Royal Canadian Mint Silver Bars

Canada, a ruggedly beautiful northern land which stretches around Hudson’s Bay and includes quite a bit of territory above the Arctic Circle, has a number of claims to fame, both past and current, natural and man-made. From the beauty of its lakes, rivers, and forests to its remarkably successful mix of public and private health insurance, from its wilderness areas to its clean, attractive cities, Canada stands out in a number of ways.

However, to those who are interested in precious metals, Canada is one of the capitals of world silver bullion coin production. Silver Maple Leaves, bearing the recent but highly distinctive emblematic leaf of the Canadian nation, are coveted by coin collectors across the world not only because of their extremely high production values, but because they contain more silver than most of the other world’s coins.

Where most governments are content to offer 99.9% pure silver – and a few, like the Chinese and Americans, sometimes mint coins with inexplicably low silver content of around 90% pure silver – the Canadians are determined to produce coins that have a comparative advantage over others due to their 99.99% pure silver content (.9999 fineness instead of .999). This really just translates into a tiny additional amount of silver, but many collectors like the fact that there are a few additional molecules of the precious metals in the coins they buy.

The Royal Canadian Mint strikes many of these coins, but they do not limit themselves exclusively to such products. Instead, they also make silver bars, which are a good investment for those who want to buy silver primarily as a commodity and store of value, rather than for numismatic premiums offered by rare, collectible coins.

100 Ounce Royal Canadian Mint Silver Bars

The Royal Canadian Mint produces silver bars – and even silver wafers (that is, rounds), and silver grain, at various times. The Mint, like its American counterpart, does not sell directly to the public, unlike many of the world’s mints which are quite happy to maintain online stores of their own. Instead, the Royal Canadian Mint sells to a network of approved buyers, which includes both Internet and brick and mortar operations in various countries.

Because of this, it is difficult to know exactly which silver bar products are currently being produced by the Mint, since the companies who serve as buyers and who then resell the silver to the public may be selling off existing stocks even after the Royal Canadian Mint has ceased production.

The Royal Canadian Mint Silver Bar which is most readily available today is the 100 ounce silver bar. People seem to prefer buying 100 ounce bars in any case, at a price of close to $4,000 when premiums above spot, commissions, and so on are figured in. 100 ounce bars, which weigh six and one quarter pounds (2.8409 kilograms), are popular because they contain a lot of value, yet are easily portable and fit snugly into a standard sized safe deposit box.

The Royal Canadian Mint bars are well received because they make use of the same ultra-pure silver as does the coinage produced by the northern country. The silver bars, regardless of what size happens to be available at the moment, are 99.99% pure silver – with a “fineness” of .9999, to use the millesimal fineness scale – which sets them ahead of the competing silver bars produced by Johnson Matthey, APMEX, Sunshine Minting, and so on by about 1/10 ounce of silver in every 100 ounce bar. Having found a good advertising feature, the Royal Canadian Mint is clearly determined to make the most of it.

Royal Canadian Mint silver bars are a chunky 4/5 of an inch (20 mm) thick, and is a slab some 3 inches by 7 inches. The bars are fairly plain and bear none of the decorative flourishes some other silver bars do, but those who have bought them report that the brilliance of the product is blinding in any case. The bars bear a small, round badge with a stylized, almost cubist maple leaf, wreathed about with the legend “Royal Canadian Mint – Monnaie Royale Canadienne”. Below this is a serial number, and then the legend “100 tr. oz. Ag 999.9”. Like the whole bar, the inscriptions are to the point and do not detract from the stark, mirrored beauty of this tablet of concentrated value.

About the Royal Canadian Mint

The Royal Canadian Mint began around the turn of the 20th century, when Canada had achieved enough independent existence to no longer be supplied purely with currency printed or minted in England. Construction of the first mint building began in Ottawa in 1901, but it was not until 1908 that the slow process was completed and the Mint finally opened.

The Royal Canadian Mint broke away from the British Royal Mint in 1931, at the time when the gold standard, as well as austerity measures designed to reduce the already cramped money supply, flung much of the world into the Great Depression (except for the Chinese, who had prudently adopted a silver standard and were thus spared the catastrophe which the gold standard inflicted on much of the rest of the world). The Mint in Canada began production of its own coins without British input.

1969 was a watershed year for the Royal Canadian Mint, because it became a Crown Corporation in that year. This means that it is entirely owned by the Canadian government, but receives literally zero revenue from tax receipts. The Mint works exactly like a business, providing itself with necessary operating funds by earning them through sales – precisely like the United States Post Office, which has not received a penny of government funding since the mid 1970s and has functioned exactly like a private corporation since then.

Due to its success and expansion, the Royal Canadian Mint also opened a branch in Winnipeg, which is charged with producing currency for other nations that wish to hire the Mint’s services, preferring its expertise to that of their own mint officials. Cuba, Norway, Yemen, and Iceland are just a few of the approximately six dozen countries that make use of the Winnipeg facility’s services frequently.

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