US & Canada

Canadian mint releases UFO-themed glow-in-the-dark coin

Computer artwork that depicts a flying saucer Image copyright Science Photo Library

Over 50 years ago, on the night of 4 October, strange lights appeared over the sky of a small Canadian fishing village.

Witnesses watched as the lights flashed and then dived towards the dark waters off the coast of Nova Scotia.

Now, what some believe to have been a UFO sighting has been commemorated by the Royal Canadian Mint.

The mint has released a collector's coin that tells the story of a "unique and mysterious event".

The scene on the glow-in-the-dark coin depicts a specific moment described by various eyewitnesses.

After seeing four strange flashing lights in the offshore night sky, they spotted an object 60-feet in length flying low, which dropped down at a 45 degree angle.

It then made a "bright splash" as it hit the water, according to a defence department memo about the incident.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), which had received numerous calls reporting a plane crash in the harbour, along with local fishermen, tried to reach the object before it sank.

Canada's defence department later conducted an underwater search of the area where the object was seen entering the water, but failed to locate any evidence of an object.

Image copyright Royal Canadian Mint
Image caption The coin, with the glow-in-the-dark version on the left, depicting the Shag Harbour incident

Laurie Wickens, who was 17 at the time of the incident, was the first Shag Harbour resident to call the RCMP that October night to report a possible plane crash.

He now helps organise the annual Shag Harbour UFO Festival, which includes a tour of the crash site and eyewitness accounts, and believes the mint's coin will boost attendance.

The coin comes with a flashlight that when used brings out the lights of the UFO, the stars in the night sky, and a haze over the water reported by locals.

"I love it," Mr Wickens said of the coin.

Mint spokesman Alex Reeves said the coin is "definitely one of the top performers" and has sold out on their website. It had a limited run of 4,000 and retailed for C$129.95 ($98; £79).

Mr Reeves said the mint tries to cover a broad range of subjects with its products, from Canadian history and wildlife to "local lore".

"You try and cover the full spectrum of the Canadian experience and these oddball stories are part and parcel of that fabric," he said.

It's not the first glow-in-the-dark coin released by the mint.

In 2017, they used the same technology to release what they billed as the first such coin in history into circulation - a C$2 coin that depicts boaters looking up at the Northern Lights.

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