50-cent piece Canada’s first ‘home’ coin

On this day in 1907, Canada took a big leap in its long journey to produce its own currency by issuing a proclamation setting the fineness and weight of the silver and bronze coins of Canada.

Once issued, the document then travelled to Britain to obtain sanction in November of that year. The British document calls the Ottawa Mint a branch of the Royal Mint in England, and includes regulations on inspections of the bullion and the responsibilities of the “Deputy Master of the branch Mint.”

While Ottawa Mint Act was first passed in 1901, the legal negotiations, ramifications and construction took another seven years to complete.

But then, as the modern Mint tells us, the first coins were struck: “On January 2, 1908, Governor General Earl Grey activated the press to strike the Dominion’s first domestically produced coin, a fifty-cent piece.

“As an audience of dignitaries looked on, the Countess Grey closed the ceremony by striking Canada’s first bronze cent. The Ottawa branch of Britain’s Royal Mint was officially open for business.”

It would still be another 24 years, however, before Canada’s Mint would wholly belong to Canada.

Below is a copy of the London Gazette dealing with the Ottawa Mint and regulations.

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