NGC Certifies ‘Mule’ Error on 2017 Canadian Timber Wolf Coin

Posted on 8/7/2017

A rare error on a large modern coin is identified by NGC and confirmed by the Royal Canadian Mint.

Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) has certified an extremely unusual “mule” error of the 2017 “In the Eyes of the Timber Wolf” Gold Kilogram $2,500 coin issued by the Royal Canadian Mint.

A mule is an error in which the two sides of a coin were incorrectly paired. In this case, the large gold coin was struck with the obverse intended for the silver kilogram, which bears the denomination of $250 instead of the correct $2,500.

Modern coins struck with incorrect denominations are virtually unheard of. Adding to the significance of this piece is its low mintage of just 10 coins and its high intrinsic value – approximately $40,000 (USD) at current gold prices. (The mintage of the silver coins was also low, a mere 400 pieces.)

2017 “In the Eyes of the Timber Wolf” Gold Kilogram $2,500 coin with "mule" error
Click images to enlarge.

David Camire, an NGC Grading Finalizer and error coin specialist, notes: “This is quite possibly the most significant error on a modern coin that I have seen in the past decade. The fact that it is a large format coin makes the error even more intriguing. It is hard to believe that such a coin made it out of the mint considering all of the quality control procedures the coins go through. I don’t think anyone could have ever imagined that such an error could occur, let alone be released.”

After NGC received the coin for certification, it contacted the Royal Canadian Mint for further information. In a statement, the Royal Canadian Mint confirmed that as many as four of these mules may have been inadvertently struck and shipped to customers.

The silver and gold kilogram (32.15 troy ounces) Timber Wolf coins share a nearly identical reverse: the head of a northern timber wolf, staring straight ahead, creating a captivating effect. The eyes of the wolf, however, are colored differently on the two coins. On the silver coins, they are gold-toned, while on the gold coins, they are green.

The error that was submitted to NGC received a grade of NGC PF 70 Ultra Cameo. With a diameter of 101.6 mm (about four times the diameter of a US quarter), it was encapsulated in an NGC Oversize Holder® with a label that bears a description of the error and the coin’s grade.

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