5630 Dunbar St. at 41st Ave.

Newsletter #76, April 1, 2006

Breast Cancer Awareness colourized quarter enters circulation

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The Royal Canadian Mint launched it's second colourized, circulating twenty five cents coin on March 31, 2006. 30 Million coins, bearing pink ribbons symbolizing hope for a cure for the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer found in Canadian women, are being distributed. Designed by in-house engraver Cosme Saffioti, and incorporating the Queen's portrait by Vancouver artist Susanna Blunt, the new coins are heat cured for a longer lasting coloured component.

The Royal Canadian Mint produced it's first colourized circulating coin two years ago.The quarter, which featured a red poppy flower, was issued to mark the sacrifices of war veterans. Last year, the Mint produced a commemorative circulating dollar showing the likeness of cross country runner, and cancer victim, Terry Fox.

Cancer quarter

Aside from creating awareness of sacrifices made by, and challenges facing, ordinary Canadians, the novel coins give collectors and non collectors alike something to scour their change for. The fundraising component of the cancer awareness coins is as unclear as it was with the Olympic-themed Mint issues, but the pink ribbon coin is endorsed by the Canadian Breast Cancer foundation.

The ribbon motif is repeated three times around the perimeter of the coin, giving it a somewhat exotic appearance. Poppy quarters and Terry Fox dollars are seldom seen in change. These commemorative coins are so popular that they are avidly hoarded in roll form, or as soon as they enter circulation, somewhat diminishing their educational impact.

For cancer sufferers, a coin recognizing the impact of their illnesses, may provide an additional affirmation that others care. With a variety of tie-in Mint products it would be nice if the fundraising component were clearer.

The Mint has produced a coin that reminds us of the need for a cure for breast, and other, cancers. This new piece continues a modern Mint tradition of celebrating quiet, everyday Canadian heroes, who deserve to be remembered in our thoughts and in our charitable giving.

What's next, a red cross coin promoting blood donation? Perhaps a rainbow coloured coin advocating HIV awareness? If the Mint can produce coins that circulate successfully, and retain their added colour, are commercial coins out of the question? The Mint are already skirting the bounds of this by having charity awareness coins sponsored or distributed by corporations. Is a "Starbuck" or "McQuarter" really that far off and if there were a clearer charity component might that be okay?

Do you like a little colour with your change and can it make a difference?

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Newsletter #77

Mosaic street art

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