1973 represented the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The RCMP are one of the world's most recognized figures with their blazing red coated uniforms, Stetson hat, and ever present side-arm in a brown leather holster. And thanks to Hollywood movies, even the “Always Gets His Man” is famous throughout the world and though many may believe this to be their motto it's actually “Defending the Law”.
To commemorate the occasion, two different commemorative coins were authorized for minting. One was a non-circulating silver dollar while the other was issued as a circulating quarter dollar with a nickel composition.
The obverse, designed by Machin, features the bust of Queen Elizabeth the II facing right. On the outer periphery are the words "D. G. REGINA" which is the abbreviation for the latin term Dai Gratia Regina or By the Grace of God, Queen. Surrounding the overall design is a circle of beads.
The reverse, designed by Paul Cedarberg , prominently features a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman on his steed as well as the denomination “25 CENTS”. On either side of the horse is the dual date “1873 1973” and above the horses head is the Canadian symbol the Maple Leaf. At the rear of the horse leg are the designer's initials “PC” while by the front leg is the Engraver's initial “B” for Patrick Brindley.
RCMP – A Brief History
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were formed in 1873 to police the vast areas of western Canada but at that time they were known as the North-West Mounted Police.
During a 1904 visit, King Edward the VII of Great Britain granted the prefix of “Royal” and they became known as the “Royal North-West Mounted Police”.
During 1920 the Royal North-West Mounted Police merged with the Dominion Police (the police force of eastern Canada) and they were renamed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Though the word “Mounted” is still present, recruits are no longer required to be trained in the riding and care of horses. In fact, 1966 was the last year that recruits were required to undergo this training. Today the use of horses is restricted to ceremonial activities (like royal escorts) that maintain their heritage.
Being a 1 year type coin one would not expect any major varieties to exist but one does. These varieties exist due to two different obverse dies that were used. A new design with a smaller bust of Queen Elizabeth II was to be used but some coins were minted with an older obverse die giving way to a large bust variety.
One way to tell them apart is by the circle of beads surrounding the design. Some reference books may refer to them as Large Bust (132 beads) and Small Bust (120 beads). But, to count the number of beads will make you cross-eyed after awhile so we highly recommend that you not do this! Instead, the easier way to identify the difference is by simply looking at how close the beading is to the edge or rim of the coin. Large bust beading is extremely close to the rim while small bust design has beading that is further away from the rim.
|Large Bust Beading||Small Bust Beading|
General Market Notes
The Small Bust varieties are the most common and are readily available at or slightly above its face value of 25 cents for circulated versions and carry a small premium for uncirculated and proof-like specimens.
No known counts of Large Bust varieties exists but it is estimated at approximately 10,000 issues and finding one will remains a challenge and most that are available come at a much higher premium.