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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 53, December 30, 2007, Article 14

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS OTTAWA ROYAL CANADIAN MINT

[The Toronto Star published a short article this week
on the upcoming Centennial of the Royal Canadian Mint
in Ottawa.  -Editor]

It opened Jan. 2, 1908, as a branch of the British Mint
and has been churning out money ever since, although it
has not made circulation coinage since 1976 (that's made
in Winnipeg).

The Ottawa operation concentrates on coins for collectors.
Many of the 8,000 pieces it produces daily are made by hand,
one at a time.

"Here we concentrate on quality," said Veronique.

>From an observation deck, visitors can take in almost
every step of the process.

A furnace melts silver at 1,300 C; the liquid is then
moulded into bars worth about $8,000 each. A saw shaves
those bars smooth (the scrap is recycled.) A roughing mill
presses the bars into sheets the thickness of coins, from
which blanks are punched. Those blanks are scrubbed for
three hours or more in what looks like an oversized clothes
washer, with water, soap and stainless steel balls. Then
workers hand-dry each blank before stamping it with the
design of the day. That might be a one-ounce gold maple
leaf coin (retailing at $914.35), a 2008 coin commemorating
the Chinese Year of the Rat ($508.95), or a loonie emblazoned
with the logo of a Canadian hockey team.

What strikes one about it all is the silence. Even on the
shop floor, employees usually don't wear ear protection.
You're struck, too, by the care that goes into the process.
Workers wear gloves so they don't smudge the precious
coins. Six people check each gold coin for imperfections.

To read the complete article, see:
http://www.thestar.com/Travel/article/288755

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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