5630 Dunbar St. at 41st Ave.

Newsletter #59, October 27, 2004

Canada's Poppy Quarter Colour makes a comeback

Back to Newsletter index

The Royal Canadian Mint is attempting to circulate a coloured commemorative twenty five cent piece, marking Rememberance Day, observed here on November 11th, to celebrate the end of First World War hostilities in 1918. 

The coin bears a bold Maple Leaf, with a scroll beneath it saying Remember/Souvenir.  We are not a nation of illiterates, this is the word Remember in both of our official languages.  It is a confusing designation.  A line saying "Lest we forget" or "remember their sacrifices" or even the dates of Canada's wars, might have been a better way to denote the services of Canada's war veterans.

Canada's Poppy QuarterOf course there is the poppy, the central image of this coin, a time-honoured symbol of First World War sacrifices, which shared the Belgian and French fields with the war graves.  The Mint calls the Poppy quarter the World's first colourized coin made for circulation. 

Strangely, colouring coins was popular in the Victorian era, at the end of the nineteenth century, where coins were enamelled as jewellery items or keepsakes.  The Koreans made some Cloisonne coins way back in 1882. 

The current poppy quarter gained immediate notoriety as media reports announced that

the colours applied to the centers of the new poppy quarter were easily removed.  The Mint had to respond saying that the colour was designed to last for three years of wear, but that there is a poppy design under it anyway.

I doubt many cloisonne coins circulated for long.  Surely the Koreans suffered from the same sickness ordinary Canadians do.  If  it looks different save it, it might be worth something some day.  This will certainly be the case with poppy quarters.  They will be widely saved and few will circulate.  The coloured coins are thus a great keepsake, or memento, but are not likely destined to be a valuable collectible.

There are always media rumours around the launch of new coins.  Canadian coin enthusiasts will remember the ones about the 1987 Loon being recalled because the Queen was wearing the wrong crown, or the 1996 Toonies being valuable because the centers fell out.  Hopefully people learn the history behind the poppy quarters--the sacrifices Canadians made fighting in wars.  If colour can make a comeback, maybe peace can too.

Santa quarterThe coloured poppy quarter is the third commemorative coin the Mint has tried to circulate this year.  Good luck finding the ship quarter, commemorating 400 years of French settlement in North America, or the Olympic Lucky Loonie, in your change. Clearly, it is a good year to start a coin collection.

The Mint produced five different quarters this year, the standard caribou head design, the ship, a child's drawing of a Moose, nicknamed the Bullwinkle quarter, issued only in a fanny pack for Canada Day, the poppy quarter, and a coloured Santa Claus quarter, available only in the 2004 Holiday gift set.

The phrase let me see the colour of your money takes on new meaning in Canada at this time of year.  Canada's coins do not just shine anymore.  Are lighting effects next?

The Mint's novelty products are popular with the public and collectors. They seem new, but they are carrying on a Victorian-era tradition.  Money and coins need novelty to compete and thrive in a world where they are being replaced by electronic transactions.  When you can pay for parking with a card or cellphone even a coin with lighting effects is not much use.  Enjoy the thrill of the hunt for Canada's new and old coins and take a moment to learn some history along the way. 

On May 7, 2007 The Associated Press issued a press release under the heading “Canada's poppy quarters caused sensational warnings of 'spy coins' in U.S.” The harmless "poppy quarter" was so unfamiliar to suspicious U.S. army contractors traveling in Canada that they filed confidential espionage accounts about them. Read the newsletter.

2008 60th Anniversary Poppy Quarter.

Back to index

Newsletter #60
The Lemuel Owen Covers & Correpondence - an original find

Home - Info - Auction - Sales - Appraisal
All Nations Stamp & Coin

5630 Dunbar St. at 41st Ave.
Vancouver, BC, V6N 1W7

Phone: 604-684-4613

e-mail: collect@direct.ca

site design and maintenance © 2008 WhateverWerx Multimedia