Silver Maple Leaf Coin Review

Introduction

Eleven years after the Maple Leaf Gold Coin was issued, the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) surprised the world with the first-ever silver bullion coin to achieve a purity level of .9999. RCM meant business with the Silver Maple Leaf Coin. Its inception was a huge success and the Silver Maple Leaf Coin grew to be the second most minted silver bullion coin after the American Silver Eagle Coin. It is a privilege for me to share this Silver Maple Leaf Coin Review with you.

Silver as money has a rich history that even surpasses gold. Private citizens are returning back to their roots in the rediscovery of solutions to protect the free man and the free market. In this quest, the Silver Maple Leaf Coin has risen as a true vehicle to carry the name of silver for ordinary people to invest or to collect. The coin trades at values linked to the spot price of silver which is much higher than its marked face value of only 5 Canadian dollars.

Let’s first look at the specifications of the 1 oz Silver Maple Leaf bullion coin to help you identify the real deal, shall we?

Silver Maple Leaf Coin’s Specifications

1 Oz Silver Maple Leaf CoinSpecifications
MintRoyal Canadian Mint
First Year Issued1988
Silver Content1 Troy Ounce
Silver Purity (fineness)9999
Weight31.10 gram
Diameter37.97 mm
Thickness3.29 mm
EdgeSerrated
Legal Tender$5 CAD – Backed by the Canadian Government
Obverse Design1988-1989: Arnold Machin
1990-2002: Dora de Pedrey-Hunt
2003 – present: Susanna Blunt
Reverse DesignWalter Ott (RCM)
IRA accountEligible

Silver Maple Leaf Features and Appearance

The Silver Maple Leaf coin is one of the easiest recognizable coins in the world with its simplistic design. The design is identical to the Gold Maple Leaf and has remained unchanged since its introduction in 1988. The coin’s simplistic design is complemented by its impressive security features.

The Obverse

The obverse design features the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, heralded as the Queen of Canada. There are three subsequent designs of the Queen’s profile depicting her at a different age.

Susanna Blunt’s portrait of the Queen without the crown was first minted in 2004. Her initials “SB” are engraved on the Queen’s right shoulder.

Inscribed following the top curve is “ELIZABETH II”

The bottom curve the coin’s face value of “5 Dollars” and the Year of Issue.

Canadian Silver Maple Leaf obverseFrom the year 2014, the radial lines which enhance the security features of the Silver Maple Leaf surround the Queen’s portrait.

The Reverse

Silver Maple Leaf coin review 1988 silver maple leaf coin reverse side
1988 Silver Maple Leaf Picture Source: Liberty Coin

The Silver Maple Leaf Coin features the iconic, instantly recognized Canadian maple leaf. The maple leaf is the National symbol of Canada and paraded on its National Flag. The maple leaf appeared on all Canadian coins from 1876-1901. Today the Maple Leaf no longer appears on all the coins.

The inscriptions are:
Along the top curve “CANADA”.
The legend right and left side of the leaf “9999”.
Bottom curve: “FINE SILVER 1 OZ ARGENT PUR”.

One word that comes to mind when looking at the reverse design is stability. That is due to the fact that the reverse design remained relatively unchanged since its inception in 1988. I use the word “relatively” because various security features were added to the design over its lifespan changing slightly the features of the reverse side of the coin.

Features

Silver Maple Leaf Coin Review features
Distinguished Features of the Silver Maple Leaf Coin

The bigger the silver bullion that you buy, the bigger is the risk of buying fake silver. One ounce silver coins are the most difficult to counterfeit when buying silver bullion. The RCM is the leading mint in the world with security features against counterfeiting.

Their flagship product the 1-ounce 99.99% pure silver Maple Leaf bullion coin is being continuously enhanced with world-class features over its proud history.

2014 – Features

Radial lines

Radial lines that emanate from the center of the coin replaced the traditional smooth finish. The radial lines create a light diffracting pattern giving a distinguished look to the coin. The lines that are precisely micron engraved are extremely difficult and costly to counterfeit.

Micro engraved security mark

The micro-engraved maple leaf is the unique enhanced security mark of the RCM. The maple leaf is engraved by laser technology. There is a number engraved inside of the micro leaf which is more easily visible with a magnifying glass. The number is for the year the coin was issued.

2015 – Features

Bullion DNA

Every Silver Maple Leaf coin produced from 2015 onwards contains a digital non-destructive activation (DNA) technology. Each coin is encrypted with images and codes which are stored in the RCM database. Bullion dealers can verify the authenticity of registered Silver Maple Leaf coins within seconds.

2018 – Features

MintShield surface protection

The MintShield is a unique manufacturing process developed by the RCM after years of research to reduce white spots also called milk spots that appear on the surface of pure silver bullion coins. The Silver Maple Leafs bullion coins dated 2018 and later are protected with MintShield, significantly reducing the occurrence of white spots.

