OTTAWA, Dec. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - As the striking of Canada's last penny on May 4, 2012 marked the end of an era and the Loonie reached its 25th birthday in June, the Royal Canadian Mint is pleased to have completed another milestone-filled year. From record collector coin sales and the launch of a new Silver Canadian Reserves ETR investment product to the return of Canada's first gold coins and the exploration of digital currency, the Mint continued to excel and thrive in all aspects of its business.
Farewell to the Penny
In Economic Action Plan 2012, the Government of Canada announced that it will phase out the penny from Canada's coinage system. The Royal Canadian Mint struck Canada's last one-cent circulation coin at its Winnipeg production facility on May 4, 2012. Building on its reputation as a leading coin supplier to the world, the Mint is focusing spare production capacity opened by the change to more international business. The Mint also took the opportunity to honour our iconic penny with a selection of limited-edition collectibles; from a selectively gold-plated silver coin to a finely crafted 1/25th ounce pure gold coin. While certain products rapidly sold-out, penny keepsakes can still be found at www.mint.ca, in Mint boutiques or at dealers across Canada.
Distribution of the penny to retailers and financial institutions will end on February 4, 2013. As the denomination remains legal tender and the coin continues to be used, consumers and businesses can consult guidelines on price rounding for cash transactions in the "LEARN" section of the Mint's web site. More information will be circulated in the weeks leading up to the last distribution of Canada's one-cent circulation coin.
Numismatics and Collectibles Business Line Results
As it continues to expand its collector coin offering and diversify its customer base in Canada and abroad, the Mint is delighted to report excellent revenues and record product sell-outs for its Numismatics and Collectibles Business Line. By the end of the Third Quarter of 2012, revenue for the business line was over $107 million, which already eclipses the previous record of $93 million in annual revenues, set in 2011.
As well, a record of sixty 2012-dated collector products completely sold out. With popular subjects such as the 100th anniversary of the sinking of RMS Titanic and the Loonie's 25th birthday, as well as instant hits like our glow-in-the dark dinosaur coin, we actually doubled the previous record of 30 sell-outs.
Widely known for achieving excellence in every aspect of its business, the Mint is always proud to receive formal recognition from a wide range of industry peers and stakeholders. Four such awards continued to bolster our reputation in 2012:
- The Best Silver Coin award from US-based Krause Publications' Coin of the Year Awards for the 2011 $20 pure silver commemorative coin known as "The Canoe"
- The Coin of the Year award in the 6th International Commemorative Coins Contest "Coin Constellation-2012" for the 2012 $300 Pure Gold Coin with Diamond - Queen's Diamond Jubilee, from Russia's Watermark Publishing;
- The Coin Competition Award for Packaging for our wooden case with Mint logo, from 27th Mint Directors Conference in Vienna, Austria; and
- The Award of Excellence for Corporate Reporting for small federal Crown Corporations for the Mint's 2011 annual report, from the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Commemorative Circulation Coin Program
In keeping with its tradition of celebrating Canada's history, culture and values through coins, the Mint has continued to issue commemorative circulation coins which millions of Canadians can collect as proud symbols of our heritage and identity. A two-dollar coin and four 25-cent coins recognizing the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812; a one-dollar coin honouring the 100th playing of the Grey Cup; and the 2012 Lucky Loonie each became permanent reminders of proud moments which captured our collective imagination in 2012. Over 300,000 of these coins were exchanged with the public at special events held across Canada.
Canadian Silver Reserves ETR Program
Following the resounding success of our Canadian Gold Reserves exchange-traded receipts (ETRs) launch in late 2011, the Mint announced a public offering of a new Canadian Silver Reserves Program, with each ETR offering an investor direct title to physical silver bullion securely stored at the Mint. With 5,000,000 Silver ETRs now listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in Canadian and US dollars under the symbols "MNS" and MNS.U", this expansion of our ETR program further demonstrates our reputation as a world-class custodian of precious metals with the drive to bring precious metal ownership to the market in creative and innovative ways.
