. You may find a coloured Poppy coin from 2004. If so, you're holding a piece of history because it is the first coloured circulation coin in the world!
It took a while for people to get used to it. In fact, it was mistaken as a spy coin. When American defence contractors first saw the poppy coin in 2007, they examined the coin's security features and incorrectly concluded that the protective coating was being used to hide a surveillance device!
So, if you are interested in coins and love collecting them, then you can call yourself a numismatist. A lot of numismatists buy old, rare and artistic coins for their private collection.
Or maybe you want to be a numismatist who collects coins centred on a theme like the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games for example. Learn more about the Vancouver 2010 Mascot coins we have made for collecting. They could start your collection!
Like gold? Then you will love karats. They measure gold's purity. 24-karat is pure gold, the real thing. A number lower than 24 indicates that an alloy metal has been added. For example, 22k gold is 22/24 parts pure gold + 2 parts alloy. A carat (spelled with a 'c') is a different measurement used for jewellery.
Did you know that a few hundred years ago (as in the late 1600s,) when Canada was a French colony, there was a serious coin shortage? People who lived here had to rely on ships for the delivery of coins and that was not exactly reliable. Ships sometimes got lost or they sank and along with them LOTS of money. So playing cards were used as money instead. The Mint has made series of collectible rectangular sterling silver playing card coins to bring history back to life. Learn more about the playing card coins.
Did you know that before the loonie and the toonie we used paper money for the 1 and 2 dollars?
There is an interesting unsolved mystery... the original design for the loonie was of the voyageurs, the explorers in Canada but somehow, the mold was lost between Ottawa and Winnipeg and never recovered. Where is it? Did it fall off a truck? Nobody knows and so to prevent counterfeit money, we changed the design to the loonie.
Coins, coins are everywhere
Nothing in the world can compare
Listen to the sounds that they can make
Cling, cling, clang as they rattle and shake
In your pocket, purse or in your car
Or in a loonie or toonie saving jar
Sometimes you find them on the street
When you do it is a real treat.
History, culture, identity for us all
Have fun on our site and have a ball.
To all of you out there from all of us here,
We wish you happiness, prosperity and forever cheer.
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