It's not pocket change — it's a pure Yukon gold coin

Exploration company Golden Predator plans to start selling the coins — about $1,800 for a one-ounce coin — later this month.

Exploration company Golden Predator has minted some coins of Yukon gold, with Kaska artwork

The pure one-ounce gold coins will sell for about $1,800, a little more than the market price of gold. The price may fluctuate with the market. (Golden Predator)

An exploration company is hoping to keep more Yukon gold in the territory — so it's started minting some new coins, to sell.

"The [Royal Canadian] Mint started this way. After the [Klondike] gold rush, a lot of the gold was leaving Canada — and the miners and everybody else were complaining that their money was leaving," said Janet Lee-Sheriff, CEO of B.C.-based exploration company Golden Predator, which owns the 3 Aces Project near Watson Lake.

"So, we're just taking the same concept and bringing it into the Yukon and trying to keep the money locally."

The company has produced two coins, and they're not likely to turn up in your pocket change. A one-ounce gold coin — about the size of a toonie — will sell for about $1,800, while a half-ounce coin will go for about $970.

Those prices may fluctuate along with the price of gold.

Coins depict Kaska artwork

One side of the coins depicts a famous Klondike scene — a line of stampeders ascending the "golden staircase" of the Chilkoot Pass — while the other side has original Kaska artwork from Miranda Lane.

Lane, a member of the Kaska Nation, won Golden Predator's My Kaska Nation art contest last year, to design the coins. She called her piece True North Moose.

Lee-Sheriff says Golden Predator hopes to have similar contests annually, "to highlight Kaska art." 

The coins also say "Yukon Mint," although Lee-Sheriff says the coins are actually produced outside the territory. 

The first batch of Yukon gold coins will be for sale in Yukon starting on June 21 — National Indigenous Peoples Day. Some of the profits from coin sales will be shared with the Kaska Nation, Lee-Sheriff said. 

With files from Roch Shannon Fraser