Winnipeg Plating Facility Expansion and R+D Centre of Excellence
After producing coins and blanks for over 70 countries since our high-speed Winnipeg facility opened in 1976, of which more than 20 billion now feature our industry-leading multi-ply plated steel (MPPS) technology, we are expanding our facilities to accommodate even more international business. Opening in June 2013, the expanded Winnipeg plating facility will raise MPPS blank production capacity by two billion more pieces. This state-of-the-art complex will also house a full-time Research & Development Centre of Excellence, where groundbreaking technologies and manufacturing processes will take shape for the ongoing benefit of Canadians and coin users world-wide.
Coin Security Features
When new multi-ply plated steel one-dollar and two-dollar circulation coins were launched on April 10, 2012, Canadians were also introduced to advanced features which have changed the face and the security of our high-value circulation coinage.
A tiny maple leaf pattern, laser-engraved on the dies which strike the reverse (or tails side) of both the one- and two-dollar coins, cannot be replicated without the Mint's proprietary technology. The addition of a shifting "virtual image" and edge-lettering gives our two-dollar coin a new layer of complexity which translates to incomparable security. A similar laser security mark is also found on the Mint's 2013-dated 1 oz. 99.99% pure Gold Maple Leaf (GML) bullion coin.
With the help of a technology partner, the Mint has also created an innovative form of security called Digital Non-Destructive Activation (DNA), concealed in our ground-breaking circulation and bullion coins. This process essentially "fingerprints" the surface of each coin to store a reading of their unique surface structure in a database. Genuine circulation coins can be individually identified through this anti-counterfeiting innovation and genuine GML coins can be reconciled with a known die set.
With an eye trained on the future of currency, the Mint challenged developers from across North America on April 4, 2012 to develop applications which would test our MintChip™ digital currency platform and confirm its feasibility in the real world. We are the only mint in the world to launch an R+D project to explore an evolution of physical money; where many of the attributes of cash are enhanced by the benefit of being electronic. The Mint has working prototypes and holds eight patents pending for this innovative technology, for which six enterprising developers created exciting applications demonstrating the power and versatility of MintChip™. The Mint is now refining its business model and discussing its role in the market of the future with many stakeholders, including the Government of Canada.
Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal and War of 1812 Medal
Proud of its role in handcrafting a wide range of medals for the Canadian Forces and other revered Canadian institutions, the Mint is always keen to explore new technological horizons with unique projects such as the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games athlete medals and the Rick Hansen Relay Medal.
In 2012, we were honoured to craft the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, issued to 60,000 Canadians in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of the reign of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II. We were also privileged to produce War of 1812 commemorative medals specially commissioned for the recognition of First Nations and Métis communities whose brave support of British forces and Canadian militia were instrumental to the successful defense of Canadian territory during the War of 1812. These medals were presented, along with Canadian Forces battle honours, to the descendants of these brave warriors at an October 2012 ceremony at Rideau Hall.
Canada's first gold coins
The Mint travelled back in time on November 28, 2012, by unveiling a rare collection of 1912, 1913 and 1914-dated $5 and $10 Canadian gold coins previously stored at the Bank of Canada for more than 75 years and kept out of circulation for nearly a century. These treasures of our past, made of gold from the Klondike and newly discovered Ontario deposits, were held under the Government of Canada's Exchange Fund Account (EFA) and are now being liquidated by the Mint to return meaningful keepsakes to scores of collectors, while allowing the Government to invest the proceeds in fixed securities typically held in the EFA. Details of some 30,000 beautiful examples of Canada's first gold coins now for sale can be found at www.mint.ca/1912gold.
About the Royal Canadian Mint
The Royal Canadian Mint is the Crown Corporation responsible for the minting and distribution of Canada's circulation coins. An ISO 9001-2008 certified company, the Mint is recognized as one of the largest and most versatile mints in the world, offering a wide range of specialized, high quality coinage products and related services on an international scale. The Mint has also issued exchange-traded receipts under its Canadian Gold Reserves (TSX: MNT/MNT.U) and Canadian Silver Reserves (TSX: MNS/MNS.U), which provide holders with direct legal and beneficial ownership in physical gold and silver bullion held in the custody of the Mint at its facilities. For more information on the Mint, its products and services, visit www.mint.ca.
SOURCE Royal Canadian Mint