Canada: Revisiting Centennial Reverse Designs With a New Silver 5-ounce “Big Coin” Series


By Michael Alexander
On October 4, the Royal Canadian Mint launched a new series of “Big Coins,” in which six 5-ounce pure silver coins will depict some of the most popular and iconic reverse designs associated with the Mint. The new series celebrates the 150th anniversary of the formation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867, as well as the 50th anniversary of the iconic Alex Colville reverse designs of 1967. (More information on the centennial coinage can be found below the specification chart.) Each denomination in the set will be apportioned according to the coin represented, regardless of the coin’s specifications of 5 ounces of pure silver.


The new 2017-dated coin recreates the unforgettable 1967 one-dollar circulation coin design, which featured the profile of a Canada goose in flight. Detailed engraving recreates the goose’s features and the texture of its flight feathers as it flaps its wings downwards while soaring over the Canadian landscape. The image is enhanced by the application of selective gold plating over the goose and along the rim. Above the goose is the face value, DOLLAR, while below is the word CANADA and the commemorative dates 1867–2017.


The obverse features selective gold plating on the second effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, designed by Arnold Machin and used on Canadian circulation and commemorative coinage from 1965 to 1989. The plating is applied to portrait’s tiara and drape, and around the rim.

Denomination Metal Weight Diameter Quality Mintage
1 Dollar .999 silver  157.6 g 65.2 mm Proof, select plating 2,150

Each coin is encapsulated and presented in a Royal Canadian Mint–branded maroon presentation case with a protective outer box. The price for each 5-ounce silver Big Coin is $559.95 CAD. For more information on this and other coins offered by the Royal Canadian Mint, please visit their website. International orders dispatched where applicable; not available in RCM retail outlets.


(Photo by Chuck Szmurlo, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

An Iconic One-Year Coin Series

The reverse of the first coin features the Confederation centennial dollar design, which depicts a Canada goose in flight. Designer Alex Colville said, “The Canada goose seems appropriate for the dollar since it is one of our most majestic creatures and is particularly Canadian. There are other associations with traveling over great spaces, and a kind of serene dynamic quality in this bird.” Considered one of Canada’s best dollar reverse designs, the simple, uncluttered, and sleek look of the Canada goose in mid-flight became a favorite of many collectors of Canada’s coinage around the world, especially collectors of the Confederation centennial series.

The centennial designs focused specifically on the varied kinds of animals that inhabit the vast Canadian landscape but perhaps hadn’t been featured as prominently on earlier coinage. The complete series, which can be ordered one coin at a time or by subscription, consists of the following:

Denomination Design Ship Date
1 dollar Canada Goose October 2016
50 cents Howling Wolf December 2016
25 cents Bobcat February 2017
10 cents Mackerel April 2017
5 cents Rabbit June 2017
1 cent Rock Dove August 2017


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  1. M Alexander says

    12th October 2016

    Hello WMNB, thank you for your comment, we will be publishing additional articles regarding the Canadian confederation anniversary as the information is relayed to our office from the Royal Canadian Mint – I anticipate many more numismatic tributes to this topic from Canada as they prepare for year-long celebrations culminating in July of 2017, watch this space…

    M Alexander

  2. Koichi Ito says

    Too bad that 2017 Canadian goose 5 ounce silver collector proof coin has been sold out at mint. So where you can buy this coin now?

  3. M Alexander says

    Hello Koichi,

    It’s one of my all time favourite reverse designs also, I would have a look at some of their authorised distributors – it may be that they have sent some of these examples to them for wider sales – it’s worth a try.

    M Alexander

  4. M Alexander says

    Hello Barry,

    Not a bad idea..! I hope the RCM are one of my readers and pick up on your suggestion 🙂

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