The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf Coin, first released by the Royal Canadian Mint in 1988, following the success of the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, is one of the most popular silver coins in the world. It is 99.99% pure; the highest purity one-ounce silver bullion coin produced by a government mint. The Government of Canada guarantees its purity, weight, and content. The 1 oz. Canadian Silver Maple Leaf is legal tender with a face value of 5 Canadian dollars, backed by the Canadian government. This value is higher than that of any other comparable silver bullion coin.
The obverse of the coin is the same design found on the Canadian Gold Maple, featuring an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II designed by British artist, sculptor, and coin and stamp designer Arnold Machin. This bust was also used on all British coins until 1984, New Zealand Coins until 1985, and Australian coins until 1986. Her majesty faces the right of the coin with, “Elizabeth II” inscribed above her and “5 Dollars” and the year minted below her.
As on the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Coin, the reverse of the Silver Maple features the iconic Canadian maple leaf, Canada’s national symbol. The maple leaf’s recognition as a Canadian symbol can be seen as early as the eighteenth century among French Canadians who had settled near the Saint Lawrence River. Later, in 1834, Montreal’s first mayor, Jacques Viger, lauded the maple leaf as the king of the forest and a symbol of the Canadian people. The coat of arms in both Quebec and Ontario incorporated a maple leaf in their design in 1868 and it was included in the Canadian coat of arms by 1921. The maple leaf, however, was not seen as the central national symbol until 1965 when a stylized red maple made its debut on the Canadian Flag we are familiar with today. The country’s name displays itself boldly at the top of the coin and the coin’s purity level in English and French can be seen at the bottom; it reads, “Fine Silver 1 Oz Argent Pur.” Four nines are placed both to the left and the right of the leaf. This design has seen little variation since its introduction.
Replacing the bullion finish on earlier coins, the radial lines in the new 2014 SML’s field have been precisely machined to within microns on the master tooling to ensure reproducibility from die to die and coin to coin. The uniqueness of the line width and pitch gives this coin a characteristic look, and creates a light diffracting pattern that is specific to this coin. Combined with a new visual security feature —a textured maple leaf micro engraved with laser technology on a small area of the reverse side, with the numeral “15” denoting the coin’s year of issue—this coin represents the cutting edge in coin security.
The 1 oz. Canadian Silver Maple is 38 mm in diameter and 3.29 mm thick.