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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 50, December 10, 2006, Article 19

ROYAL CANADIAN MINT ADVANCES MINTING TECHNOLOGY

Dick Johnson writes: "The Royal Canadian Mint is doing some very
innovative things lately. I like that. The latest is embedding
crystal chips in the surface of a gold coin. Introduced just last
month (November 2006), the 2-inch 14-karat coin bears six oval
Swarovski crystal chips in a snowflake design. It is a bullion coin
with a $300 denomination that is selling for more than $1300. Only
1000 were made.

"The RCM is market driven and they have learned their market very
well. The low mintage is something collectors like, in addition to
the coinage innovation. Canadian technicians are pushing the envelope
in a technology that began 2,600 years ago. Yet they have learned
you can still do something new in a minting industy with such a
seasoned heritage.

"The Canadians, it appears, are even speeding up the process. In
the past, innovations first appeared on medals first. If it was
satisfactory on a medal it could then be applied to a coin. We have
proof coins today because a proof surface was first applied to a
medal (Pitt Club Medal, London, 1762). The first hologram in a work
of art appeared first in a medal (Yaacov Agam's "And There Was Light
Medal" Israel, circa 1967) before holograms were applied to coins.

"The Canadians, the Australians, British, French and Italian mints
are all doing some new and creative things in their pressrooms. I
like that. Unfortunately the Americans can only recycle presidential
portraits as their contribution to minting innovation.

"One must be careful, however, with new technology. Unless it has
a purpose, it remains a gimmick. At first I thought this was the
case for the Canadian crystal snowflake bullion coin. On further
reading, I find it was created for a purpose. It was issued for
the Queen's birthday.  Happy birthday, your majesty.

"Your subjects toiling in the Royal Canadian Mint have created
something really new for the occasion. One thousand collectors
can share that experience with you. Plus I hope numismatists
recognize the fact coin and medal technology has taken one more
step forward."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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