Modern Rarities Part 2

By Ian Brimble

One of our most popular articles last year explored modern rarities that can be found in circulation.  This included the 2000P dime, 1991 quarter, several 1992 quarter series errors and the 1993 mule (a coin made with a 1993 reverse and 1992 obverse).  This article prompted many readers to reach out with examples or further questions about modern errors or rarities, thus prompting this continuation on that topic. 

As mentioned in the first article, there are very few modern rarities that will generate a large windfall, however, there are some that are certainly worth looking for.  Discussed below are two examples of rare pennies along with several other uncommon errors. 

2006 Penny

Most Canadians will still have some pennies around even though they left circulation in 2012.  A large reason for the departure of the penny was that the cost of production became more and more significant as years passed.  According to the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM), the cost of penny production during 2012 was around 11 million dollars, which put the approximate cost to produce each penny at 1.6 cents, exceeding the value of the coin.  As a result, the decision was made to phase the penny out of circulation. 

2006 Penny

During the final decades of penny production, the RCM changed the composition several times in an effort to improve security and reduce costs of production.  From 1908 to 1996, pennies were mainly made from copper (95 – 98%). However, in 1997 the RCM began to produce pennies that were copper plated zinc, and again in 2000 they changed the composition to copper plated steel.  By 2006, the RCM was producing both copper plated zinc (non magnetic) and copper plated steel (magnetic) pennies in various quantities.  Two rarities emerged during this year; the 2006 no p magnetic (made of copper plated steel – see image A) and the 2006p non magnetic (made of copper plated zinc – see image B). 

2006 no P magnetic Image from Coins & Canada

Both of the coins pictured are relatively rare when compared to the other 2006 pennies produced that year.  The no P magnetic penny (image A) in excellent condition is valued between $100 and $300 in mint state (full red).  The 2006P non magnetic coin (image B) is valued between $100 and $700 in mint state (full red).  Given that these coins are no longer in circulation, there is a good chance that if you have one it could be in relatively good condition. 

2006 P non magnetic Image from Coinsunlimited.ca

2007 25 Cent Wheelchair Curling

In an effort to promote the upcoming 2010 Paralympic and Olympic Winter games being held in Vancouver, the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) began a series of 25 cent coins in 2007 through 2009. This started in 2007 with the release of coins focused on curling, ice hockey, biathlon and alpine skiing.  In July of 2007 the RCM released the first of the Paralympic coins focused on Wheelchair Curling.  Most of these coins featured a Paralympic athlete curling with an Obverse featuring Queen Elizabeth II and the 2010 Paralympic logo.  Some coins however, featured the Paralympic athlete on the reverse with the obverse from the 2010 Olympic coins which mistakenly featured the 2010 Olympic logo.  Any coin with mismatched obverse and reverse designs in numismatics is known as a Mule. 

2007 Wheelchair reverse

While this mule was only released in Olympic and Paralympic sets of 2007, it was quite a noteworthy error and is sought by collectors.  Most coins, having been preserved by being issued in sets, are in excellent condition and can fetch upwards of $500. 

Normal obverse
Mule obverse

1999 $2 Mule

In 1999, to commemorate Nunavut becoming Canada’s third territory, the RCM decided to develop a Nunavut $2 coin to celebrate this point in Canadian and Nunavut history.  The coin pictured the work of Nunavut First Nations artist Germaine Arnaktavyok.  This example, like many other Canadian coins, was produced in a variety of finishes.  Circulation strikes (also known as business strikes) were for general use by Canadians, and proof and specimen strikes were issued for special sets purchased by collectors.  Generally, proof and specimen strikes have a great deal more attention to detail put into their production and are produced using specialty dies that are more refined and polished so that the finished product has a mirror or frosted finish.  The details of the coin can also differ with proof and specimen finishes as illustrated in the images. 

1999 obverse

In 1999 an error was made at the RCM, which paired the 1999 circulation strike obverse with the 1999 proof strike obverse. 

Circulation reverse

It is not known how many 1999 $2 Nunavut Mules were produced by the RCM, but in good condition, its value can exceed $150. It is conceivable that there are several thousand in existence. 

Proof reverse (Mule). No ring present between the metals

If you believe you have found one of these rarities, please reach out to have it confirmed.  Happy hunting!