Coin, Canada, Elizabeth II
100 Dollars - 1976 - Royal Canadian Mint - Ottawa
Young bust right, maple leaf below, date at right, plain borders
Past and present Olympic figures, denomination at right
- Country: Canada
- Denomination: 100 Dollars
- Year: 1976
- Mint name: Royal Canadian Mint
- Composition: Gold
- Fineness: 0.91700000000000004
- Diameter: 25
- Subject: 1976 Montreal Olympics
- Mintage: 337342
- Ruler Name: Elizabeth II
- Strike: Proof coinage
- Packaging: with certificate
- KM: 116
- Queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms: 1952–2022
- Dynasty: House of Windsor
- Predecessor: George VI
- Successor : Charles III
- Regime: Parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born in London in April 1926. She married Philip Mountbatten in 1947 and acceded to the throne in 1952 upon the death of George VI. She was 25 years old when she became queen and reigned over the 15 Commonwealth realms. Among others, these include the United Kingdom (of course), Canada, New Zealand, the Bahamas, and Jamaica.
Her coronation at Westminster in 1953 was the first ever to be broadcast on television. She celebrated her Diamond Jubilee (60 years on the throne) in 2012. In 2015, she broke the record for longevity of reign previously held by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. A great many coins and a great many banknotes featuring the effigy of the Queen were issued by the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms during her reign.
She passed away in September 2022, having celebrated her Platinum Jubilee (70 years on the throne) just a few months earlier. Her eldest son then acceded to the throne as Charles III.
Picture: Official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, unknown photographer (1959) - Library and Archives Canada (CC)
Although nowadays gold enjoys a reputation as the king of precious metals, that was not always the case. For example, in Ancient Greece, Corinthian bronze was widely considered to be superior. However, over the course of time, it has established itself as the prince of money, even though it frequently vies with silver for the top spot as the standard.
Nevertheless, there are other metals which appear to be even more precious than this duo, take for example rhodium and platinum. That is certain. Yet, if the ore is not as available, how can money be produced in sufficient quantities? It is therefore a matter of striking a subtle balance between rarity and availability.
But it gets better: gold is not only virtually unreactive, whatever the storage conditions (and trouser pockets are hardly the most precious of storage cases), but also malleable (coins and engravers appreciate that).
It thus represents the ideal mix for striking coins without delay – and we were not going to let it slip away!
The chemical symbol for gold is Au, which derives from its Latin name aurum. Its origins are probably extraterrestrial, effectively stardust released following a violent collision between two neutron stars. Not merely precious, but equally poetic…
The first gold coins were minted by the kings of Lydia, probably between the 8th and 6th century BC. Whereas nowadays the only gold coins minted are investment coins (bullion coins) or part of limited-edition series aimed at collectors, that was not always the case. And gold circulated extensively from hand to hand and from era to era, from the ancient gold deposits of the River Pactolus to the early years of the 20th century.
As a precious metal, in the same way as silver, gold is used for minting coins with intrinsic value, which is to say the value of which is constituted by the metal from which they are made. Even so, nowadays, the value to the collector frequently far exceeds that of the metal itself...
It should be noted that gold, which is naturally very malleable, is frequently supplemented with small amounts of other metals to render it harder.
The millesimal fineness (or alloy) of a coin indicates the exact proportion (in parts per thousand) of gold included in the composition. We thus speak, for example, of 999‰ gold or 999 parts of gold per 1 part of other metals. This measure is important for investment coins such as bullion. In France, it was expressed in carats until 1995.
An “MS(63)” quality
As in numismatics it is important that the state of conservation of an item be carefully evaluated before it is offered to a discerning collector with a keen eye.
This initially obscure acronym comprising two words describing the state of conservation is explained clearly here:
This means – more prosaically – that it is very unlikely that the coin has circulated, even among few and careful hands. Traces of any manipulations are practically imperceptible and no patina or other form of oxidation has altered the object’s brilliance.