Special Releases

RCM issued a number of special releases of the Silver Maple Leaf coins which are categorized in 5 categories by Wikiwand:

  1. Commemorative editions
    These coins issued to serve as collector’s items were issued to commemorate a particular event or an occasion and distinct design. To highlight a few: 1998, 10-ounce reverse proof edition celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Silver Maple Leaf. The Maple Leaf Forever series with three maple leaf symbols on the reverse.
  2. Editions with special privy marks
    The Royal Canadian Mint is well known in the world for the use of symbols, animals and objects to celebrate special events, important historic dates or to create different coin series. These privy marks range from the Titanic, Fireworks (1999-2000), D-Day to Yin and Yang (2016).
  3. Fractional editions
    Collectible fractional coins are issued in sets of 1, ½, ¼, 1/10 – ounce for the numismatic market. Only a limited mintage is manufactured to increase the value of these sets.
  4. Nature related themes
    The coins issued to celebrate the many animals found in Canada have proven to be very popular among collectors. These are the Canadian Wildlife Series, Birds of Prey Series, Predator Series, and the Canadian Arctic Series.
  5. Colored hologram
    The hologram colored coins are popular among collectors. These coins reflect various natural colors as the coin is moved. The Chinese hologram series is a well-known edition of the Silver Maple Leaf coins.
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The Pros of the Silver Maple Leaf Coin

Lets look at the many Pros of buying and owning a Silver Maple Leaf coin.

1. Purity of 99.99%

The Silver maple Leaf coin’s purity is its strongest selling point. Who would thought back in 1988 that a silver coin with 99.99% purity would be such a success? The Royal Canadian Mint identified this section of the market and satisfied the need for extremely fine coins.

2. Technical perfection

The Royal Canadian Mint is at the forefront of technical perfection in its production process. The Silver Maple Leaf coins are subjected to strict quality standards before being released to the public. When you buy this coin you buy a quality silver product.

3. Beautiful artistry

It is the second most recognizable coin in the world after the American Silver Eagle. Many people love the design and praise the Maple’s 3D appearance. It is easier to sell an identifiable coin irrespective of where you are in the world.

4. Lower premiums

Even though the coin’s purity is higher than the Silver Eagle coin, it sells at slightly lower premiums above the silver spot price than its main rival. For a silver investor who is buying bulk quantities, this is an important advantage.

5. Consistent design

The Royal Canadian Mint keeps the design unchanged in a similar fashion as the Krugerrand which provides stability to the silver coin. Even people that do not own a Silver Maple Leaf coin can recognize the design.

6. Affordable

The coin trades at low premiums above the silver spot price which makes it one of the most affordable ways to invest in silver bullion.

7. Liquidity

At its low prices, the Silver Maple Leaf can quickly be turned into cash. Functioning in an active market, it is said that they are even more liquid than gold. Since the Silver Maple Leaf contains 1 – ounce silver it trades at smaller fractions that can easier be sold than large silver bars. You also have the ability to sell fractions of your collection in case of an emergency.

8. Portability

They are easily portable as these coins are sold individually, packed in plastic tubes of 25 or monster boxes of 500.

9. Value preservation

Silver is known for its ability to preserve its value over time.

10. Guaranteed by Government of Canada

As a legal tender with a face value of $5 CAD the 1 ounce Silver Maple Leaf coin is backed by the Government of Canada and sold without VAT charges. The coins sell at much higher values than their face value depending on the spot price of silver.

11. IRA eligible

All Silver Maple Leaf coins are eligible to be placed inside a self-directed Independent Retirement Account.

12. Security

Last but not least. What makes this coin famous is its many security features that effectively combat counterfeiting. These security features give an investor or collector unparalleled peace of mind when investing in the Silver Maple Leaf coin.

The Cons of the Silver Maple Leaf Coin

There are not many downsizes to the coin but lets look at the most known cons of the Silver Maple Leaf coin.

1.Milk spots

Silver Maple Leaf coin review milk-spots on coin

The problem of the unsightly milky-like appearance on the coins is well documented. If the contamination was caused by the manufacturing process it is irreversible.

These milk spots have no negative effect on the silver value of the coin but it severely affects its numismatic value. The Royal Canadian Mint put vast resources in research and development to combat the appearance of this contamination. All their work resulted in their famous Mintshield protection against contamination that is prevalent in coins issued after 2018.

The milk spot occurrence is not unique to the Silver Maple Leaf coins. It appears in a number of coins including the Silver Eagle and the Krugerrand silver coin.

It is more difficult to sell coins with milk spots and the price drops significantly when selling. On the upswing, you will pay a lower premium when buying these coins, which can be a good strategy when investing in the silver metal value only.

2. The Queen

This is something I was not familiar with before I started my research. Many people actually do not like the obverse effigy of the Queen. It became also clear that people do not want to support the Queen and they feel that they support the British Monarch if they buy the coin.

