The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf is a coin minted by the Royal Canadian Mint on behalf of Canada’s government. For decades, the coin has been one of the most popular bullion products in the world. The coin has been compared to the American Silver Eagle and the Silver Britannia because of its explosive popularity among collectors. It should come as no surprise why this is the case; all three of these coins are well-known for their high quality, intricacy of detail and purity. The Silver Maple actually offers a higher degree of purity than even the American Silver Eagle; .9999 purity is rare for a silver bullion coin.
2014 marked a momentous year for the Canadian Silver Maple; the Royal Canadian Mint distributed the coins from this year using a new set of security features to help combat the counterfeiting that had influenced the coin’s reputation in previous years. With the new security features added, the Canadian Silver Maple remains one of the most popular and investor-friendly silver bullion products in the world.
While coins like the American Silver Eagle are minted only using 1 oz variants, the Canadian Silver Maple is distributed in a number of sub-ounce denominations. While the standard variant is 1 oz, consumers buy a high number of ½ and even 1/10 oz Canadian Silver Maple Leaf Coins each year.
Hero Bullion offers a number of options for investors interested in buying the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf Coin. This guide will explain some of the most important things that consumers should know about the Canadian Silver Maple before making their first purchase of one of the world’s most renowned and popular silver bullion coins.
The Royal Canadian Mint
Despite having been founded in only 1908, the Royal Canadian Mint offers a rich history of development and changes. The history of the Royal Canadian Mint is closely related to the historical development of the Royal British Mint. The Royal British Mint was founded long before most government mints; it was first established in 886 AD. That’s right – Britain’s government mint was first founded over one-thousand years ago. Compared to the British mint, the Royal Canadian Mint is only a baby.
Before the Royal Canadian Mint was officially established in the country, all Canadian coins were minted and distributed in London through the Royal Mint. Canada was, at this time, still an affiliated government of the British Empire. This does not mean that the country didn’t need its own currency. In order to conduct trade and expand as a global economy, the government of Canada began to need an increasingly significant amount of coinage, and it leaned heavily on the Royal Mint for this coinage for fifty years – from 1858 to 1908.
When Canada became its own country, officials decided that they needed to establish a more local source of coinage in order to survive. The Royal Mint agreed to establish a new branch of its minting operations within the Canadian province of Ottawa. Operations began in 1901 after a lengthy proposal process that started in 1890.
The Royal Canadian Mint was a subsidiary of the much larger British Royal Mint for thirty years. The mint finally gained its own independence from the Royal Mint in 1931, when it became the Royal Canadian Mint that we know and appreciate today. Despite their apparent independence on paper, the mint relied heavily on the British Royal Mint to obtain the technologies necessary to produce and distribute the number of coins that the Canadian government needed to manufacture.
This set of historical circumstances helps to explain an important aspect of Canadian coinage. Coins minted at the Ottawa facility almost always include the likeness of Queen Elizabeth II. While Canada is not run by a monarch, Queen Elizabeth frequently makes an appearance on the obverse side of the coins produced by the Mint. While we don’t intend to get into the details of the Canadian government, it’s also worth noting that the country is technically part of the Commonwealth of Britain, meaning that Queen Elizabeth II is factually the country’s queen.
While most Canadian silver coins are popular, few coins have contributed as significantly to its profitability as the Canadian Silver Maple. Since its initial release in 1988, it has quickly become one of the most popular silver bullion products in the world – and it continues to be Canada’s best-selling silver coin.
Tracking the history of the Royal Canadian Mint involves more than understanding the development of the mint itself. The Royal Mint’s history is much more extensive, but both the governments and their currency-distributing mints are closely linked to one another. Even the likeness of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse of most bullion coins is shared by both the Royal British Mint and the Royal Canadian Mint.
History of the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf Coin
Like its mint, the Canadian Silver Maple offers a rich and impressive history. Many collectors have come to appreciate the way that the Silver Maple and its imagery represents the cultural history of the Canadian government, its mint, and its cultural history. This section will closely examine the history of the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf Coin. Don’t be fooled by the relatively short history of the Canadian Silver Maple. While it was only minted for the first time in 1988, the coin has undergone a number of changes and permutations throughout the past three decades.
The Canadian Silver Maple coin is actually predated by the Canadian Gold Maple. The first Canadian Gold Maple coin was produced in 1979, meaning that it only took nine years for the mint to decide to produce silver variants of the classic coin and its iconography.
Most readers will automatically associate the maple leaf with the country of Canada. After all, the icon featured on the Canadian Silver Maple is also featured on the country’s famous national flag. The maple leaf is the national symbol of the country – and its history may surprise you. The Canadian Maple Leaf has been considered a national emblem for Canada since as early as the 18th century, when French Canadians living near Saint Lawrence River had come to view the symbol as emblematic of the land they now inhabited.
