CANADIAN PRIDE, CULTURE AND INNOVATION SHINE BRIGHTLY ON NEW ROYAL CANADIAN MINT COLLECTOR COINS

New themes and designs include the Mint's first niobium-core coin;
"The Maple Leaf Forever" in gold and silver kilo coins; Dr. Norman Bethune;
and the 125th Anniversary of Vancouver

OTTAWA, June 17, 2011 /CNW/ - As demand for its innovative collector coins continues to grow, the Royal Canadian Mint is proud to introduce the latest selection of exciting new collector products, starting with the Mint's very first niobium and silver coin. Featuring the world's first selectively oxidized niobium core which contrasts a deer in glowing yellow against the white gleam of a full moon, this technical innovation is joined by: "Maple Leaf Forever" gold and silver kilo coins; $150 99999 Pure Gold Asian Blessings of Happiness and $15 9999 Pure Silver Maple of Happiness Coins; a 1/10th ounce pure gold coin honouring Dr. Norman Bethune and the 75th Anniversary of his invention of the first Blood Transfusion Vehicle; new Birds of Canada (Black Capped Chickadee) and Mythical Creatures (Memphré) 25-Cent Coloured Coins; a Vancouver 125th Anniversary collector card; and the 2011 Holiday Gift set.

"The Mint enjoys global acclaim for the quality, artistry and innovation of its coins and it is proud to bolster its reputation by issuing new and exciting collector products such as its first niobium-core coin," said Ian E. Bennett, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint. "As demand for Royal Canadian Mint collector coins grows in Canada and around the world, we are pleased to respond with innovative keepsakes which offer a wide range of choices to every type of customer."

Below are descriptions of the featured products now available to the public.

2011 ALGONQUIN FULL MOON $5 STERLING SILVER AND NIOBIUM COIN (THE BUCK)

More commonly found in the super alloys of rocket engines, niobium has carved a place in the world of coin collecting thanks to its capacity to change colour through electric oxidation. The Royal Canadian Mint is proud to have taken this technology one step further by selectively oxidizing its very first niobium coin, whose bi-metallic core (composed of a niobium reverse and a sterling silver obverse) is also unique.

The stunning effects of this technology were chosen to create a bold new series of silver and niobium coins illustrating the seasonal moon phases by which the Algonquin people of Canada's First Nations tracked time. The Summer Moon is symbolized on the niobium core of this new collector coin by the buck, contrasted in bright yellow under the light of a pale white moon.

A total of four exciting sterling silver coins featuring selectively oxidized niobium cores in the distinct colours of the four Algonquin full moons will be issued: The Buck; The Hunter, The Wolf; and The Full Pink Moon. These coins were designed by artist John Mantha and will be released throughout 2011 and 2012. The entire series is also available as a subscription.

Only 7,500 of these innovative keepsakes, retailing for $121.95 CAD, will be available for each issue of this series.

2011 $2500 KILO GOLD AND $500 KILO SILVER COINS - MAPLE LEAF FOREVER

From the humble penny to our national flag, the maple leaf is the symbol which says "Canada" to the rest of the world. Its image has been celebrated in art, literature and even song, when Alexander Muir's "The Maple Leaf Forever" was published in 1867; the year of Confederation.

In 2011, the iconic leaf which has graced our one-cent "penny" circulation coin since 1937 has landed on the Mint's newest additions to its popular line of gold and silver kilo collector coins. The classic design of the penny inspired the engraving of a trio of maple leaves on the reverse of the Maple Leaf Forever coins, designed by artist Debbie Adams.

The $2500 Gold Coin - Maple Leaf Forever is made of 99.99% pure gold and limited to an exclusive mintage of only 35 coins, each retailing for $59,995.00 CAD. Only 999 examples of its 99.99% pure $500 silver counterpart are available world-wide at the retail price of $2,195.95 CAD each.

2011 $150 PURE GOLD COIN - BLESSINGS OF HAPPINESS

Proud to remain the one and only producer of 99.999% pure gold coins, the Mint is pleased to offer collectors looking for the purest gold collector coins in the world its 2011 $150 Blessings of Happiness Pure Gold Coin.

Toronto artist Harvey Chan has chosen the image of traditional lion dancers and bursting firecrackers to illustrate one of the most recognizable expressions of joy and celebration in Chinese culture. The Chinese character for happiness completes the lively design on the reverse of this 10.4 gram pure gold coin.

With a reduced worldwide mintage of only 888 coins, this exclusive collectible retails for $988.88 CAD.

2011 $15 FINE SILVER COIN - MAPLE OF HAPPINESS

The Mint's popular Asian blessings silver coin sports a 99.99% pure silver composition and $15 denomination for 2011. The combination of intricate engraving and modern hologram technology grabs the attention of coin collectors and Chinese culture enthusiasts on the $15 Fine Silver Maple of Happiness collector coin.

