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2 dollars 2021 - Discovery of insulin

By Coinsandcanada    |   Tuesday, 13 July 2021

2 dollars 2021 - Insulin - Canada

The Royal Canadian Mint issued a new $2 circulation coin celebrating the fact that, 100 years ago, four researchers achieved a Canadian medical breakthrough. In 1921, the collaboration of Frederick Banting, Charles Best, James Collip and John Macleod led to the isolation and purification of insulin and offered a life-saving treatment to people whose lives would previously have been cut short by diabetes. The coin celebrating a life-saving, Canadian-made medical discovery starts circulating today.

The Nobel Prize-winning Canadian discovery of insulin in 1921 is one of the 20th century's most celebrated medical discoveries, which has saved millions of lives in Canada and around the world. Parliament passed legislation last month to establish a national framework on diabetes and we are delighted this commemorative coin will circulate from coast to coast to coast as a tribute to one of Canada's greatest scientific triumphs, and as a reminder of the critical importance of the next century of diabetes research.

- Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

The reverse of the $2 circulation coin commemorating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin as a treatment for diabetes is designed by Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario artist Jesse Koreck. A focal point of the design is a monomer, a building block of the insulin molecule. Also displayed are scientific instruments used in the early formulation of insulin (vial, mortar and pestle, and Erlenmeyer flask) overlaid on a maple leaf, as well as red blood cells, glucose, and insulin molecules. The words INSULIN/INSULINE appear on the coin's outer ring, as do the years 1921 and 2021, highlighting the anniversary. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.

2 dollars 2021 - Insulin - Canada

The laboratory instruments represent the tools of the trade of the four researchers behind the discovery and application of insulin for human use. Frederick Banting developed the theory that a pancreatic substance could be extracted as a possible treatment for diabetes and led the research; John Macleod provided a laboratory and equipment at the University of Toronto and assigned Charles Best as a lab assistant; and biochemist Charles Collip purified insulin extracts for use as an effective diabetes treatment.

The new circulation coin commemorating the 100th anniversary of insulin is a visual reminder of the scientific breakthrough that took place here in Canada. Although insulin brought miraculous change in life expectancy and quality of life for millions of people around the world, it is not a cure. Together with the support of Canadians and Canada's researchers, we will continue the legacy of Frederick Banting, Charles Best, James Collip and John Macleod and end diabetes.

- Laura Syron, President and CEO of Diabetes Canada

In all, two million coloured versions and one million uncoloured versions of the coin will begin circulating as of today. Coloured coins will show the insulin monomer in the same blue colour used to raise diabetes awareness.


  • Composition : outer ring: three-ply nickel finish plated steel; inner core: three-ply brass finish plated aluminum bronze
  • Finish : circulation
  • Weight (g) : 6.99
  • Diameter (mm) : 28
  • Edge : interrupted serrations
  • Artist : Jesse Koreck (reverse), Susanna Blunt (obverse)

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