SPUTNIK–To celebrate the nation’s upcoming 150th anniversary, the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) has announced that they will be minting a limited-run glow-in-the-dark coin that will be the first piece of glow-in-the-dark legal tender to enter circulation in human history.
The two Canadian dollar ($1.52) coin will be adorned with the Aurora Borealis shining overhead as a canoe paddles through a lake, flanked by trees on both sides. In the dark the lights will glow, thanks to an illuminating ink.
Several other variants have been announced, including scenes from Canada’s famously breathtaking wilderness, star signs and constellations, and one design depicting the Canadian flag with glow-in-the-dark fireworks exploding behind it.
“The mint has a long history of innovation in the coin business,” said mint spokesman Alex Reeves in a statement. “We like to demonstrate our capabilities to our customers.” The new coin is also the first-ever colored bimetallic coin to enter circulation.
“Only the core of the $2 coin is coloured and the glow effect makes the aurora borealis part of the design look lifelike… it’s something special to add to the celebration” of the sesquicentennial, Reeves said.
The coin design competition was open to the public, and over 10,000 entries were submitted. The winning entry came from Timothy Hsia, a British Columbian doctor who said he “wanted to choose a subject that was truly wonderful.”
“I feel like there is nothing more truly wonderful than Canada’s Northern Lights,” Hsia said. In total, 3 million glow-in-the-dark “toonies” will be printed and distributed throughout the Great White North.
The RCM became the first mint to circulate colored coins in 2004. They have also struck special edition glow-in-the-dark coins in the past, such as a quarter adorned with a glowing dinosaur skeleton in 2012, but those were for collectors only and were not placed in circulation.
More than just an expression of the artistic spirit of Canada, the RCM’s innovative currency is a valuable publicity stunt to attract foreign clients. Nations such as Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates hire out the RCM to print coins for them.