During a meeting of Canadian leaders in 1834, several emblems were proposed to be used to represent the blossoming society known as Canada. Eventually, they decided that the national symbol should be the maple leaf. Though there was never any popular doubt that the maple leaf was a clear symbol of some Canadian groups, it didn’t catch the attention of the nation until 1868, when the government of Ontario included it on their coat of arms.
Quebec’s coat of arms eventually adopted the maple leaf as part of its symbolism, and the entire country was represented by the Canadian maple leaf in 1921 when the Canadian coat of arms was created. Over time, this image became the core symbol used on almost all coins, and it even made an appearance in the Canadian national anthem. Even soldiers fighting in World War One wore insignias bearing the maple leaf.
Today, the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coin pays homage to one of the most enduring national symbols in the world. While the maple leaf might not have the longstanding history of Britain’s Britannia, the maple leaf featured on the Canadian Silver Maple acknowledges an impressive cultural history within Canada and its people.
Canadian Silver Maple Leaf Coin Details
We’ve already spoken extensively about the maple leaf that decorates the reverse side of the Canadian Silver Maple. The following two subsections will discuss the obverse and reverse design details more closely. The Canadian Silver Maple, like the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, is prized for its high degree of detail and intricacy. The coin’s rendering of the maple leaf is marked by detailed, intricate ‘veins’ on the maple leaf, which give it the appearance of a genuine leaf on the reverse side of the coin.
The obverse depiction of the Silver Maple has changed periodically over the years. The coin’s obverse side features Elizabeth II. Over time, the design of Elizabeth II has shifted to better represent her likeness as she aged. The current depiction of Elizabeth II shows her as she appears now.
The Canadian Silver Maple is minted using .9999 pure silver. This is a higher purity than offered by other national silver bullion coins, such as the .999 pure American Silver Eagle Coin. While .0001 might not seem like a big difference in purity, some investors and collectors note that the higher purity offers at least a minor improvement in the detail and clarity of the Canadian Silver Maple’s design.
Keep reading for an in-depth look at both sides of the Canadian Silver Maple, one of Canada’s most enduring national coins.
Canadian Silver Maple Obverse Design
The obverse of the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coin includes a classic depiction of Queen Elizabeth II. While we spoke briefly in the ‘history’ section of this article about why the Canadian mint might include this monarch on their coins, the details of Queen Elizabeth’s portrait are worth noting here. The Silver Maple includes a depiction of the modern Queen Elizabeth. Here, she is shown wearing her pearl earrings and pearl necklace.
Even the hair of the Queen is rendered on the Silver Maple with exquisite detail. These waves are intricately detailed and closely resemble the real Queen Elizabeth II. We can also make out the details on the Queen’s face, including her wrinkles and the exact dimensions of her eyebrow. The Queen looks off toward the right side of the coin, and we’re shown her facial portrait and the top of her shoulders.
The name of Queen Elizabeth II is featured on this side of the coin, along with the date of the coin and its denomination. The Silver Maple is always minted with a face value of 5 Canadian Dollars. Like the reverse side of the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coin, the obverse of the coin features engraved lines in the background, which functions as an added security feature.
Silver Maple Leaf Coin Reverse Design
While fans of British history always enjoy the highly detailed rendering of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse of the coin, the Silver Maple’s reverse is even more impressive. The background includes the same security features of the obverse, as well as a mini micro-engraved maple leaf for added protection against counterfeiting.
The Canadian maple leaf is featured in the center of the reverse of the Silver Maple. The leaf is minted with extreme levels of texture, and each vein of the leaf is minted to ‘pop’ and add a new level of detail to the already-fine design. Above the maple leaf is an inscription of “Canada,” and on either side of the leaf we can see the purity of the bullion coin.
The mint material of silver, as well as the weight of the coin, is also shown on the reverse of the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf Coin. There’s no denying the regal beauty of the Queen’s depiction on the obverse of this coin, but most buyers appreciate the Silver Maple’s reverse design even more. This design has also remained unchanged since the original minting of the first Silver Maple, meaning that its depiction of the classic Canadian symbol carries a longstanding tradition within the bullion market.
Final Thoughts: Buying the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf Coin
The Canadian Silver Maple, like many official government coins, represents the epitome of the cultural background that created it. The Royal Canadian Mint produced the coin to represent the maple leaf, a longstanding national symbol of the Canadian people and its history. The maple leaf has been one of the most commonly recognized symbols of Canada for over two centuries, and there’s no denying its importance to both the people of Canada and the people of the world.
Hero Bullion offers a wide variety of coins from the Royal Canadian Mint. If you have any questions about how to purchase a beautiful Canadian Silver Maple Coin, please don’t hesitate to contact our support team.