With all of the recent attention about the United States Mint’s upcoming Enhanced Uncirculated Silver Eagle which uses three different finishes on the same coin, I wanted to take a post to showcase some Royal Canadian Mint coins that have used multiple finishes.
The first is the 2012 25th Anniversary of the Loonie $1 Silver Coin, which I have shared in a previous post. The RCM really underplayed the use of different contrasting finishes on the product page, so I was very surprised when it arrived. The product descriptions simply said that the coin featured a unique soft matte finish and images seemed to display a uniform finish throughout the entire coin.
In hand, it was apparent that the soft matte finish was used only for the background fields. The inscriptions, portrait, and ducks carry a heavily frosted finish. The water and interiors of the number “25” are deeply mirrored.
The use of three different finishes provides for a striking appearance and seems particularly suited to the 25th Anniversary Loonie coin’s design. I am not sure if the same thing can be said for the upcoming United States Mint offering. The design for the American Silver Eagle was originally created by Adolph A. Weinman in 1916 long before such specialized treatments were possible. The US Mint is applying different finishes to this classic design as they best see fit.
The coin shown above is the Royal Canadian Mint’s 2013 Arctic Fox $20 Silver Coin, which was released earlier this year and still remains available for sale on the RCM website here. This coin takes the concept of different finishes to the extreme with the design showcasing five different coin finishes.
I purchased this coin since I wanted to see it in hand. It does not makes as much of an impression as the previous Loonie coin. As seen in the image above, the difference in some of the finishes is much more subtle since there are only so many variations in luster possible. The outer ring and some portions of the fox are deeply mirrored. Inscriptions and the remaining portions of the fox are heavily frosted. The background within the central portion seems to be the soft matte finish. From what I can see, the remaining two finishes are used for the wavy lines and the rays and dots within the central portion.
At some point, the subtle differences in finish stop carrying an impression within a coin’s design. One, two, and sometimes three finishes might be what works best for coins.
Update: Also here is an image of the RCM’s 2013 Year of the Snake $10 Silver Coin that a reader mentioned in the comments. This coin has heavily frosted and mirrored finishes on relief elements with a striated matte finish background created using laser etching.