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The Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf is Canada's official bullion platinum coin. The Royal Canadian Mint has created this coin in six different sizes: 1 troy ounce, 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce, 1/10 ounce, 1/15 ounce and 1/20 ounce. Read on to learn more about these prized Canadian bullion coins.
The Canadian Maple Leaf series began when the Royal Canadian Mint released the first Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin in 1979. The coins were popular with collectors and investors alike. Their positive reception prompted the mint to add Canadian Maple Leaf platinum and silver coins to its range in 1988.
The Royal Canadian Mint celebrated the creation of its first Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf with a striking ceremony on September 22, 1988. Junichiro Tanaka, the president of Japan's largest precious metal distributor, struck the first platinum coin with a 140-tonne press. The mint selected him for the honor because the Gold Maple Leaf was so popular in his home country.
The Royal Canadian Mint sold its first Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf on November 17, 1988. This is the same day the Royal Canadian Mint released its first Canadian Silver Maple Leaf.
While the coin was well received, its success certainly wasn't guaranteed. Just a month after its launch, Ford Motor Company announced it would replace its platinum catalytic converters with ones featuring a new material. Many wondered whether platinum coin sales would decrease as the automotive industry's use of platinum fell.
While the price of platinum dropped, sales of the Canadian Maple Leaf Platinum more than doubled from 18,000 ounces in 1990 to 39,000 ounces in 1991. By early 1991, platinum's value sat below the value of gold.
In 1993, the Royal Canadian Mint released a smaller, 1/20-ounce Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf coin for modest investors and jewelry lovers. In 1994, the mint created a slightly larger 1/15-ounce Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf coin. However, it discontinued the coin within the year.
By the late ˜90s, collectors and investors showed a renewed interest in platinum. While platinum coin sales rose, so did the cost of the precious white metal. This made platinum coin production more expensive. In 2002, the Royal Canadian Mint discontinued its Canadian Maple Leaf Platinum coins.
In 2009, the Royal Canadian Mint began producing a limited-edition Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf coin each year. The mint makes just 250 of these coins each year. Unlike the earlier Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf, all coins released since 2009 are 1 troy ounce with a face value of CA$50. The Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf was the best-selling platinum coin on the planet in 2012 . This is a testament to its enduring popularity among collectors and investors alike.
There were four different Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf coins in the original run, as follows:
In 1993, a 1/20-ounce Canadian Maple Leaf Platinum with a face value of CA$1 joined the range. In 1994 only, the Royal Canadian Mint also made a 1/15-ounce Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf with a face value of CA$2.
The original run of Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf coins featured .9995 pure platinum. For the special 2009 edition, the Royal Canadian Mint made its new Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf coins from .9999 pure platinum. More recently, the Royal Canadian Mint has returned to making Canadian Maple Leaf Platinum from .995 pure platinum. This still makes them among the purest coins in the world.
Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf coins are legal tender throughout Canada. However, given their precious metal content, their face value is much lower than their real value. The market price of platinum, the Canadian government guarantee and seigniorage fee price premium all contribute to their real value.
The classic Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf gets its name from the image of a single three-point maple leaf on its reverse face. This is the same maple leaf design seen on the Royal Canadian Mint's gold and silver maple leaf coins. The reverse side also features the fineness of the metal and its weight.
Since 2009, the design on the Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf's obverse face has varied. While the maple leaf remains the anchor, its depiction can change from year to year. Some recent coins have featured several leaves and iconic Canadian wildlife. Some also incorporate different metals, such as the 2020 Maple Leaf Forever coin. This limited-edition coin features rose-gold edging and foreground design on both sides .
The original run of Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf had a popular image of a 39-year-old Queen Elizabeth II on its obverse face. This image, designed by Arnold Machin II, is also featured on the obverse face of coins in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth nations. It was also seen on other Canadian coins until 1989. In 1994, the Royal Canadian Mint changed the image to a more age-appropriate 64-year-old monarch. From 2009, the Royal Canadian Mint used a new updated portrait of 79-year-old Queen Elizabeth II. This fresh design was the work of Canadian portrait artist Susanna Blunt.
In addition to the royal's image, the Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf's obverse face features her name, Elizabeth II, along the top. The coin's face value and year of mintage borders the bottom of this face.
Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf coins produced from 2015 feature light diffracting radial lines on both faces. Their reverse face also features a micro-engraved maple leaf privy mark. Magnify this mark and you'll see it shows the last two digits of the minting year. This clever addition helps prevent counterfeiting.
Coin experts regard the Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf as the gold standard for platinum coins. While historical designs are great finds for investors and collectors, new annual releases make these bullion coins accessible to new generations of enthusiasts.
1. Royal Canadian Mint. Platinum Maple Leaf Coin (Bullion), https://www.mint.ca/en/shop/bullion-products/2020-platinum-maple-leaf-bullion-coin. Accessed June 13, 2022.
2. Royal Canadian Mint. 1 oz. 99.95% Pure Platinum Coin “ Maple Leaf Forever “ Mintage: 250 (2020), https://www.mint.ca/en/shop/coins/2022/1-oz-99-95-pure-platinum-coin-maple-leaf-forever. Accessed June 13, 2022.