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Really Using - Getting Extra Bang From The Buck

Tom Becker

It seems soon after coins were invented people understood that these little disks could be used as powerful advertising and marketing tools. Putting a king or queen's likeness on coins served to remind everyone about who was in charge and provided a face to put with the name. The peasants might have heard about Leopold the Hogmouth, but seeing him on a coin had to be special.

These days, when every citizen is overwhelmed by advertising it seems coin producing governments, especially in a forward thinking place like Canada are missing out on a splendid revenue producing opportunity. I'm not suggesting the RCM sell the rights to the reverse of a certain denomination of coin to someone who sells donuts or car tires. For now, that temptation might be left on the drawing board. What seems unobtrusive and still a moneymaker would be to sell the edges of coins.

There is strong precedent for putting messages on the third side of coins. Many English coins have been made with lettered edges and so the idea shouldn't seem entirely alien to many Canadians.

From the RCM's standpoint the project would be a snap. Any business wishing to advertise could supply the mint with a brief message and sign up to have a few million coins carry the advertising. For example, the edge of a Loon dollar might read, “Use me to buy a Molson's”. Or maybe, “This coin buys more at Canadian Tire”.

A psychiatric clinic might advertise on newly minted coins with lucky numbers stamped into the edge. Once the coins have circulated for a while the company could announce that if someone can find coin 00367Z it can be redeemed for one million dollars. Of course, all but the single special coin have the number 00366Z on the edge.

Special interest groups might find such an advertising opportunity to be a bargain. In a modern society everyone handles money. Money is not only mobile it is durable.

A myriad of special edge varieties would take Canadian numismatics to previously unobtainable levels of intensity. Every year, countless new types could be easily created and the edge lettering would dramatically alter the way we handle, look at and display coins. One can also anticipate blundered edge lettering that would result in even more exciting varieties. The standard Viagra coin might be little more than pocket change while finding the inverted V variety could be quite stimulating.

I certainly don't expect anyone at the RCM to pay attention to my ideas. The mint is already making more money than most collectors know what to do with.


Tom Becker is a regular contributor to the Canadian Coin Reference Site, you can direct your questions directly to Tom easily by or visit Tom's website @


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