We took some time to tour the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa today. D-11 has taken quite a shine as of late to collecting coins. It’s no longer good enough for him to root through my change to see if he can find anything special. He now wants to purchase uncirculated coins. I think that is better than wanting to blow all his spending money on candy and junk food. (Yeah, that’s a real life scenario that we have had to talk about.)
We had a great time going on a guided tour at the Mint. We manged accidently to arrive one minute before the tour was scheduled to start. Talk about good timing!! We found out that the Mint in Ottawa only makes numismatic or commemorative coins. The Mint in Winnipeg makes the coins for circulation. It’s quite a different process to produce commemorative coins than it is to make regular coins that we use for change. The Mint in Ottawa makes 8000 coins a day. The tour guide had us guess how many coins are made in comparison at the Mint in Winnigpeg. D-11 had the closest verbally expressed guess at 6 million. The actual number is 15 million coins a day, many of which are coins for other countries.
The most expensive minted coin that we saw today retails for 3.5 million dollars. Apparently Canada has developed the way to make the purest gold in the world. This humungous coin was made of eight bars of gold worth a walloping 2.5 million dollars. It was made primarily as a showcase piece of the purest gold in the world. Amazingly, six of these coins have been sold to collectors. I’m thinking that some people just have way too much money on their hands if they can afford to buy a 3.5 million dollar coin for their collection.
D-11 decided to spend some of his hard-earned cash on a hummingbird quarter that he had previously eyed on e-bay. He pointed out some other coins he found interesting (such as the Toronto Maple Leaf 2006-2007 collection) and I think that I now have some ideas for him for Christmas. He is a collector/pack rat at heart.
P-9 was content to borrow a twoonie from D-11 and put it in a machine that made a Royal Canadian Mint token. He was thrilled to bits with that little momento of the trip. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the Mint. We had to settle for a number of shots with our faces in giant coins outside the main building. I was hoping that the boys would get a winning pic of me in profile as the queen of England. Alas, the sun did not cooperate and there was too much shadow to make the photo post-worthy. Still, here we all are with our mugs in giant coins. P-9 and I look pretty handsome as mounties. D-11 looks cute as a moose (or is it an elk?). I had to get a shot of the actual building that is the Mint as it is pretty impressive looking.
We were told today that the Mint in Ottawa will be minting all of the medals for the 2010 games. I think that the boys would like to go back to get a gander at those. We were impressed to see that the Mint also make medals including the Order of Canada medal that the Governor General hands out. To think that I have lived in Ottawa now for 17 years and I am only learning now that the Mint is not only about money. It’s a good thing that I have kids who want to see and learn things or I think I would remain woefully ignorant on many subjects.