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Canadian Silver Coins

what canadian coins are silver

Canadian silver coins are known for their artistry, aesthetics, and value. The Royal Canadian Mint has manufactured all the coins in circulation in Canada since 1908, as well as silver bullion coins starting in 1988. Canadian silver is exceptional for its high purity, and the scarcity of many coin series makes these coins hotly desired by investors and collectors in all parts of the world. In what follows, you’ll learn more about Canadian silver coinage, its genesis, and a few of the most popular designs of silver coins.

The Royal Canadian Mint

On top of manufacturing all the circulation coins in Canada, the RCM produces collector coins, medallions, medals, and tokens. Additionally, the RCM offers services to private companies and other countries, including refining, precious metal storage, and foreign coin production. Because the RCM is a Crown Corporation, the Canadian government owns 100 percent of it and is the sole shareholder. However, the government doesn’t keep it afloat — as with the U.S. Postal Service, the RCM functions independent of taxpayer support, subsisting on its own revenue.

History of the Canadian Mint

Prior to the RCM, Canada’s coins were struck at the London-based Royal Mint struck Canada’s coinage. As Canada grew as a nation, it decided to produce its own coins, eventually creating a branch of the Royal Mint in Ottawa. In 1976, the country debuted its Winnipeg location, which enabled the Ottawa facility to concentrate on collectible coins while the Winnipeg facility managed the production of circulation coins.


The Royal Canadian Mint is well known for its wide offering of unique silver bullion coins and collectibles. Each year they mint special edition coins and new series which have come to be admired by not only collectors but investors of fine silver bullion, as well. Some of their most popular special edition coin series celebrate Canada’s national heritage such as landmarks, historical figures and its unique wildlife. The mint’s most popular coin, which they have produced on an annual basis for over 25 years, is the Maple Leaf coin. Their other coin series are outlined below.

Wildlife Series

The limited-mintage RCM Wildlife Silver coin series are among the most desired in the world of bullion. The Royal Canadian Mint issued mintages of only 1,000,000 each for the six designs in the Wildlife Series. The RCM issued two designs per year from 2011 to 2013. The Grizzly and Timber Wolf debuted in 2011, the Moose and Cougar arrived in 2012, and the Wood Bison and Pronghorn Antelope came in 2013.

Birds of Prey Series

Motivated by the popularity of the Wildlife series. the Mint recently unveiled the first of four 99.99-percent pure silver coins

in the new “Canadian Birds of Prey” series. The RCM will release a coin twice a year for two years for a total of four coins by 2015’s end. Artist Emily Damstra designed the first coin in the series, the Peregrine Falcon. The RCM issued a mintage of just 20,000 for the Falcon coin.

$20 for $20 Series

In 2011, this series debuted with a mintage of 200,000 of the Maple Leaf coins, which sold out so rapidly that the Mint increased the mintage of the next seven coins to 250,000. After the inaugural year, the Mint unveiled four $20 for $20 silver coins annually. The RCM recently lowered the mintages to 225,000, which means this series sells out fast and is typically hard to find.

Investor Appeal

With 99.99 percent fine silver purity, Canadian silver coins are more pure than other silver bullion coins. Usually, the Royal Canadian Mint also coats them in bullion finish for additional shine. These two factors coupled with the limited mintages of most series make Canadian silver coins as attractive to investors as they are to collectors.

Variations and Sizes

Canadian silver coins come in myriad variations and sizes, which helps them diversify any collection. In terms of sizes, the largest Canadian silver coins are 5-ounce coins, such as the $50 Swimming Beaver, and 1.5-ounce coins, such as the Canadian Silver Arctic Fox. The next size down is one ounce, including those in the Wildlife series and the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf. Next is the one-half-ounce coin, which includes the $10 Canadian Maple Leaf. Quarter-ounce coins include the $20 in $20 series.

The RCM produces many variations of Canadian silver coins for collecting purposes. Among these options are numismatic coins, which feature advanced technologies like lasering, holograms, and embedded crystals. In addition to coins, the Mint produces military decorations, Olympic medals, and other specialty items as part of this line.

Availability and Collectability

You can buy most Canadian silver coins in brilliant uncirculated condition through However, many of these coins are of limited mintages, so they can be hard to come by, especially in brand new condition. For example, the $20 for $20 coins are in such demand that the RCM restricts their purchase to three per household. Typically, coins purchased from JM Bullion come protected by hard plastic and include their original mint packaging.

With 99.99 percent purity and such an attractive array of designs, it’s no wonder that Canadian silver coins are among the most sought-after on the market. Find the perfect Canadian silver piece for your collection or your portfolio by browsing our extensive inventory selection today and enjoy free shipping on every purchase!

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