Canada releases the first glow-in-the-dark coin into circulation

Key Points
  • The Royal Canadian Mint releases a glow-in-the-dark coin for Canada's 150th anniversary.
  • The CA$2 coin, called a "toonie," is the first of its kind to be entered in circulation, according to the mint.
  • Other collectors' coins from the mint have been struck with illuminating ink.
Canada's Royal Canadian Mint issues a glow-in-the-dark Toonie coin depicting the Aurora Borealis to commemorate the country's 150th birthday.
Source: Royal Canadian Mint

Some countries celebrate their anniversaries with fireworks and sparklers. For Canada's 150th, the mint is bringing the light show to its money.

A new glow-in-the-dark coin is the first of its kind entered into circulation, according to the Royal Canadian Mint.

The CA$2 "toonie" features a view of the blue-green aurora borealis above two canoeists paddling along a tree-lined lake. In the dark, the special ink used to produce the image illuminates the northern lights.

The mint has struck a number of special edition glow-in-the-dark coins in the past, but the new toonie is the first to be put in circulation.

Other luminescent coins feature similar scenes of Canada's natural landscape, along with a series based on star signs. A collectors' coin featuring the red-and-white national flag set against glow-in-the-dark exploding fireworks is also being sold in celebration of the Canadian sesquicentennial.

"The mint has a long history of innovation in the coin business," said mint spokesman Alex Reeves. "We like to demonstrate our capabilities to our customers."

The mint became the first to circulate colored coins in 2004. With the release this month of the glow-in-the-dark anniversary coin, the mint can claim another first.

"It's something special to add to the celebration" of the sesquicentennial, Reeves said.

About 3 million toonies have been made for circulation, which are sent to distribution centers where coins are stored and where banks resupply themselves, according to Reeves.

Two Canadian dollars are equal to about $1.51 in American currency — but these limited-edition toonies will likely price above their exchange rate in a trade with a coin collector.