Diana’s geeky Canadian dinosaur-coin collection

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.



  1. microraptor
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

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

    • brandon
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

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

    • Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Beat me to it!

  2. Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Only the first one is a dinosaur! 😉

    • Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Take it up with Ms. MacPherson, not me!

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        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. 🙂

        • Pete Moulton
          Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

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

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 17, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

            You mean our Looney?

            • Bob Dobbs
              Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

              Maybe Pete means the other old bird, on the back of the coin! 🙂

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

                Ah Canada’s head of state. 😛

              • Pete Moulton
                Posted July 18, 2013 at 1:58 am | Permalink

                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.

          • Diane G.
            Posted July 17, 2013 at 11:57 pm | Permalink


        • Posted July 17, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          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!

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

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

            • SA Gould
              Posted July 17, 2013 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

              I had read about them, but it’s nice to see them, they are way cool!

  3. Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    The U.S version will have Adam riding on the back of one.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      I hear triceratops is best for riding.

    • Notagod
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      I thought jebus was the first humanish and/or zombie to ride a dinosaur?

  4. Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    I believe only one of those is actually a dinosaur – the others: pterosaur, lizard, mammally thingamabob.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      That’s a pre-mammally thingamabob.

  5. Lianne Byram
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    These are great Diana. Never heard of them before. Love the glow in the dark feature 🙂

    • Diane G.
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

      + 1

  6. Barry
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

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

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      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.

  7. gbjames
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    That is soooooo cool!

  8. Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    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!


  9. darrelle
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Dino’s or not, those are very cool.

    I want!

  10. Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    My co-admin on “Denying Evolution Won’t Make Your God Any More Real,” paleoartist Julius Csotonyi, paints those. Very cool!

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Wow that’s awesome! He does a great job!

  11. Hempenstein
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    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.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      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.

      • Hempenstein
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        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.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 17, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

          Yes, we have hockey on our money instead.

  12. Edward Hessler
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    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.

  13. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    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. 😉

    • Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      I’ve corrected the typo in the text (note that the name was correct in the title!). There are too many “Dianes” on this site!

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        🙂 Yes I did note that the title was correct.

  14. Nwalsh
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    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.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      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. 🙂

      • microraptor
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        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).

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

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

  15. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

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

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      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.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        buy pizza. It’s a muphry’s law thing. 🙂

  16. Taskin
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Fantastic, you’ve solved my ‘what to get my nephew for his birthday’ dilemma!

  17. Notagod
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    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!

  18. George Rumens
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Billy-Bob-Joe, Louisiana Skoolbord.

    “Carnt be reel dynos cos theyr no peeple huntin em”

  19. Posted July 17, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Cool coins.

    Drumheller is in Candia?

    • Nwalsh
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Drumheller is about one and a half hours drive east of Calgary.

      • Dave
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        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.

  20. tony bryant
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Awaiting the glow in the dark Noah’s Ark to put them in.

  21. Marella
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Fabulous, ancient animals and they glow in the dark, perfect!

  22. Posted July 17, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    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”. 😉

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      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.

    • Posted July 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      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.


      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        Yes the work on the site is gorgeous!

    • Posted August 9, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Wonderful job! I’ve admired these since they were first announced.

  23. Dave
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    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!

  24. Dave
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    BTW, if this is “geeky” then it’s “Geek Chic!”

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

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

  25. Posted July 17, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Way cool, Diana! Great collection. Wish I had known about them. Too bad we can’t get the first two coins anymore.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      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.

      • Posted July 18, 2013 at 12:26 am | Permalink

        Did you say Rush?

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 18, 2013 at 4:19 am | Permalink


  26. Monika
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    These are so cool, now how can we convince the Euro-mints to make something like that!

  27. Ron Wierenga
    Posted July 18, 2013 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    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).

  28. Posted July 18, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    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

  29. george Stetka
    Posted October 27, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    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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