Some people also believe that the Queen depicted without her crown from 2004 onwards remove the classy look of previous coins where she wears the crown.

3. Fluctuations of the silver market

The silver market is a tiny market in comparison to the gold market and the stock exchange. Any large sale or purchase of silver contracts can affect this market severely resulting in fluctuations. The Silver Maple Leaf coin’s price is directly linked to the spot price of silver. The coin’s prices fluctuate with the rise and fall of the silver spot price which can be daunting for investors.

Final Thoughts

In the Silver Maple Leaf Coin review, the reader is guided through the important aspects of this silver bullion coin. Much more could be said about this state-of-the-art coin, especially about all the special releases of the coin throughout its history.

It is regarded by many as the best silver bullion coin. What comes to mind to make such a monumental claim is the Silver Maple Leaf coin’s:

  • purity (99.99%).
  • high technical standards with its production.
  • Security features.

In my opinion, the Silver Maple Leaf coin is truly a masterpiece, manufactured by one of the best mints in the world and a definite candidate for consideration when buying silver. My word of caution is to be careful of those milk spots.

13 thoughts on “Silver Maple Leaf Coin Review”

  1. I got my love of coin collecting from my uncle, who had a huge stash.  My husband and my daughter also share a passion for collecting.  I haven’t heard of these coins before (perhaps because they’re Canadian?) but I’m definitely interested in acquiring some.  

    While you mention the fluctuations in the silver market as being a “con”, it’s important to see it like any other market fluctuation:  Buy low and sell high. Or buy it now and keep it for a few years to enjoy.  

    What about these milk spots?  I would like some, as anomalies are interesting to me and, at times, can make an item more valuable over the course of time.  It sounds like I can intentionally buy these at a lower price.  Is this true?

    Reply
    • Hi Cynthia it is great to get a comment from another coin collector. And thank you for your excellent questions. 
      Many people especially “newbies” to the precious market find it difficult to grasp the fluctuations in the silver price. Meaning that when the price drops they feel that they have suddenly lost a whole lot of money.

      If you are a trader those fluctuations are your “bread and butter” but many people forget that they are playing against the Big Banks if they trade over the short term. The banks control this market and you cannot outplay them. Therefore it is extremely difficult and risky to get short-term trading right. We at Numismatic Traders are advocates of investing in precious metals as long term asset classes.  

      You are spot on with your comment about milk spots. The opportunity is there to buy these coins at lower prices and because of their “rarity” and “special marks” over time be able to achieve more growth in value. The only one who can tell for certain is “time”. 

      Reply
  2. What an extremely well-written article.  This topic is a great choice for any Canadian or coin collector and you were extremely thorough when constucting your article.  Since I am unfamiliar with Canadian coins, I regret that I cannot provide any specific comments for your article. I have some older American coins which I received from my Grandfather that I still treasure, but regrettably, they have limited extra value. However, I certainly wanted to let you know that I enjoyed reading such an informative and well organized article.

    Reply
    • Thank you for reading my article Sandy.  It is always so nice to have sentimental value to coins that can be passed on to future generations.  Another side of the coin, excuse the pun 🙂 is the investor’s potential when looking at purchasing coins and that is when one needs to focus on the silver content. The price of silver doubled in 2020.  

      Reply
  3. Hi there Louis! Beautiful review on Silver Maple Leaf Coin. For me? Its a no to the Maple Leaf coin. I think the quality of the Maple Leaf is too spotty for me (pun intended.) I’ll take a nice-looking coin over a .9999 silver coin anyday. The extra “9” means so little. I think the Libertad, Panda, Taku are much better coins

    Reply
    • Thank you for your comment. For many people, the extra 9 in the purity level adds little value. Maybe it is an indication of the care that is being taken during the production process that is important.

      The milk spots before 2018 issues do not appear on every coin and are an exception rather than a rule. Thank you for the suggestion, I will definitely cover the Libertad, Panda and Taku as well.  

      Reply
  4. It Is really interesting to read about something of great importance ans history like this, this is actually the first time I’m reading so extensively about it and I think it is very good to know about. I’d love to get more articles like this and it’ll be nice if I can share this to some of my friends.

    Reply
  5. Beautiful piece of art, I think plants on coins create a stunning effect.
    Thank you for your insight, and keep up the good work

    Reply
  6. Wow, I’ve been looking for the right silver coin for quite some time now.
    The silver eagle is an impressive coin no doubt, but this is something else.
    Great article, loaded with all the right information as usual.

    Reply
    • Thank you Hynnrich. One doesn’t have to think hard and look far. The evidence of the Silver Maple Leaf coin is right in front of our eyes.

      Reply
  7. What a piece of art this is, there is some kind of magical effect it produces by bringing the two elements of flaura, and metal together.
    Thank you for your insight, and keep up the good work!

    Reply

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