Are you thinking of buying a collectible coin or starting a coin collection?
This guide provides tips and tricks of the trade to help you get started.
Every coin can be seen as precious for a host of reasons: not just for its gold, silver or platinum composition, but for encapsulating a piece of history, an expression of culture, or a work of art.
Beyond the surface—that's what gives collectible coins real value.
Whether you are buying a coin for yourself or for a loved one, doing so can fill a lifetime with interest and inspiration.
Indeed, what begins as a pastime can easily become an absorbing pursuit—even a passion.
What the coin is made from. Three of the most coveted compositions include:
The appearance or surface texture of the coin's relief. Popular finishes include:
An uncirculated coin that retains its original mint lustre.
Bars, ingots, plates, wafers and coins made from precious metals, usually gold or silver.
An artist's design adapted and transferred to a medium, ensuring the best relief for minting.
The process of manufacturing coins.
The quantity of a particular coin that a mint produces.
The study or collection of coins.
The Royal Canadian Mint was the world's first refinery to produce 9999 gold (99.99% pure) bullion coins in 1982. In 1999, the Mint excelled again by being the first to achieve 99999 (99.999%) fine gold purity.
For both its gold and silver refinery, the Royal Canadian Mint guarantees 99.99% purity levels, ensuring world-standard security protocols are implemented at every stage of the minting process.
The Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf bullion coin is one of the world's most famous platinum coins. Since its first release in 1988, the coin has been minted at a purity of 9995 (99.95%) platinum.
The minting industry continues to raise the bar on the art and science of coin manufacturing. Today, collectors can find groundbreaking designs and effects including:
The Royal Canadian Mint's Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai was the world's first-ever photo-luminescent coin. The dinosaur image turned into a skeleton once the coin was placed in darkness. Subsequent releases in this "glow-in-the-dark" series have rapidly sold out.
The artist's original drawing.
The artist's design is adapted to ensure the best relief for minting.
Cast bars are rolled into "strips" according to the required coin size and thickness.
Strips are heated and cooled in an oxygen-deprived furnace.
Coin "blanks" are punched from the strips.
Edge of each blank is raised to protect the coin's surface.
Rimmed blanks are tumble-washed in a drum and dried by hand. Any remaining oil residue is removed.
The image is struck onto the blanks using dies.
Coins are individually inspected at various stages of production.
After a final inspection, each coin is carefully packaged for delivery to our customers.
These coins are just like the coins in your pocket but have never been touched by human hands; they truly are “mint” condition. This is our starter set.
These coins are higher quality than uncirculated coins – the finish combines brilliant and frosted relief (raised foreground) over a lined field (background). We are the ONLY mint in the world that offers this finish. This is a great set for those interested in collecting on a budget.
For PROOF finshed coins, the field (flat background) has a highly hand polished mirror-like finish and the relief (raised foreground) incorporates the use of different finishes which beautifully accentuate the design. The machine dies used to strike these coins have been polished with a mixture containing diamond powder to ensure that the exquisite details are maintained during striking. To maintain a quality set only 1000-3000 coins have been struck per die. Each coin has been individually and delicately hand fed into and out of the coining press. All of these coins are double struck at lower striking speeds, giving higher definition and contrast between the field and the relief.
Our mid-range set includes a special edition commemorative proof dollar struck in 99.99% pure silver that is only available in this set. For the first time the Special Edition Silver Dollar Proof set also features selective colour over engraving on the coin – this adds an extra layer of dimensionality and depth which recreates the appearance of this great iron steamer, whose impressive size easily dwarfs the local gaff-rigged fishing boat that sits off her port bow. The proof dollar features ous PROOF finish - our highest quality finish, while the other coins are uncirculated finish.
This is our most prestigious, long running and best selling set. A low mintage (total coins produced) increases the rarity and desirability of this coin set for gift givers and collectors alike. Also adding to the prestige of this set, the selective gold plating has been added to the proof dollar. All seven coins are struck in 99.99% pure silver and unlike the Silver Dollar set above, ALL seven coins in this set feature premium PROOF finish. This set comes in a luxurious genuine leather book-style packaging that showcase your coins with elegance.
Caring for coins is not just a question of esthetics: your collection requires proper handling and storage.
Why should I buy a collectible coin?
People preserve coins as keepsakes, memorials, and even talismans. Struck meticulously and innovatively designed, a collectible coin represents a work of great art, not unlike a limited-edition painting.
Why do some coins cost more than the value they display?
The price one pays for a collectible coin will almost always cost more than the face value (the value displayed on the coin). This is because collectible coins are the product of several components including the finish, type of metal used, and mintage. In fact, when a minted coin becomes sold out, the coin can increase in value over time, because those searching for those coins will pay more than the original issue price.
How do I find a seller/dealer I can trust?
The collectible coin industry is well established and has many trustworthy organizations and individual dealers. However, rogue traders do exist. You may wish to consult your country's mint for a list of trusted local, national and international sellers.
How can I determine a coin's authenticity if I buy it online?
Ensure the seller offers a magnified, high-resolution, detailed viewing experience. You should be able to view all parts (including the obverse, reverse and edge) of the coin close-up—as if you were seeing it in person.
The seller should also be able to provide all specifications including the coin's place of origin, its condition, specifications and mintage. Generally speaking, if you have any doubt about the coin you are considering buying, the best advice is to find another seller.
The Royal Canadian Mint offers several services to businesses and foreign governments. We pride ourselves on the high standards of our outsourced coin production, storage, assay, reference and analysis tools, as well as our world-class refinery.
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