I was recently taking a look at the the new Zodiac silver coin series of the Canadian Mint.

For each Zodiac sign silver coin, the number minted is 5500 coins. their face value is 3 $CAD , 99.99% silver and weight around 7.96 gm. Each coin has two small Swarovski crystals. Obviously, the precious metal worth is around 5$ CAD given that 1 gm of silver is 0.73$CAD and the two crystals could add few dollars to the value.

So speaking of worth, the coins are potentially worth 10$ CAD. The mint sells them for 55$ CAD.

I am a novice and this might be my first purchase. Am I missing something about how such coins are valued? Is the price difference simply because it is a collectable coin and the difference is a profit for the treasury?

  • 3
    Without doing research, I would assume yes. The price is higher simply because it is a collectible coin.
    – Michael
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 20:25
  • You say this might be your first purchase. Is your motivation to be a coin collector or an investor in silver? If you just want to invest in precious metals, take a look at online dealers such as www.apmex.com. They sell "rounds" and "bars" of various metals that cost only a small amount over the metal spot price.
    – James
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 13:50
  • What's the salvage value of two Swarovski crystals?
    – user662852
    Commented May 5, 2017 at 19:46

2 Answers 2


Their "worth" is whatever someone is willing to pay to have them. The mint presumably thinks that some people (collectors) are willing to pay at least 55$ CAD for them. Their value as currency is only 3$ CAD. Their value as precious metal/crystal is irrelevant, as its illegal to melt (without explicit permission) coins that are legal tended in Canada.

  • Assuming Canada doesn't consider melting down coins a crime worthy of applying extraterritorial jurisdiction you could do so from abroad (semi-)legally. The bigger factor stopping this is that virtually no coins made of precious metals are worth more when melted down, junk silver being a notable exception.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 9:02

This is how mints make money. They sell limited runs of items at a price significantly higher than their manufacturing cost. Some buyers hope that the scarce nature of the item will cause others to value it higher than the initial offer price but also some people just like to have them.

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