Canadian "Mule" Coins


Preface

A "Mule" coin is defined as a coin where an incorrect die was used to strike either the obverse or reverse.

A "Packaging Mule" is typically a set of coins that was produced using the wrong denomination or year of one or more coins. Because of the risk of counterfeiting, the only recognized packaging mules are in sets which use a tamper-proof method of encapsulating the entire group of coins (for example an uncirculated or proof-like coin set which is encapsulated in pliofilm)

Note: Orientation errors, die cracks, worn dies and multiple-strike coins are not classified as mule coins, but are considered quality control errors.

 

NOTE: Click on any photo to load a much larger version of the same photo.



Part 1 - "Mule" Canadian Coins



1871 Newfoundland 10 Cent

At some point in the production process some Newfoundland 10 cent coins were struck using the reverse die for a Canada 10 cent coin.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

If the obverse says "Newfoundland" and the reverse contains the "Crossed Maple Boughs with Crown" design, it is a mule.
Obverse
Normal Reverse
Mule Reverse


1951 5 Cent

Due to nickel demands for the Korean War, 5 cent coins were struck using nickel plated steel planchets. Because steel is so much harder to deform during the striking process, the original dies wore out too quickly. It was decided to design new dies that had less thickness in the details (Low Relief).

At some point early in the production, the old High Relief obverse die was left in the press. Because of this some coins were produced using the new low relief reverse and the obsolete high relief obverse die.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

If the reverse has thinner details but the obverse has thicker details, it is a mule coin.
Reverse


Normal Obverse (Low Relief)
Mule Obverse (High Relief)


1953 NSF 5 Cent

In 1953 there were two different obverse dies used in normal production, as well as two different reverse dies.

The "No Shoulder Fold" obverse die was always used in conjunction with the "Far Maple Leaf" reverse die.

At some point during the year the incorrect reverse die (Near Maple Leaf) was used to strike a small number of coins.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

If the No Shoulder Fold obverse is combined with a Near Maple Leaf reverse:
Obverse
Normal Reverse
Mule Reverse


1953 SF 5 Cent

In 1953 there were two different obverse dies used in normal production, as well as two different reverse dies.

The "Shoulder Fold" obverse die was always used in conjunction with the "Near Maple Leaf" reverse die.

At some point during the year the incorrect reverse die (Far Maple Leaf) was used to strike a small number of coins.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

If the Shoulder Fold obverse is combined with a Far Maple Leaf reverse:
Obverse
Normal Reverse
Mule Reverse


1973 Large Bust 25 Cent

At the beginning of the production run for the 1973 RCMP Commemorative 25 cent coins, the obverse die from the 1972 25 cent coin was left in the press.
Approximately 10,000 coins were produced and were placed into Specimen, Prestige and Uncirculated sets and were shipped before the mistake was discovered.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:
The bust of Queen Elizabeth is larger then the normal "small bust" obverse, but that can be hard to spot with the naked eye, and without a large bust coin beside it for comparison.

Look at the dots that surround the rim on the coin's obverse as explained here:



1973 Olympics 10 Dollar

When production began for the Olympic 1973 map reverse ten dollar coins, the obverse die from the 1974 Olympic ten dollar coin was used.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

If the date on the obverse is 1974, it is a mule.
Reverse
Normal Obverse
Mule Obverse


1985 Nickel Dollar

When production began for the 1985 Voyageur nickel one dollar coins, the obverse die from a production run of 1985 New Zealand 50 cent coins was left in the press.
Note that a 1985 New Zealand 50 cent coin is 31.75mm in diameter, while a 1985 Canadian 1 dollar coin is 32mm in diameter. This is why the mule obverse fits so nicely on a Canadian 1 dollar planchet. It also likely explains why the error wasn't noticed immediately.

This error resulted in a coin with the date on both sides.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

If the obverse contains "NEW ZEALAND" and the 1985 date, it is a mule.
Reverse
Normal Obverse
Mule Obverse


1999 "September" 25 Cent

When production began for the 1999 September 25 cent coins, the obverse die from regular Caribou 25 cent coin used.

All of the mule coins were inserted into uncirculated coin sets, although some may have been removed from these sets by members of the public.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

"25 CENTS" missing from obverse, resulting in a coin which does not have a denomination.

Reverse
Normal Obverse
Mule Obverse


1999 "November" 25 Cent

When production began for the 1999 November 25 cent coins, the obverse die from regular Caribou 25 cent coin used.

All of the mule coins were inserted into uncirculated coin sets, although some may have been removed from these sets by members of the public.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

"25 CENTS" missing from obverse, resulting in a coin which does not have a denomination.
Reverse
Normal Obverse
Mule Obverse


1999 Nunavut 2 Dollar

When production began for the 1999 Nunavut two dollar coins, the reverse die designed for striking proof silver coins was accidentally used to produce some regular circulation coins. All of these mule coins were inserted into Uncirculated sets

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

The raised ring around the inner core on the reverse is missing.

