The surprise explanation behind the U.S. government's sensational but false warnings about mysterious Canadian spy coins is the harmless poppy quarter, the world's first colourized coin.
The odd-looking coins were so unfamiliar to suspicious U.S. army contractors travelling in Canada that they filed confidential espionage accounts about them.
The worried contractors described the coins as "anomalous" and "filled with something manmade that looked like nanotechnology," said once-classified U.S. government reports and e-mails.
The 25-cent piece features the red image of a poppy inlaid over a maple leaf. The quarter is identical to the coins pictured and described as suspicious in the contractors' accounts.
The supposed nanotechnology actually was a conventional protective coating the Royal Canadian Mint applied to prevent
the poppy's red colour from rubbing off. The mint produced nearly 30 million such quarters in 2004 commemorating Canada's 117,000 war dead.
"It did not appear to be electronic [analog] in nature or have a power source," wrote one U.S. contractor, who discovered the coin in the cup holder of a rental car. Read more...
Friday, 4 January 2008
Poppy quarter led to spy coin warnings
This story from CBC gets my vote for most bizarre of 2007.