Friday, April 13, 2012

O Canada, with Glow-in-the-Dark Coins...

That right there is the reverse of a new commemorative quarter from the Royal Canadian Mint. The first in a four-coin series, this is the first coin to be minted with glow-in-the-dark technology. In light the coin shows a rendering of Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai. In the dark the dinosaur is viewable as in the image here: a skeleton.

I've been collecting coins for a substantial portion of my life. It's always disappointed me how the United States puts relatively little emphasis on science in its commemorative currency. Explorers are the most commonly celebrated on American coins. The Wright brothers, George Washington Carver, and Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin, and Louis Braille make up almost the entirety of the recognition of scientific achievement in America.

Meanwhile, Canada not only has coins celebrating science like the new quarter. Several issues were made for the 100th anniversary of flight, the Giants of Prehistory series had five $4 coins over four years, each with a different dinosaur, a $5 coin was minted in honor of the first wireless transmission, and the $20 Land, Sea, and Rail Transportation series celebrated innovation in transportation technology. Those only scratch the surface of Canada's celebration of scientific achievement through currency. The $100 banknote in Canada depicts the discovery of insulin.

While a number of Canadian coins commemorate military excursions, the proportion of those coins relative to the total number of Canadian commemorative coins is much smaller than the same proportion among American commemoratives. Over here, we celebrate our military might above all else in our coinage. Canada takes its natural beauty and scientific achievement as the leading inspiration for commemorative coins.

I'm going to have to get these glow-in-the-dark quarters. For the science and the cool factor.

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