The magpie, China's traditional bird of happiness, figures prominently on a reverse design including a background filled with lotus flowers, also known as symbols of prolonged happiness and good fortune. This elaborate design surrounding the vibrant hologram of a maple leaf is the work of accomplished artist and coin designer Simon Ng.

Retailing for $98.88 CAD, this coin is limited to 8,888 examples worldwide.

2011 1/1OTH OUNCE GOLD COIN - 75TH ANN. OF DR. NORMAN BETHUNE'S INVENTION OF THE WORLD'S FIRST MOBILE BLOOD TRANSFUSION VEHICLE

Famous in Canada and China for his volunteer medical service with Chinese Communist forces resisting foreign invaders during the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945, Dr. Norman Bethune was also an innovator in his field. It was in 1936, while assisting in the fight against fascism during the Spanish Civil War that he converted an old ambulance into the world's first mobile blood transfusion unit, delivering refrigerated blood to the front line where too many soldiers were dying of blood loss resulting from otherwise non-fatal injuries.

75 years later, the Mint is recognizing this milestone in Canadian ingenuity with a 1/10th ounce, 99.99% pure gold coin designed by artist Harvey Chan. Surrounded by a hand-polished proof finish, this coin features a frosted image of Dr. Bethune flanked by his mobile transfusion vehicle.

This exquisite coin is limited to a world-wide mintage of 5,000 coins and retails for $319.95 CAD.

2011 25-CENT COLOURED COIN-- BLACK CAPPED CHICKADEE

The Mint's wildly popular Birds of Canada series returns with a new coloured 25-cent coin celebrating the Black-Capped Chickadee. Illustrated by Ontario wildlife artist Arnold Nogy and reproduced in a vibrant paint application over a large nickel-plated steel coin, this official bird of New Brunswick is a year-round inhabitant of Canadian forests and can even be found thriving in the middle of Alaskan winters. This coin, which will appeal to coin collectors and birders alike, is limited to a mintage of 14,000 coins worldwide and retails for $25.95 CAD.

2011 25-CENT COLOURED COINS -- CANADIAN MYTHICAL CREATURES - MEMPHRÉ

The exciting 25-cent nickel-plated steel coin series of Canadian Mythical Creatures, kicked off by Sasquatch earlier this year, continues with the bold depiction of Memphré, a fantastic and mysterious sea monster said to lurk the great depths of Quebec's Lac Memphrémagog. Witnessed since the days of the lake's First Nations inhabitants, the story of Memphré evokes the myth of Scotland's Loch Ness Monster and British Columbia's Ogopogo.

The stories of sightings and intriguing theories fill the inside of an illustrated folder which complements the design of artist Emily S. Damstra. Available for $24.95 CAD while supplies last, this coin will be joined by Mishepishu of Algonquin legend later in 2011. Capture all three Canadian Mythical Creatures coins as a fun way to start collecting or to give as unique gifts... before they all slip away.

2011 125™ ANNIVERSARY OF VANCOUVER COLLECTOR CARD

The Mint has joined the celebration of the City of Vancouver's 125th anniversary with a complete set of 2011 uncirculated coins presented in a special-edition collector card displaying the many sights of this spectacular destination.  Voted by The Economist magazine as the world's most liveable city for five years in a row, Vancouver is a special place to live or visit. The 125th anniversary collector card is an excellent keepsake by which to treasure the memories of one of the greatest cities on earth.

This distinctly Canadian collectible is available at the retail price of $19.95 CAD, while supplies last.

2011 HOLIDAY GIFT SET

Knowing that it's never too early to start Christmas shopping, the Mint is not wasting another precious minute to unveil its 2011 Holiday Gift Set. This elegant gift idea features a the traditional engraving of an elaborate snowflake on the reverse design of a special-edition 25-cent coin which stands out from a die-cut window in the cover of the collection folder. This unique coin is joined by a full set of Canada's 2011 circulating coins. Each gift set retails for $19.95 CAD, while supplies last.

All of the Mint's products are available directly from the Mint at 1-800-267-1871 in Canada, 1-800-268-6468 in the US, or on the Internet at www.mint.ca. The coins are also available at the Royal Canadian Mint's boutiques in Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver, as well as a new Toronto CN Tower location, and through our global network of dealers and distributors, including participating Canada Post outlets.

About the Royal Canadian Mint
The Royal Canadian Mint is the Crown Corporation responsible for the minting and distribution of Canada's circulation coins. An ISO 9001-2008 certified company, the Mint is recognized as one of the largest and most versatile mints in the world, offering a wide range of specialized, high quality coinage products and related services on an international scale. For more information on the Mint, its products and services, visit. www.mint.ca

Images and product details of the Mint's newest collection are available by visiting
ftp://communications:RCM2007(5)ftp.mint.ca.

For further information:

Alex Reeves
Senior Manager, Communications
Telephone: (613) 949-5777
reeves@mint.ca