Emblazoned with that instantly recognizable and patriotic icon, the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf has long been a favored silver bullion coin for new and experienced collectors and investors alike. But many collectors still wonder if Canadian Silver Maple Leafs are a good investment.
Canadian Silver Maple Leafs are a good investment, due to their high purity and the wide range of special editions that are available. However, it’s always best to do your own research when deciding to invest in a coin, as the financial landscape is ever-changing.
Below, we’ll go into more detail about what makes the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf so special, and why you might want to add it to your collection. We’ll also compare it to the American Silver Eagle, and talk about what you should look for in one of these coins.
Why The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf?
Arguably the most impressive trait in these beautiful coins is that they are certifiably minted from 99.99% pure silver, making them one of the world’s finest silver coins. They are legal tender in Canada with a face value of five Canadian dollars, yet their market value is ultimately determined by the spot price of the silver, which is often much higher.
Ever since they were first minted in 1988, the reverse display of each coin features that instantly recognizable national icon of the Maple Leaf. Simple in style but still intricately detailed and iconic, this design would strike any collector as beautifully patriotic and impressive.
The obverse of the coin features the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II which, interestingly, has had three subsequent revisions since the coin was first produced. The most recent portrait currently used on Canadian coinage was designed by Susanna Blunt.
Before that, a portrait by Dora de Pédery-Hunt graced the coin through the 1990s and, for the first two years of its production, the coin featured a portrait by Arnold Machin (whose design still features on all British stamps to date).
Inscribed along the top of the reverse of the coin, above the leaf, is the patriotic “CANADA”. Along the bottom, the coin’s weight and fineness are reiterated in both English and French: “FINE SILVER, 1 OZ, ARGENT PUR”. Either side of the leaf also features the number “9999”, representing the coin’s purity.
The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf vs The American Silver Eagle
Many numismatists will be aware of the American Silver Eagle, another sovereign coin that is often held side-by-side against the Canadian Maple Leaf during numismatic investment debates. With a powerful image of the American Eagle proudly depicted on each coin, should we allow ourselves to be tempted into choosing these silver bullions over their Canadian counterparts? Let’s investigate.
With over 400 million Siver Eagle coins in circulation, there have been perhaps twice as many Eagles minted than Maple Leafs. Plus, Maple Leafs were first minted two years after the Eagles were, and the fact that the Leafs are the rarer of the two would only heighten their desirability amongst collectors.
Supply And Demand
Despite this, the higher levels of demand for the Eagles – perhaps due to a larger US population than Canada – has actually led to them being more expensive to purchase. From this, many believe that the lower acquisition price on Maple Leafs will result in them being a better option for those looking to make a more long-term investment, not to mention cheaper in the short-term.
Now, let’s look at the numbers. Both the Maple Leaf and Eagle coins weigh one troy ounce (31.1g). We have already discussed how the Maple Leaf has a face value of $5 Canadian, yet the Eagle represents $1 US. Even with the current exchange rate factored in, that nominal value from the coin south of the border is significantly lower.
The 99.99% pure silver in the Maple Leaf is contended by the Eagle, but it falls just below with a content of 99.9%. The intrinsic value from this fraction of a percentage difference may be negligible, however, investors seeking out higher purity in precious metal are likely to be more swayed by the Canadian Maple Leafs.
Should You Collect Special Silver Maple Leafs?
It’s difficult not to be enthralled at the thought of special or commemorative coins, and the Canadian Silver Maple Leafs offer a vast index of special editions to explore. So many, in fact, collecting them all would be quite the feat!
As with many coins, the Royal Canadian Mint has commemorated anniversaries of the Silver Maple Leaf with special releases, with the most recent being its 30th anniversary in 2018. An annual Zodiac Series has also been released to see in each year of the Chinese zodiac, and celebrations such as the anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mint have also been commemorated in silver form.
Plenty To Choose From
Buildings, war history, charities, and scientists have all been depicted in privy marks on the coins. Even Bigfoot made an appearance in 2016, in an edition released by Provident Metals. A personal favorite of mine would be the Maple Leafs dated 2000, which each feature a privy mark of celebratory millennium fireworks.
However, it may be the nature-related editions of the Maple Leaf you may find most intriguing, as each series proudly represents the rich flora and fauna of Canada. A Wildlife series was released from 2011 to 2013 featuring animals such as the Timber Wolf, Moose, and Wood Bison, whereas 2014 to 2015 saw a Birds of Prey series depicting Peregrine Falcons, Bald Eagles, and Red-Tailed Hawks.
A stunning series of Hologram Silver Maple Leafs has also been released steadily since the early 2000s. These beautiful holographic designs are considered lucky, themed for Good Fortune, Hope, Wisdom, Happiness, Prosperity, and more.
The cultural value of the special-edition Canadian Silver Maple Leafs is definitely an added bonus to consider when investing in these bullions, especially from a collector’s point of view. With that being said, you can’t go far wrong with the classic Maple Leaf design.
Where To Purchase And What To Look For
Canadian Silver Maple Leafs are packaged in semi-transparent tubes which each hold twenty-five coins. Each tube has a yellow lid, emblazoned with the Royal Canadian Mint RCM logo. With a quick Google search pulling up hundreds upon hundreds of places offering the coins for sale, it is a good idea to do your research and shop around before committing to a specific source.
One way of making a quick initial comparison is to use eBay, as many respected brokers and distributors have stores on the platform, and it will offer a good indication of the current values of the coins. From there, you may decide on a specific broker through which to make your purchase directly through their website.
The Royal Mint
Of course, many investors and collectors may choose to get their bullions “hot off the press”, by purchasing directly through the Royal Canadian Mint’s own online store. Here, a wealth of background information, facts, and history of each coin can be researched, making it a good place to start for beginner collectors.
It’s reassuring to note that Canadian Silver Maple Leafs are also one of the world’s most secure bullion coins, with impressive, unrivaled security features which were first introduced in 2014.
For instance, a micro-engraved, laser-marked Maple Leaf design can be identified just underneath the main image on the reverse of each coin. You might need a magnifier to spot it, but inside this leaf will be a numeral indication of the coin’s year of issue. Radial lines on the reverse face of the coin add to the bullion’s security, an impressive extra touch.
The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf’s purity, security features, culture, and history assure that these silver bullions are a worthwhile investment. With the many special editions that have been produced, there are lots of designs to choose from aside from just the classic, but still valuable, Maple Leaf design.