Diana’s geeky Canadian dinosaur-coin collection

July 17, 2013 • 8:27 am
It’s not I who coined the word “geeky” for this collection, but reader Diana MacPherson, a frequent commenter who sent me photos of her small horde of Canadian dinosaur coins. I didn’t know these things existed, much less that, after three of them are exposed to the sun, glow-in-the-dark images of their skeletons appear. From her email:
I thought I’d show you my geeky dinosaur coin collection from the Canadian Mint. Because of this collection my friends all consider me a 12 year old boy even though I’m a woman in her 40s. Meh, I don’t mind. I get along well with 12 year old boys and all my friends’ kids think I’m cool!
The Mint started putting out their glow-in-the-dark dinosaur series in 2012. They glow in the dark as skeletons. The designs are all approved by the Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology (I’ve visited the Royal Tyrell and it is awesome).
The last silver coin is another Canadian Mint series that showcases dinosaurs discovered in Canada. This is their first issue which the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology also verifies.
Here they all are in order (links describe each coin).

I’m sure, by the way, that Matthew Cobb will object to the absence of a Stegosaurus.


After she sent me the lot above, I said I’d publish the photo and story if she’d replicate the photo showing the skeletons that appear in the dark after exposure to sunlight:

I have accomplished the task 🙂 They are lined up in the same order as the non glowing picture minus of course the one non glowing coin (Bathygnathus borealis).


The first two are no longer available; the last one just came out. One interesting fact is they come in a box that also glows in the dark and inside that is another box with a card that provides info about the coin/dinosaur. I noticed that Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai actually was printed in error with a capital “L” on lakustai. All the others were correct. Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai was the first in the series and they had production issues with the coin (the glow wasn’t working I think) so maybe this was just one of the kinks they worked out as the other coin inserts were correct.


69 thoughts on “Diana’s geeky Canadian dinosaur-coin collection

  1. Naturally, I have to comment on the fact that only one of those coins has a picture of a dinosaur on it. 🙂

    1. I was just going to point out the same thing. The “Dinosaur Collection” is 75% “not dinosaur.”

      1. Ha ha! Yes, I made that slip. I remember thinking they weren’t all dinos after I got Quetzalcoatlus which was the second issue. The Mint calls them “Prehistoric Creatures” and probably my 6 year old self would’ve known the difference but my 43 year old self is lazy. 🙂

        1. OTOH, the dollar coin (not part of the series) has had a dinosaur on it for as long as I can remember.

              1. LOL No, I was actually referring to the common loon. Being American puts me in a lousy position to criticize any other country’s government.

        2. I should also have commented about how cool they are as you took the trouble of collecting them & sharing the photos, but I hope that you took it as a given for the commenters at this site!

          1. Yeah I don’t take offence that easily! 🙂 I knew the others were reptiles too I just was intellectually lazy. 😀

  2. “The first two are no longer available”
    As you might have guessed, there are many of them on eBay.

    1. Yeah, I think with the first one they let people buy as many as they wanted as well and the Mint quickly sold out. Then they had production issues which meant it was even longer to get the coin. After that, they limited purchases to 3 per household but I’m sure people find a way to scoop a lot and sell them….this is why I’m always quick to rush to the Mint’s site & order when the new ones come out.

  3. A $20 coin! And Canadian dollars, too! That’s some real money — it’s gotta be almost $30 US, about enough to feed a family of five at such a high-brow restaurant as McDonald’s!


  4. Couldn’t find them on their website. Are these special versions of circulation strikes that don’t have the glow feature, or are they only available in glow mode?

    That said, I always liked the elk and beaver on the qtrs & nickels resp. But having the same monarch portrait on the other side tempers enthusiasm.

    1. The links in the post should take you to the site. They aren’t part of regular currency and they only make so many….so when I get notice that a new one is out I buy it ASAP.

      1. Yep, realized afterward that the Bathygnathus link goes to something else.

        These are cool, but I like Darwin on the £10 note and £2(?) coin more, esp since they circulate. (Would be fun to walk into Ham’s operation and pull out one of those & say that’s all I have.)

        Meant to congratulate you on having gotten rid of the penny, too.

  5. These are so danged beautiful. What a wonderful idea and I’d love to know the history of their development. I’m glad Professor Coyne insisted on the additional photo. I’ve always thought that at least some coins ought to be special and wonderful. These are. I wonder whether any of the non-dinos share genes with with dinos. Am I glad you sent these, Ms. MacPherson. Cheers.

  6. I’m hoping they issue a stegosaurus but I was delighted that the first was a ceratopsian because those are my favourite.

    Don’t be confused by the “Diane” – that is Jerry’s nick name for me. 😉

  7. Those are real cool Diana.We hope to visit Tyrrell in the fall. You know I appreciate the great job our mint is doing: A dollar coin and a very attractive $2.00 coin and I haven’t seen a penny in months now. Joy.

