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Rhodium plating used by Canada

Common obverse (top) and reverses of the first two $20 selectively rhodium-plated proofs in the RCM new “Nocturnal by Nature” series. (Images courtesy RCM)

The Royal Canadian Mint has just executed another first. It has begun issue of a series of proof coins enhanced with selective black rhodium plating. Appropriately, the series features creatures of the night.

The first two 38 mm, 31.39 g .9999 fine silver $20s introduce the Barn Owl (Tyto alba) and the Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus). Mintages are 7,000 apiece but, at the time of writing, they were selling out fast.

Rhodium enhancement is akin to the selective ruthenium plating of coins outlined in the September issue of World Coin News (read more here). Both metals belong to the platinum group. On the present coins, the plating appears jet black when viewed straight on but shifts to a gunmetal gray when the coin is tilted.

The dark plating provides a night-time backdrop to the contrasting unplated or partially-plated silver surfaces. The total effect is to provide scenes lit by luminous moonlight.

Both animals are shown back-dropped by the moon. The Bat is simply back-lit. The Owl is a study in contrasting grays, with the moon peering through its dark plating.

On the obverse, a frosted Queen Elizabeth effigy stands proud above a fully darkened field and legend.

Canadian artist Jamie Desrochers was responsible for the Barn Owl and Calder Moore for the Little Brown Bat.

Further details can be sourced from the RCM website: www.mint.ca.


This article was originally printed in World Coin News. >> Subscribe today.


More Collecting Resources

• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1901-2000 is your guide to images, prices and information on coinage of the 1900s.

• Start becoming a coin collector today with this popular course, Coin Collecting 101.

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