Thursday, July 21, 2011

Royal Canadian Mint Release Their First Silver & Niobium Coin!

June 16, 2011: The Royal Canadian Mint has unveiled the first in a new series dedicated to the Full Moons of the Algonquins - which also happens to be the first coin produced by the RCM to contain the rare metal known as Niobium.

Canada 2011 $5 Full Buck Moon Silver Niobium Proof

Discovered by the English chemist Charles Hatchett in 1801 but not used commercially until the early 20th century, Niobium is employed mostly in alloys, the largest part in special steel such as that used in gas pipelines, as even a tiny percentage of Niobium adds strength to the steel. The metal is also used in electronics, welding, nuclear industries and optics. In numismatics Niobium is used purely as a decorative enhancement to coins, most notably the Silver & Niobium series produced by the Austrian Mint, although other countries such as Latvia and Luxembourg have also had coins struck with Niobium cores (these coins were, however, produced at the Austrian Mint). The ability to colour the Niobium using anodization has made it increasingly popular in the production of jewellery and numismatic products.

As shown in the image above, the inclusion of Niobium adds a quality to the coin that is unobtainable through other methods of colouring coins, such as pad printing. As it is a metal it seamlessly integrates with the silver portion of the coin, creating a marvelous, eye-catching piece of work.

This is the first coin to be released as part of the Royal Canadian Mint's Full Moons of the Algonquin series, with future releases to cover the Full Hunter’s Moon, Full Wolf Moon and Full Pink Moon.

From the Royal Canadian Mint:

In North America, the First Nations tribes that comprise the Algonquin people utilized the lunar cycle as a celestial calendar to track time. They assigned a name to every full moon to reflect the seasonal activities that accompanied its specific cycle. The Algonquin people lived across a vast territory from Lake Superior to the Atlantic—and the geographical differences between them produced a variety of names for each full moon.

July is the quintessential month of summer. Its full moon is known as Thunder Moon or Summer Moon, but its most common name is Buck Moon to reflect the fact that bucks in the North American wilderness are beginning to grow new antlers—a vision of elegance and strength inspired by the ever-changing cycle of life.

Each coin is struck from 8.5 grams of 92.5% sterling silver on a 28mm flan to rigorous Proof standards. The reverse design of this coin, in keeping with it's dedication, features a buck standing in a field, the image struck into the niobium core. Adding further innovation and contrast is the silver moon within the Niobium, possibly the first time this has been done in numismatics.

Each silver and niobium coin is presented in an official wooden flip case, lined with flock and protected by an outer sleeve. These coins are available now from Euro Collections International.