This 20-Dollar coin is certified to be 99.99% fine silver with a diameter of 40 millimetres and a metal weight of 28.02 grams. The reverse image by Canadian artist Tivadar Bote features a unique stylized image, inspired by woodblock design, of an Arctic Fox set against symbolic elements of its Canadian habitat. The fox sits serenely in the foreground of the image, looking toward the left side of the field, its thick fur, fluffy tail, small ears, and dog-like facial features beautifully rendered in stylized detail. In the background, motifs of circles, droplets, and wavy rays rise from the image of a circular sunburst positioned directly behind the fox. The circles and droplets symbolize the snow and light that are fundamental elements in the world of the Arctic Fox. The wavy rays allude to the warmth and brilliance of the sun, even in the Arctic landscape. The circularity of these elements echoes the circular field of the coin and hints at the cyclical nature of the Arctic Fox’s lifecycle. The outer frame is engraved with the species’ Latin name, “Vulpes lagopus,” the word “CANADA,” the date “2013,” and the face value of “20 DOLLARS.” The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.
- First issue in the Royal Canadian Mint’s exciting new Untamed Canada series featuring a bold artistic direction. This coin showcases five different coin finishes each with a separate degree of luster, exceptional engraving techniques and woodblock-inspired art.
- A dramatic approach to coin design inspired by the untamed nature of the Arctic Fox rendered in 99.99% fine silver in a rare 40-millimetre diameter, to showcase the art and artistry.
- Low mintage of 8,500 coins is sure to make this series a favourite among collectors.
- A beautiful gift and distinguished addition to any collection featuring pure silver coins, nature and wildlife, unique and bold artwork, artisan themes, or Canadiana.
Coin is encapsulated and presented in a Royal Canadian Mint-branded maroon clamshell case lined with black flock and protected by a black sleeve.
Finished Size: 67 x 67 mm
Just slightly larger than the average housecat, Vulpes lagopus—the Arctic fox—is Canada’s smallest member of the canidae family. A silent, prolific hunter, the Arctic fox’s diet consists largely of lemmings; it will kill dozens a day, particularly when hunting for its brood of, on average, about 6 pups. The population cycle of the Arctic fox is thus intrinsically tied to the mysterious waxing and waning of the global lemming cycle, which peaks and then diminishes to near zero levels about every 4 years. Where available, the fox will also eat eggs, squirrels, berries, birds, small marine animals, fish, and carrion.
The pelt of the Arctic fox is unmatched for warmth, sustaining it at temperatures below -50° Celsius. Its fur is brown, grey-brown, blue-grey, or dark blue-grey in the warmer months. In the long Arctic winter, most turn pure white, although some populations show lighter blue-grey through the winter phase. The fox’s thick fur covers its small rounded ears and even the pads of its feet, for optimum warmth.
The Lemming’s Last Tale
The snow moves behind me. It twitches like the thick tail of the one the Inuit call Tiriganiaq—my kind’s most feared hunter. He is the sly shape-shifter who sits in wait, grey against the seashore stone, brown against the hard earth of the summer tundra, waiting like a rooted bush as we gather our food. In winter, he becomes as white as… snow.
It is a lean year and I am one of the last of my kind. Every day I must go further to find food, venturing beyond my safe, hidden world between the earth and the snow into the bitter white realm above. And now I feel the strange, shifting shape behind me, a staring beast with eyes of bluest ice stalking across the snow on feet padded with soft white fur. To me, this mound of white is more massive than a mountain—although there are other beasts nearby who dwarf the shape-shifter. Dwarf him, yes, but never outwit him.
How I fear this silent, inscrutable snow-beast stalking me. I know that for him, my death means life. For his partner, too, and the many pups they will care for together as the winter snows give way to green once again. He is hungry. If he cannot catch me, he will have to travel far for food—as do all of his kind in the lean years.
I see his sharp teeth in my mind’s eye, appearing from nowhere, snatching at my death as I leap for a hole in the hard-packed snow. The frozen wind’s chiding is lost on him; it cannot penetrate his thick pelt. His fur-lined feet move faster, yet are ever silent. I leap below the snow. Here is my burrow. I will be safe—for surely he cannot find me here, can he?
Item Number: 123231
Face Value: $20
Composition: 99.99% fine silver
Weight (g): 28.02 (7/8oz)
Diameter (mm): 40
Artist: Tivadar Bote (reverse), Susanna Blunt (obverse)