Obverse
Normal Reverse
Mule Reverse


2000 Millenium Set Token

The 2000 Millenium Quarter Sets included a non-legal tender token which features a stylized map of Canada on the obverse, and the year "2000" surrounded by a field full of Royal Canadian Mint logos on the reverse.

When production began for the token, the obverse die from the February 25 cent coin was used.
This resulted in a non-legal tender token with a denomination but no date.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

If obverse of this token says "25 CENTS" and has the effigy of Queen Elizabeth, it is a mule.
Obverse
Normal Reverse
Mule Reverse


2000 "Creativity" Non-Magnetic "P" Marked 25 Cent

When the blank planchets used to mint coins was changed from pure nickel to multi-ply plated steel, a "P" composition mark was added to the coins to easily differentiate between them.

When the 2000 "Creativity" 25 cent coins were produced with pure nickel planchets, a number of coins were accidentally stamped using the Obverse die designed for use with plated coins. Note this mule obverse results in a coin with no denomination.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

If the coin has a "P" composition mark below the Queen's effigy on the obverse, it is a mule.
Reverse
Normal Obverse
Mule Obverse


2000 "Community" Non-Magnetic "P" Marked 25 Cent

When the blank planchets used to mint coins was changed from pure nickel to multi-ply plated steel, a "P" composition mark was added to the coins to easily differentiate between them.

When the 2000 "Community" 25 cent coins were produced with pure nickel planchets, a number of coins were accidentally stamped using the Obverse die designed for use with plated coins. As a result they have a "P" composition mark below the Queen's effigy on the obverse. Note this mule obverse results in a coin with no denomination.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

If the coin has a "P" composition mark below the Queen's effigy on the obverse, it is a mule.
Reverse
Normal Obverse
Mule Obverse


2000 Non-Magnetic "P" Marked Caribou 25 Cent

When the blank planchets used to mint coins was changed from pure nickel to multi-ply plated steel, a "P" composition mark was added to the coins to easily differentiate between them.

When the 2000 regular Caribou 25 cent coins were produced with pure nickel planchets, a number of coins were accidentally stamped using the Obverse die designed for use with plated coins. As a result they have a "P" composition mark below the Queen's effigy on the obverse.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

In the year 2000, Caribou quarters were produced in both plated and pure nickel versions, so there's no obvious visible difference. The fastest way to tell a mule coin from a proper one is to bring a magnet near the coin (make sure the magnet is very well covered to avoid damaging the coin upon contact). If the coin is NOT magnetic but has a "P" composition mark, it is a mule coin.
Reverse
Normal Obverse
Mule Obverse


2000 Non-Magnetic "P" Marked 10 Cent

When the blank planchets used to mint coins was changed from pure nickel to multi-ply plated steel, a "P" composition mark was added to the coins to easily differentiate between them.

When the 2000 10 cent coins were produced with pure nickel planchets, a number of coins were accidentally stamped using the Obverse die designed for use with plated coins. As a result they have a "P" composition mark below the Queen's effigy on the obverse.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

In the year 2000, Bluenose 10 cent coins were produced in both plated and pure nickel versions, so there's no obvious visible difference. The fastest way to tell a mule coin from a proper one is to bring a magnet near the coin (make sure the magnet is very well covered to avoid damaging the coin upon contact). If the coin is NOT magnetic but has a "P" composition mark, it is a mule coin.
Reverse
Normal Obverse
Mule Obverse


2005 Non-Magnetic "P" Marked 1 Cent

When the blank planchets used to mint coins was changed from copper plated zinc to multi-ply plated steel, a "P" composition mark was added to the coins to easily differentiate between them.

When the 2005 1 cent coins were produced with plated zinc planchets, a number of coins were accidentally stamped using the Obverse die designed for use with plated coins.
As a result they have a "P" composition mark below the Queen's effigy on the obverse.
These coins were inserted into a few 2005 Uncirculated sets.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

In the year 2005, 1 cent coins were produced in both copper and nickel plated zinc (non-magnetic) and copper plated steel (magnetic) versions, so there's no obvious visible difference.

The fastest way to tell a mule coin from a proper one is to bring a magnet near the coin (make sure the magnet is very well covered to avoid damaging the coin upon contact). If the coin is NOT magnetic but has a "P" composition mark, it is a mule coin.
Reverse
Normal Obverse
Mule Obverse


2006 Non-Magnetic "P" Marked 1 Cent

When the blank planchets used to mint coins was changed from copper plated zinc to multi-ply plated steel, a "P" composition mark was added to the coins to easily differentiate between them.

