The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf is one of the most popular coins in the world, surpassed in demand only by the American Silver Eagle. Each year the Royal Canadian Mint strikes millions of Silver Maple Leaf coins. On occasion, the Mint produces the official silver bullion coin of Canada with unique privy marks that honor different moments in history or items of cultural significance. As you peruse the online catalog at JM Bullion, you’ll find a variety of Privy Silver Maple Leaf coins available for purchase.
As the official silver bullion coin of the nation of Canada, the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coin has been in production since 1988. It is not uncommon for sovereign mints to introduce official bullion coins in various precious metals. For example, the US Mint and Chinese Mint produce the American Eagle and Chinese Panda coins in gold, silver, and platinum, and gold and silver, respectively.
What is unique about the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf is the gap in time between the introduction of its gold and silver variants. The US Mint introduced the American Eagle in silver and gold in the same year, while the Chinese Mint took five years in between the introduction of the respective programs. The Royal Canadian Mint waited almost a decade to introduce the Silver Maple Leaf following the 1979 unveiling of the Gold Maple Leaf coin.
This isn’t to say the Silver Maple Leaf isn’t a special coin in its own right. The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf was the first bullion coin in the world struck in .9999 pure silver. Each one of the coins bears the same image on the reverse and obverse each year, and is issued with a face value of $5 (CAD) that is backed by the Canadian government.
Engravers and artists from the Royal Canadian Mint chose the nation’s official emblem, the sugar maple leaf, as the primary design feature to be used on the Silver Maple Leaf. The image is the same that appears on the gold version of the coin each year, and was simply pressed into service on the silver version when it was introduced in 1988.
On the reverse side of all Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coins you’ll find the image of a solitary sugar maple leaf. It is surrounded by engravings that include “Canada,” the purity of the coin (featured on both sides of the leaf design), and the words “Fine Silver 1 oz. Argent Pur” along the bottom.
The obverse face of all Silver Maple Leaf coins features the right-profile portrait of England’s Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty’s effigy has featured on Royal Canadian Mint official coins for decades. This 2003 design from artist Susanna Blunt is the third-generation image of Her Majesty to appear on Royal Canadian Mint coins, and the second used on the Silver Maple Leaf program.
As of 2015, the Royal Canadian Mint added enhanced security features to its Silver Maple Leaf coins to combat counterfeiting operations. A series of micro-laser engraved radial lines are visible on both the obverse and reverse faces of the coin. On the reverse, there is a small maple leaf privy with a micro-laser engraving of the year of issue. The date is only visible under magnification, and provides a reliable source of security for the coins.
Over the nearly three-decade history of the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coin program, the Royal Canadian Mint has struck limited-edition productions of unique Silver Maple Leaf coins with privy marks on them. The two most recognizable Privy Silver Maple Leaf coin series are the Anniversaries Series and the Zodiac Series, which actually consists of two separate runs. Both series are still in production today, with the Zodiac series running from 1998 to 2009, and restarted in 2012 and running through to today.
All Privy Silver Maple Leaf coins share a few common features, including:
The very first Silver Maple Leaf to feature a privy mark on the reverse was the 10-year Maple Leaf celebratory coin. Issued just one year into the production of Silver Maple Leaf coins, these had a special privy mark to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Gold Maple Leaf. Subsequent Privy Silver Maple Leaf coins include the following issues:
Among these, the more recent ones are the most readily available and currently popular Privy Silver Maple Leaf coins. The 100th Anniversary of Einstein’s unveiling of his Theory of Relativity was celebrated on the reverse of the Silver Maple Leaf coin with a special privy mark that reads “E=MC2.”
The Royal Canadian Mint did not start its celebration of the Chinese Lunar Calendar, often referred to as the Zodiac in Western society, with a unique coin of its own. Rather, the Mint opted to produce a Privy Silver Maple Leaf with special marks honoring the animal represented on the Zodiac in a given year. Also differing from many other mints, it started with a year other than the Year of the Rat.
Privy Silver Maple Leaf coins with Zodiac markings were first introduced in 1998 with the Year of the Tiger. Each of the coins featured a privy mark designed by Walter Ott and the Royal Canadian Mint Engravers. Mintage of these coins was limited to just 25,000 on an annual basis. The series ran a full course of 12 years through the Zodiac, representing all of the animals on the Lunar Calendar.
The series was so popular that the Royal Canadian Mint embarked upon a second Zodiac Series of Privy Silver Maple Leaf coins in 2012. The first design honored the Year of the Dragon, and has featured Year of the Snake, Year of the Horse, and Year of the Goat (most recent) privy marks on the popular Silver Maple Leaf coin. These coins started with the same mintage as the original series (25,000), but due to demand the Royal Canadian Mint bumped production up to an estimated 85,000 annually.
One of the most significant Privy Silver Maple Leaf Collections introduced in recent years is the Wild Canada Series. This collection was available from the Royal Canadian Mint from 2016 to 2018 and featured six distinctive privy marks on the reverse field of Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coins. The collection revived the images of the wildlife species found on the coins of the Canadian Wildlife Collection.
The Wild Canadian Series featured a limited mintage of 50,000 Privy Silver Maple Leafs per privy design release. Each coin was produced in reverse proof with mirrored design elements and frosted background fields. The designs offered included the following dates and privy marks:
If you have any questions about the Privy Silver Maple Leafs available at JM Bullion, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can reach out to us on the phone at 800-276-6508, chat with us live online, or simply send us an email with your inquiries. For fast answers to common questions regarding payment methods and purchasing minimums/maximums, please feel free to visit our Payment Methods FAQ page.