Nicknamed the “lace crab,” Marrella splendens and its curving spines have left an unmistakable imprint on our rocks—and on this splash-struck coin! The latest addition to the Ancient Canada series, the Cambrian arthropod is the most abundant species found in Canada’s fossil-rich Burgess Shale, where hundreds of thousands of diverse specimens provide us with a window to ancient life.
The reverse design is based on fossils curated at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta, and has been reviewed for scientific accuracy by palaeontologists at the Museum. It features a near life-sized reproduction of Marrella splendens, a marine arthropod from the Middle Cambrian period (505 million years ago), whose curving spines and wedge-shaped head are among its most distinguishing features. A carefully sculpted rock texture fills the field and surrounds the precision-engraved fossils, resulting in a more true-to-life rendering of the Marrella specimen recovered from the Burgess Shale Formation. While the rimless coin’s unique shape is the product of an old coin-making technique, the antiqued look of a patina finish adds to the design’s “ancient” look and feel, which extends to the prehistoric-looking font on the reverse and obverse. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.
Material: 99.99% pure silver
Diameter: Approx. 38 mm