The Silver Canadian Maple Leaf has been in circulation and minted by the Royal Canadian Mint since 1988. This particular coin weighs only 1 oz. and is valued at 5 Canadian dollars. The 5 dollar face value puts the Silver Canadian Maple Leaf among the most valuable government produced, regularly issued, silver coins in circulation around the world (although the coin is valued at far more than 5 dollars due to the worth of the silver contained in the coin). Below are the obverse and reverse sides of the 2008 Silver Canadian Maple Leaf:
Design and Appearance
The coin almost always depicts a Maple Leaf on the reverse with a depiction of Queen Elizabeth II on obverse, with the exception of a few that had minor variations to the coin. There have also been holographic additions in the design as well as many other smaller variations from year to year. The one shared feature of every year’s Silver Maple Leaf has been the phrase “Fine Silver 1 oz Argent Pur” at the bottom of the reverse side of the coin.
Over the history of the Silver Canadian Maple Leaf, there have been several notable editions that strayed a bit from the traditional appearance of the coin to celebrate special occasions, events, and anniversaries:
- In 2009, the coin featured the olympic logo on the obverse and an image of a hockey player and two maple leafs on the reverse to commemorate the 2010 Winter Olympics, which were hosted by Canada.
- In 1999 and 2000, the coins were double dated, meaning that they showed the years 1999 as well as 2000 on the reverse side of the coin.
- All coins issued in 2000 displayed a privy mark featuring fireworks and the number 2000 to celebrate the new millenium.
- All coins issued in 1999 displayed a privy mark to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mint Maple Leaf program.
- In 1998, a 10 oz version of the coin was released to mark the 10th anniversary of the Silver Maple Leaf coin series.
Weight and Purity
The silver bullion coin is 99.99% silver as opposed to the normal 99.90% silver in most bullion coins. Although the coin is face-valued at 5 Canadian Dollars, its actual value is relative to the spot price of silver itself. If an owner wanted to, though, the coin could be used according to the $5 value that it is assigned by default. This would not be sensible, however, as the spot price of silver is currently over $30 meaning that just the silver contained in the coin is worth over $30, not even factoring in the coin’s rarity and collector demand. The coin’s dimensions consist of a reeded edge, and it’s diameter is about 38mm.
Manufacture and Distribution
The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf is minted by the Royal Canadian Mint, which has two locations: Ottawa and Winnipeg. The Ottawa location produces hand-made collector coins, gold coins, medals, and medallions. The Winnipeg location produces the high-volume coins, including all circulating Canadian currency coins.
The Silver Maple Leaf has varied production numbers each year, with last year (2010) setting the record with almost 17.8 million coins produced – a huge increase over the previous record of 9.7 million in 2009. This increase in production was due to immense consumer demand for Silver Maple Leafs (as well as silver coins in general), as investors looked to hedge against fiat currency inflation.
History of the Maple Leaf
Silver Canadian Maple Leafs are different from related coins like Canadian Gold and the Platinum Maple Leaf in that collectors are paying over the bullion value, as opposed to gold and platinum where there is no premium. The 1996 and 1997 mintages are particularly valuable simply due to a smaller number of coins produced during those years. In 1997 the amount of Silver Maple Leafs minted was just over one hundred thousand whereas the amount in 1999 was 1.1 million. Mintages increased drastically from 2005 to 2006, jumping from about 1 million minted coins to about 2 and a half million in 2006.
Where to Buy Silver Maple Leafs
Newly minted Silver Maple Leafs can be purchased directly from the Royal Canadian Mint’s website, www.mint.ca, at a hefty premium above the actual spot price of the silver contained within the coin. The secondary market for Silver Maple Leafs is a little more reasonable, as precious metal retail websites offer older coins for slightly over spot price, such as a 2004 1-oz Silver Leaf for only $6 over the current spot price of silver at the time of this writing. Some local coin shops also sell Silver Maple Leafs, although local shops usually charge a slight premium over online retail websites.