    1. I loved the Royal Tyrrell. It is really well put together and the artwork at the site is top notch. You can go on a guided tour of the badlands too. I would’ve gone myself without a guide but you can get lost there really easy and when I went GPS satellites weren’t as abundant so you lost signal when you got in the gullies and I didn’t want to have to be rescued after getting bitten by a snake and stepping on a cactus while wondering around in a circle. 🙂

      1. My family took a trip up to Alberta when I was 12 (mostly to visit Banff National Park) but because I’ve been a dinosaur nut since before I was old enough to properly pronounce the word we ended up taking a side trip over to see the Royal Tyrrell. The only things I can really remember about it anymore are seeing a Dunkleosteus fossil and a full sized replica of an Albertasaurus. I’d love to get back there some day (though I’d also love to get a chance to visit a few other natural history museums, like the Field Museum or the American Museum of Natural History).

      2. Oh man, that was full of spelling errors and such. In my defence, I was multi tasking a lot today.

  8. Fantastic! Do these have the super secret spy circuitry built in, like the classic poppy quarter?

    1. No, that wouldn’t be as good as the poppy spy circuitry because they aren’t in circulation. They only put spy stuff in the currency that can be used to bye pizza and go to Tim Horton’s.

  9. See? This is what we’ve been afeared of all along – the christian has push US right into the dark ages. The United States doesn’t even have one lighted coin for their god’s sake, and Canada has a whole blooming set!

      1. And right now it’s a beautiful drive – did it three weeks ago. The Tyrell is well worth a visit. And if you like hiking, there are badlands and canyons right there.

  10. Jerry and Diana, thanks for sharing these. I am the designer/illustrator of all of these coins released by the Royal Canadian Mint. It is a pleasure to see that they are so popular with people! I can say that additional new coins with my prehistoric designs are still coming out, but I cannot reveal which species will be depicted on them until they are released. Indeed, they were made possible by a collaboration with the Royal Tyrrell Museum, specifically with paleontologist Dr. Francois Therrien, who provided guidance and was wonderful to work with. And to settle questions about why only the first animal in the glow-in-the-dark series is a dinosaur, note that this series is called “Prehistoric Animals”. 😉

    1. Awesome Julius! I love the coins and you did great work! Yeah, I commented that the Mint called them Prehistoric Animals. It was my own laziness when I emailed Jerry that resulted in them being referred to as dinosaurs. 🙂 I take full responsibility. My 6 year old self is frowning at me.

    2. I just had a quick look at your online gallery at http://csotonyi.com/ and, I must say, it’s some mighty impressive work. I can see why the Royal Canadian Mint chose you for the job.

      Methinks that Jerry should feature you in a post. Hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.


  11. Diana, thanks for providing – that’s really great. I have sent my family members a query as to why I was not informed. Difficult though it is to believe, there’s not a lot of news about Canada down here in the US!

    1. Yes, for sure – chic geek! I love that everyone is so enthusiastic about the coins. It’s why I love this site so much!

    1. I just got a note from The Mint that they are 78% sold out so if you want one of the last one of Tylosaurus pembinensis rush on over and get one.

  12. The ‘geekyness’never goes away, Diana. My youngest daughter re-awakened my boyhood love of dinosaurs when she entered a dinosaur coloring contest at a local library when were living in the California Bay area. Part of the contest required naming the beasts and I helped her name them. To my chagrin, we (I) only got two of the six right! That started me on a decades long book gathering, first centered on dinosaurs, but later expanding to human evolution and evolution in general and eventually this web site. (After visiting the local library here in rural North Carolina, I realized that my science/natural history library was far bigger than it’s was.)

    Anyway this is along way to say that I have a few more years than you appear to have, and I just got the third coin in the ‘glow’ series this last week! (The mint surprised me by putting out two coins so far this year.) I missed the first coin of the series and ended up buying the coin from a German coin dealer on Ebay and paying twice the price. Also the shipping charges from Canada to the US are a little severe. I am putting them in my office area next to my Tardis, my 10 pound note, and my 2 pound Darwin proof coin that I got when we visited our daughter who now lives in England with her husband (in a 14th century thatched house).

  13. First I want to say thanks to Diana for sharing your collection, and thanks to Jerry for writing this piece. If anyone is interested in the 3rd or 4th coins, they are both available at http://www.thecoinshoppe.ca and I’m offering the readers of this site a 5% off, using the code “evolution5OFF”.

    Thanks Again

  14. There are a whole other series of Canadian dinosaur coins btw .. each is a fossilized skeleton of a dinosaur (Tyranasaurus Rex, Triceratops …)

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