Canada’s Glow in the Dark Coin

The Royal Canadian Mint recently introduced a 25-cent colored Glow in the Dark Coin. This was promoted as “a mint first” using glow in the dark technology.

The copper nickel clad composition coin features a paleontologist’s interpretation of how the Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai dinosaur may have appeared both inside and out. The coin features a color image of the dinosaur on the reverse. After exposing the coin to sunlight and then bringing it into the dark, a glowing image of the dinosaur’s skeleton will appear in place of the colored image.

This represented the first release within a four coin series of prehistoric creature glow in the dark coins. The mintage limit for the first release was 25,000 with a price of CAD$29.95.

Personally, I thought the product was a little bit too gimmicky and didn’t pay much attention at first. However, the coin received a great deal of media attention. There were articles which appeared in many newspapers and technology sites like CNET and Wired. There were also apparently mentions on television news programs and in a segment “Canada’s Currency Coup” on the Colbert Report.

I was somewhat surprised to find that the coin has already sold out of its 25,000 mintage and is selling for a substantial premium to the original issue price on eBay.

While not every coin collector may have been excited by the release, it seems to have captured the attention of the broader public. With demand coming from a mainstream audience, the limited mintage was quickly snapped up.

The Royal Canadian Mint has been pushing the boundaries related to the technology or elements which can be incorporated into coins. They have also pursued some less traditional themes for some numismatic issues. At the same time, I think they have also served their traditional customer base well with some exceptional designs, limited mintages, and customer service initiatives like the Masters Club.

These strategies are yielding positive results as evidenced by the growth in their numismatic and collectibles segment. (See an article on the Royal Canadian Mint’s 2011 financial results.) For the coming year, as many as 150 numismatic products and collectibles are planned and management has indicated their intention to balance pricing and mintages to increase the number of sell outs, thus supporting the secondary market prices for their products.

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  1. Samuel says

    collecting and investing are different things. but this ugly coin is definitely a HUGE winner! sold for 3 times the issue price. i noticed it when it was released, but i thought it was just too ugly…………

  2. Sam H says

    “supporting the secondary market prices for their products”

    What a revolutionary concept … does the US Mint have a suggestion box?

  3. says

    I’m kicking myself for skipping this one. I thought the concept was neat when it was introduced but I passed on it because I was buying something else at the time. Ah well, win some, lose some.

  4. Samuel says

    i usually dont like coins with color or other non-metal stuff on it. but the recent dino coin, ladybug etc make me think if i should adjust my mindset a little bit.
    the ladybug coin tops $500 now, and it was less than $250 about a month ago.

  5. Broooster says

    I ordered 3 of these, 1 for my grandson, and 2 for a guy at work. I was wondering how many people would jump on these. I think they are a great way to possibly hook some young collectors.

  6. Hidalgo says

    @Captain – you should buy coins because they appeal to you, not because of future profits. If the coin had lost value, you would have been stuck with a coin you really didn’t like and a price you did not feel was worth it at the time.

    In the long run, you win some and you lose some….

  7. Alan says

    Same here, adjusting my mindset too. 🙂

    It must be my bias as an American coin collector, but I didn’t think a base metal coin could do so well, glowing or not. I looked at the price and couldn’t believe it was that high… so I passed… I may have to think again for the next one!

    It will be fun to see if this coin is a “winner” in the long-term.

  8. Shutter says

    Limited mintages are great, but if ordinary collectors aren’t able to acquire most coins at issue price, eventually they will may interest in the products. This is especially true for series coins. If you acquired the ladybug coin and now need to shell out 250 smackers for bumble bee, you might well decide to just sell your lady bug for $500 and forget about the whole series.

  9. DirkDirk says

    Does anyone actually have these in hand yet, I thought RCM was not shipping these until the end of May (another story in itself how delayed RCM shipping is). These are mostly presales at the moment, wait until you see the glut of these coins in about two weeks, price will plummet.

  10. Hidalgo says

    I saw the ladybug coin. Personally, I can’t understand why it’s so popular. It certainly does not appeal to me. Period. I would not pay $100 for it. And I certainly wouldn’t pay secondary market prices for it.

    Same is true with the glow in the dark coin. I would not pay the issue price to own it. It certainly does not appeal to me. And it would be totally out of line with the pieces in my collection.

    To each his (or her) own. :o)

  11. says


    Actually I did like the coin, and thought a “glow-in-the-dark” coin was a cool concept, but I passed on it at the time it was available because I had purchased another coin. I also figured that since it seemed like a “gimmick” coin, it would remain easily available and that I could wait to buy it when I had a little more cash.

    I am more upset that I missed a neat coin than I am about the value on the secondary markets. I generally do not flip coins (spare unwanted Red Welsh aside) and buy primarily because I like them, with potential secondary market value as only a secondary item of interest for me.

  12. natatack says

    What a “glowing” investment indeed. The others will be left out in the “dark” when they pass on these. Sorry couldn’t resist 🙂

  13. Hidalgo says

    Did y’all see that the price of gold has fallen to close to $1600? I wonder if the price of gold coins will fall another tier or two in two weeks. And I wonder if gold coin values on the secondary market will continue to hold their values?

    Time will tell….

  14. Harry Baskins says

    What an incredible coin. It is of special interest to those who study or enjoy paleontology. I was able to acquire several of these from Gatewest before it sold out. This coin will end up like the 2007 Canada Nuthatch colorized bird coin that now sells for $400-500. I fortunately purchased several of those as well.

  15. Ikaika says

    The Canadian mint sure is coming up with some innovative coins. This is something lacking from the US mint. The result is more people spending money with their products, including myself. I find the ladybug and bumble bee coins a real piece of art, not just a coin. I also purchased the glow in the dark because of the interesting concept. The US mint will loose more profits if they don’t change their approach to coin design and products offered.

  16. Rolling Thunder says

    Like many others, when I first saw the “glow-in-the-dark” coin, its metal content, and price – I thought interesting, but not for me and I bought a couple of the “Stormy Weather” coins which are 99.99% silver and exhibit beautiful engraving – exactly the kind of coin I like!

    As noted the “glows” have escalated in price and well my “Stormy Weather” (mintage 7,000) which also quickly sold out is still about issue price with little secondary market interest.

    I’m a collector and a flipper – I flip to partially support my collecting – so when I noticed the rapidly growing “glowing” hype – I did jump in and buy a few to flip -maybe I’ll keep one – at least for a little while!

    And yes – sad to say Canadian Mint more interesting than US Mint – this year.

  17. jeff72 says


    Gimmick coin only generated 16 comments….and it was a sell out frenzy and doing well on the secondary market…..

  18. Two Cents says

    I saw the glowing coin on the RCM’s website and it brought back fond memories of being a little kid playing around with glow paint that I used to coat almost everything I could get my hands on (and not get into trouble with my parents).

    But as an adult, the coins seemed too gimmicky and a pitiful attempt to separate a fool and his money.

    Sometimes being playful in the adult world can reap rewards.

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