Royal Canadian Mint Creates Unique 3D Coin Series with ShapeGrabber


With facilities in Ottawa and Winnipeg, the Royal Canadian Mint produces Canada’s circulation coins, collector coins, bullion, medals, medallions, and tokens. In Ottawa, the Mint produces the country’s collector and bullion coins and creates the tooling for striking the designs for all Mint coins. When the Mint recently faced a unique challenge in a new coin design, its Advanced Engineering Research team reached out to ShapeGrabber.

A gold-plated Grizzly Bear statuette crafted from 99.9% pure silver sits atop a $100 Canadian coin.


To create eye-catching, one-of-a-kind collectibles that would literally stand out from other collector coins, the Mint needed 3D scanning expertise and technology. The organization was looking to develop a new “Sculpture of Majestic Canadian Animals” series of three-dimensional coins topped by sculptures of iconic Canadian animals.

“We wanted to produce coins with gold-plated, silver-cast statuettes resting atop the coin’s surface,” explains Christian Brochu, Product Engineer at the Mint.

To produce these coins, the Mint needed a fast and accurate way to capture the detail found in beautiful sculptures designed by sculptor Karl Lansing. “We needed to reproduce animal sculptures that were extremely detailed,” says Brochu. “There were five statuettes in total: a grizzly bear, a cougar, an elk, a bighorn sheep, and a wolf. We needed to ensure that the dies used to produce the coins would re-create the original sculptures perfectly, without losing any detail.”

Statuette model. Note the intricate detail.


Model being scanned with a ShapeGrabber Ai310 scanner

When the research and development team discovered the automated 3D scanners produced by ShapeGrabber, they knew that they had found their solution. A ShapeGrabber Ai310 scanner captured millions of data points from each statuette in minutes with resolution of a few microns.

Statuette scan data.

The team used this data to accurately model the complex animal shapes in the electronic designs needed to create the final statuettes for the coins.

Close-up of the final gold-plated Grizzly Bear statuette atop a $100 coin.

“These coins are a testament to the Mint’s spirit of innovative artistry and craftsmanship,” says Yudi Harsono, Product Manager, Royal Canadian Mint. “Not only do the coins look spectacular, they have been a big hit in the marketplace. Coins were sold out, or nearly sold out, quickly and received extremely positive reviews.”

Ryan Poser, Christian Brochu, and Yudi Harsono pose with the finished Grizzly Bear coin.

The Mint was also impressed with the accurate data obtained from the scanner and ShapeGrabber’s expertise. “The scanners gave us the high-quality scan data needed to create these innovative coins, and the team at ShapeGrabber was excellent,” adds Brochu. “ShapeGrabber guided us through the entire process and was always available to answer our questions and provide advice.”

Learn more about this unique coin series on the Royal Canadian Mint website >>

About the Royal Canadian Mint

The Royal Canadian Mint is the Crown corporation responsible for the minting and distribution of Canada’s circulation coins.  An ISO 9001-2008 certified company, the Mint is recognized as one of the largest and most versatile mints in the world, offering a wide range of specialized, high quality coinage products and related services on an international scale. For more information on the Mint, its products and services, visit

About ShapeGrabber

ShapeGrabber is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Quality Vision International, the world’s largest vision metrology company. Based in Ottawa, Canada, ShapeGrabber designs, manufactures, and sells automated 3D scanners that are ideal for measuring complex shapes such as injection-molded plastics, castings, and stampings that are otherwise too time consuming, costly, or difficult to measure. Considered to be one of the industrial pioneers in the field, ShapeGrabber has been supplying automated 3D scanners to customers in the automotive, aerospace, medical, and other industries since 1993.