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Pushing the Limits - The Royal Canadian Mint adds to its family of innovative firsts

Multifaceted Animal Head Series: 1oz. Pure Silver Extraordinarily-High Relief three-coin subscription


Innovation is nothing new to the Royal Canadian Mint. Whether it be a shape, size, or never before-seen technology (just to name a few), we are always looking for ways to push the limits on what we can achieve in the minting world and in coining technology. The result - some of the world's most stunning, technologically advance coins.  

The Multifaceted Wolf Head coin, the first in a three coin series, is no different. It has given us yet another milestone to hang our hat on. So what makes it so special? Everything.

It’s a world’s first!

Never one to shy away from a challenge, our talented engineers and engravers found a way to manufacture a coin that is reminiscent of a sculpture – on a 36 mm coin none-the-less.

Introducing the world’s first Extraordinarily High Relief 36mm proof coin!

To put it into perspective, until the introduction of our multifaceted Wolf Head coin (and its successors), relief heights on coins of this size have never surpassed 2 mm for a 1 ozt. proof coin. The relief on this unique coin is 6 mm, which is equivalent to five 1 oz. coins stacked on top of each other.  Big job – small surface.

The 2019 Extraordinarily High Relief Multifaceted Wolf Head coin when compared to five standard 1 oz. silver coins

It shines like a diamond

The Wolf Head coin, and the other two coins in the series, are multifaceted. In order to capitalize on the Extraordinarily High Relief, and to really achieve the desired sculpture-like effect, 435 polygons were incorporated into the design. The meticulous detailing of the facets not only make the wolf look more realistic, but make it sparkle like a diamond. You really need to see it to believe it.

Side Note - If collectors pay close attention they will notice the consistency of the facet distribution in each animal in the series. From the ears, to the nostrils, there is a common pattern, making this set a true masterpiece and real conversation piece.  

Its obverse is unique too!

In manufacturing this coin, we reached another milestone to add to our list. Unlike the other 36 mm coins in our repertoire, we applied facets on the obverse, making this the first time a faceted effect was applied to the queen side of a coin of this size.

What else…

Here are five other interesting facts about this extraordinarily unique, extraordinarily beautiful and extraordinarily high relief coin.

  1. Extensive Manufacturing Period - On average, it takes approximately 10 months to manufacture a coin from start to finish. This coin took three years, which really speaks to its intricacy and technicality.
  2. Unconventional Approach - The three-dimensionality of this coin is so extreme that that the modeling and tooling work had to be approached in an unorthodox manner. The engravers adapted their normal coin modeling procedures, machining strategies and tool polishing methods to accommodate such an extreme relief.
  3. Virtual Minting - The blanks (a.k.a. pre-stuck material with no design) were engineered specifically for this coin. The shape of the wolf’s head was not added after the fact, it was struck right into the coin. This means that special software (a.k.a. Virtual Minting) was used to determine the thickness and diameter needed to achieve this effect in a classic minting process.
  4. Third Strike’s a Charm - The coin was only struck three times to achieve the finished product. On average, two strikes are required to manufacture a standard coin. What makes the coin so groundbreaking is that it could have taken many more strikes to achieve the desired effect, but we were able to engineer it without any machining and to only need three strokes.
  5. Beyond our Walls - The idea of an Extraordinarily High Relief coin originally came from someone outside of the Mint, and was first attempted on our Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II: The Young Princess coin.  A 1 oz. pure silver coin with an antique finish. So keep your ideas coming!

What our engineers had to say

The wolf embodies loyalty, strength, courage, and steadfast determination – much like our engineers…

“The Wolf was the perfect subject to test out the latest innovation in minting. The detailed design loans itself perfectly to the effect we were after – that of a sculpture.”

“The irony behind this coin is that though this is a world’s first in innovation, the technique used to achieve the Extraordinarily High Relief is a classic. No machining used, only striking.”

Christian Brochu, Jacques Benoît and Yannick Cormier are among the group of talented Royal Canadian Mint employees who worked on developing the innovative Extraordinarily High Relief Multifaceted Animal Head series.

Behind the scenes video

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