Lasqueti Mint – Minting Your Own Money
By: Roger C. Paulen, with contributions from Daniel Rubin and Howard Gilbey
The traditions of numismatics and the laws of Canada decree that fine metal bullion coins may be issued and sold free of any tax, provided that the purity of the metal, the weight of the coin and a maker’s trademark are shown on each coin’s face. Under this premise, the Lasqueti Mint was born, with coins made by hand, using nineteenth century technology.
The Lasqueti Mint is a private mint located on Lasqueti Isle. The principals of the mint are Tolling Jennings, a numismatist and the Mint Master, and Ray Lopovsky, a goldsmith. Making their own coins by hand, the two partners are reviving an ancient tradition. Since 1997, the mint has produced high quality, attractive bullion coins.
Lasqueti Isle is one of the larger Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia. It measures approximately 20 km long and 5 km wide and is located 50 miles northwest of Vancouver. The island has a population of 367 residents. The Lasqueti coins circulate freely on Lasqueti Isle and on the other islands. Stores proudly display logos of the Lasqueti Mint to indicate that Lasqueti coins are accepted in trade. With copper, silver and gold coins, Tolling and Ray are now minting coins for other Gulf Islands. Since 1999, the Lasqueti Mint has produced coins for Gabriola Island to support the local arts society.
Working by hand, the partners can produce a limited number of coins per day. That this whole process takes place in a local workshop is remarkable enough. But what catches your attention is the design depicted on each coin, drafted by local artist Tony Seaman.
A 2006 1/10 oz. silver of .9999 silver, struck in coinage fashion (north-south die flip).
Coin images courtesy of Howard Gilbey.
Previously published in the ENS “The Planchet” Magazine Vol-54 Issue-05