Maple Leaf Forever Silver Coins
This first article in a series introduces the Maple Leaf Forever silver coins. Later articles will appear on this blog about the gold and platinum coins of the Maple Leaf Forever Series which is a collectible coin series within the Canadian Maple Leaf bullion coin series. The Royal Canadian Mint has successfully practiced this Russian doll approach of issuing a special series of collectible coins within an established bullion coin series since 2011. It is yet another special way that government mints use to increase their sales of bullion coins by targeting coin collectors. Previous articles on this blog have already focused on other ways to achieve that objective such as coloring, gilding, the addition of special privy marks or mint marks etc.
Whereas the regular Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coins display a single large maple leaf on the reverse, multiple maple leaves (most often three) appear on the reverse of the coins of the Maple Leaf Forever Series. Both types of coins were minted out of 99.99% pure silver. The first Maple Leaf Forever silver coins were 100,000 coins of 1/2 oz and 999 proof coins of 1 kg that were issued in 2011. The face value of the 1/2 oz and 1 kg coins respectively was CAD$ 10 and CAD$ 250.
The annual issue of similarly designed 1/2 oz silver coins continued until 2019 but annual mintage numbers only remained at 100,000 pieces for the first two years of issue. After that, mintage numbers were reduced to 50,000 pieces (in 2013 and 2014) and then 25,000 pieces in 2015. During the last four years that 1/2 oz silver coins were minted as a part of this program, mintage ticked upwards again (2016: 30,000 coins, 2017 and 2019: 35,000 coins). In 2018, the 1/2 oz coins were even produced without a mintage cap and it is unclear how many pieces were actually minted that year.
The design of the 1 kg Maple Leaf Forever silver coins was identical to that of the 1/2 coins in 2011 and 2012 when at first 999 and then 1,200 such large silver coins were minted. From 2013 onward, the design of the 1 kg silver coins became more and more fanciful though (and different from that of the 1/2 oz coins). Selective gold plating appeared on the 600 large coins that were minted in 2013. The following year when the same number of coins was minted, selective enameling in red and green was used in the reverse design. A hologram was struck over the engraved surface of the reverse side on the 500 proof coins that were minted in 2015. Selective gilding and coloring were then used on the two sides of the 2016 coins when 500 proof coins were minted as well.
The 1 kg silver coins that were minted in 2017 (mintage of 700 pieces) are certainly the most special of the entire series in the eyes of collectors as these coins not only had an unusual antique finish but because these large coins were actually cut into the shape of a maple leaf! After that, there was only one more issue of 1 kg Maple Leaf Forever silver coins the following year. The 500 proof coins that were minted that final year 2018 were highly unusual as well since their surface was not flat but convex in shape.
If you want to see pictures of all the designs of the 1/2 oz and 1 kg Maple Leaf Forever silver coins, have a look at the image slider in the middle of our webpage for the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coins!