The animal on Canada's quarter all these years isn't a moose - it's a caribou. Who knew? This article discusses
the appears of an actual moose on a Canadian bullion coin.
About 75 years after Canadians began making a national pastime out of mistaking the caribou on their quarters for a
moose, the Royal Canadian Mint is selling a silver coin that depicts the real deal - alces alces, the king of all deer, the namesake beast of Moose Jaw, Sask., and Moosehead beer.
The caribou has been featured on Canada's 25-cent piece since 1937, but the misidentification of that antlered
animal as a moose - the caribou's much larger, marsh-dwelling cousin - is as common among Canadians as it is for
foreign tourists to mistake the groundhogs on Parliament Hill for beavers.
Now, taxonomically challenged Canadians can compare and contrast the two minted ungulates, the moose distinguished
by its conspicuous "dewlap" (the hair-covered flap of skin hanging from its lower jaw) and its larger, more
The moose's deployment as a symbol on various patriotically branded commercial products has likely contributed to
the enduring identity mix-up; its ubiquity in gift shops, not to mention place names, has perhaps conditioned
Canadians to assume the country's most famous member of the deer family must have been chosen for celebration on a
common circulation coin - like the nickel's beaver, the dime's Bluenose and the maple-leaf sprig on the
The new moose money is not, however, likely to wind up alongside the caribou coin amid the loose change in an average citizen's pocket or purse.
The coin is the fourth in a planned series of six, 99.99-per-cent pure, one-ounce silver bullion coins featuring images of iconic Canadian wildlife, with the cougar, timber wolf and grizzly bear previously issued.
Unveiled in February at the World Money Fair in Germany and aimed primarily at the investment market and collectors, the coin was designed by a senior engraver at the Ottawa-based mint, William Woodruff. It shows an adult male moose striking a classic pose in a wilderness setting, tall grasses swishing against its gangly legs.
Confusingly, in Europe, moose are known as Eurasian elk, and caribou are called reindeer.
OK, I admit it - I thought it was a moose all along, too. But Rudolph the Red-Nosed Caribou?
To read the complete article, see:
The moose finally struts onto a Canadian coin
Wayne Homren, Editor
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