When the 2006 1 cent coins were produced with plated zinc planchets, a number of coins were accidentally stamped using the Obverse die designed for use with plated coins.
As a result they have a "P" composition mark below the Queen's effigy on the obverse.
These coins were inserted into a few 2005 Uncirculated sets.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

In the year 2006, 1 cent coins were produced in both copper and nickel plated zinc (non-magnetic) and copper plated steel (magnetic) versions, so there's no obvious visible difference.

The fastest way to tell a mule coin from a proper one is to bring a magnet near the coin (make sure the magnet is very well covered to avoid damaging the coin upon contact). If the coin is NOT magnetic but has a "P" composition mark, it is a mule coin.
Reverse
Normal Obverse
Mule Obverse


2006 Magnetic Unmarked 1 Cent

When the blank planchets used to mint coins was changed from copper plated zinc to multi-ply plated steel, a "P" composition mark was added to the coins to easily differentiate between them.

When the 2006 1 cent coins were produced with multi-ply plated steel planchets, a number of coins were accidentally stamped using the Obverse die designed for use with copper plated zinc coins.
As a result they SHOULD have a "P" composition mark below the Queen's effigy on the obverse, but that mark is missing.
These coins were inserted into a few 2005 Uncirculated sets.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

In the year 2006, 1 cent coins were produced in both copper and nickel plated zinc (non-magnetic) and copper plated steel (magnetic) versions, so there's no obvious visible difference.

The fastest way to tell a mule coin from a proper one is to bring a magnet near the coin (make sure the magnet is very well covered to avoid damaging the coin upon contact). If the coin IS magnetic but DOES NOT have a "P" composition mark, it is a mule coin.
Reverse
Normal Obverse
Mule Obverse


2007 "Wheelchair Curling" 25 Cent

When the first batch of 2007 Wheelchair Curling 25 cent coins were struck, the obverse die from the regular Olympic 25 cent coin used.

These coins were all inserted into the following Olympics coin sets, although some coins may have been cut out of the sets by members of the public:



HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:

The obverse of the coin shows the Olympics logo instead of Paralympics logo.
Reverse
Normal Obverse
Mule Obverse


2007 "Alpine Skiing" Painted Leaf 25 Cent

This mule can only be found in special cards, which were produced for Petro Canada.They can also be found in a very small number of collector sets.



Instead of the proper 2007 obverse die, a 2008 obverse die was used to strike approximately 40,000 coins.

The strange fact regarding this mule: The 2008 dated coins fit the definition of a "mule" coin.
HOWEVER, since only approximately 900 coins were produced with the correct 2007 date, and over 40,000 coins were produced with the wrong date the mule coins SHOULD be less valuable than the correct ones.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:
Reverse
Normal Obverse
Mule Obverse


2010 Specimen 10 Cent

This mule can only be found in special specimen sets (containing the Lynx Kittens 2 dollar coins), although some coins have been removed from the set and sent for certification and grading.



Instead of the proper 2010 specimen finish obverse die, a 2010 circulation strike obverse die was used.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR COIN IS A MULE:
If the background of the obverse has a glossy finish instead of a matte finish, it is a mule.
Reverse
Normal Obverse
Mule Obverse


Part 2 - Packaging Mules

This type of mule typically contains error free coins, but were packaged in a way that was not intended by the Mint. Typically caused by loading the wrong coins into a hopper that feeds the packaging system. The method of packaging must be considered "Tamper-Proof" before it can be called a packaging mule, because any form of packaging that is not tamper-proof could be easily faked.

2016 Uncirculated Sets

In the very early stages of assembling the 2016 classic pliofilm uncirculated sets, a number of 2015 1 dollar coins were left in a hopper.
This resulted in pliofilm sets containing 2016 versions of the 5 cent, 10 cent, 25 cent, 50 cent and 2 dollar coins, along with a 2015 1 dollar coin.
The problem was not noticed until a very large quantity had been shipped to major dealers and Canada Post.
They issued an emergency optional recall. All of the unsold product in Canada Post locations were returned to the Royal Canadian Mint, but the vast majority of private dealers chose to keep the products they had already received.
It is believed that approximately ten thousand mule sets were originally shipped, but it is not known how many were not returned.

Reverse View of Set
Normal Obverse
Mule Obverse


2017 Canada150 "My Canada, My Inspiration" 8 Coin Uncirculated Sets

In the very early stages of assembling the 2017 Canada150 pliofilm uncirculated sets, instead of the non-coloured 25 cent coins an unknown number of 2017 Stanley Cup Anniversary 25 cent coins were left in a hopper and packaged with these sets.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Only one set is known to exist so far, it is far too soon to know how many mule sets were made and shipped. The example shown above was sold at auction for $517.50 on July 22, 2017 during the 2017 RCNA Convention in Boucherville, Quebec: Click here to view auction results page

Normal Reverse
Mule Reverse
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