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The Final Frontier of Minting Technology

Since Star Trek debuted as a TV series in 1966, its ever-expanding universe of stories and characters has continued to pushed boundaries in its depiction of future technology and its reflection of contemporary society.

The latest entry in the Royal Canadian Mint’s Star Trek series carries on that tradition. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the 2018 $20 fine silver coin is minted with a brand-new technology that allows its engraved design — a schematic of the show’s iconic space station — to wrap around from the obverse to the coin’s edge.

 

A sci-fi phenomenon

Over the course of six television series — the original series, the animated series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise and Discovery — and 13 feature films, Star Trek has inspired and intrigued audiences around the world, coupling classic science-fiction action and adventure with thoughtful social commentary and progressive values.

The Mint has a long history of paying tribute to Star Trek, beginning with a set of commemorative coins to mark the 50th anniversary of the original series. Those coins paired images of favourite characters with iconic Star Trek technologies: Spock and a phaser, Chief Engineer Scotty and a communicator — a prescient precursor to yesteryear’s flip phones — Lt. Uhura and a tricorder and, of course, Captain Kirk and the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Canadian-born actor William Shatner, whose portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk embodied the spirit of the show, was on hand in 2016 to not only unveil that first collection but also to strike the coin featuring his character.

Later Mint tributes to Star Trek even deeper into the show’s mythology — and charted new territory in minting technology.

 

There was the world’s first solid gold delta-shaped coin, emulating the Starfleet insignia. In 2017, a set of vibrantly coloured glow-in-the-dark coins showcased starships from the original series, Voyager and The Next Generation. Another set immortalized unforgettable scenes from the shows, including the first appearance of the alien menace, the Borg, and the adorable furry vermin Tribbles.

Maybe the most innovative feat of engineering — testament to the series’ inspiring example — was a pure silver coin struck in the shape of the U.S.S. Enterprise, issued in an extremely low mintage.

The new Deep Space Nine coin is another world first.

 

Future technology today

Unlike the other Star Trek TV series, Deep Space Nine was set in a space station, not a galaxy-roaming starship. Finely engraved and with a proof finish, the new coin features that unique location in a design resembling a technical schematic, on a field that also depicts the Bajoran wormhole that was a prominent fixture of the series. The USS Defiant NX-74205 is also depicted on the right hand side. Another defining feature, the towering docking pylons extend towards an inner habitat ring, which is linked to a spherical-shaped central core.

New edge-shaping technology developed by the Royal Canadian Mint allows the engraved design to continue from the coin’s obverse side onto its edge, so that the artwork effectively wraps around: the Queen’s face on the obverse is framed by the space station and starfield.

Equally innovative is the shape of the coin itself. Instead of making the space station’s unique shape fit the coin, the coin fits the station. Its distinctive contours create an instantly memorable collectible that epitomizes the innovative and inspirational spirit of the Star Trek universe.

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