Canadian Geographic
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Geography of coins

Circulation coins

We often take for granted the coins that pass through our hands every day. But have a close look at, say, the 25-cent piece, and imagine the advanced processes, technologies, statistical sampling and quality control that have gone into the minting of that one coin.

It all starts as large coils of steel are run through a high-capacity punch press, which can produce more than 13,000 blanks every minute. The rough edges of the blanks are removed, and the rims are raised and rounded. The blanks are now ready for the multi-ply plating process, during which they are coated with layers of copper and nickel.

The blanks are dried and polished, then sorted by inspection cameras to remove any with surface defects. At this point, the blanks are fed into a high-speed coining press, which stamps designs onto both sides, turning out more than 600 coins per minute.

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Finally, the coins are rolled and wrapped and are ready to be shipped to 12 regional distribution sites across the country to meet the day-to-day coin requirements of Canadian consumers and businesses.

The Royal Canadian Mint is the only mint in the world that is responsible for managing the distribution of circulation coins across the country. To balance inventories and to ensure that the right amount of coinage is in the right place at the right time everywhere in Canada, the Mint redistributes coins from regions of low demand to regions of higher demand.

Meeting trade and commerce needs while maintaining optimal levels of inventory is the ultimate measure of efficiency in the Mint’s coin-distribution network. To achieve this goal, the Mint relies on input from the National Coin Committee, a group comprising representatives from select Canadian financial institutions and armoured-car companies.


This video briefly outlines the history coin collecting and how to start collecting as a pastime. It depicts various tools and methods employed by collectors.


On the next page:

Commemorative circulation coins

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Quiz :

Which of these is not one of the Mint's four business areas?

Producing bills
Foreign Business
Canadian Circulation