RCNA convention, medal will pay tribute to historic European explorations of Eastern Canada

By Mike Walsh

When numismatists gather in Boucherville, Que., this July for the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA)’s annual convention, they will be greeted with, “Welcome to New France.”

According to Yvon Marquis, the theme of this year’s July 9-14 convention is especially significant as 2024 marks the quincentenary (1524-2024) of European explorers’ toponymic designations of Acadia (originally Arcadie) and New France (originally Francesca).

“New France was much more than just a period in history, more than just an immense territory, more than just a French colony; it was, in a way, a true region of France: it was the ‘France of America,’” Marquis writes in an article about the medal published in the May issue of the RCNA’s Canadian Numismatic Journal. “The year 1524 marks the beginning of the French epic in America, half a millennium ago. Welcome to New France!”

This theme is beautifully reflected in the design of the 2024 convention medal.

The medal features a shield motif surmounted by the royal crown of France. At the centre of the shield are three fleurs-de-lis, the emblem of the French monarchy, with the date 1524 at the bottom. The top of the medal displays the names that appeared in 1524: ARCADIE, NOVA GALLIA and FRANCESCA. Small six-pointed stars between the names of these territories and those of the host clubs and congress venue refer to the sun écu, a coin of special value during the reign of François I, as the sun appears on all coins from that period. The central motif, conceptualized and designed by Marc Thériault (reflected by an MT mint mark), reflects the design of French coins from that era. The initials MB represent Matt Bowan, who engraved the production die.

The medal, available in limited quantities, comes in silver, nickel and copper. The medals can be ordered online at rcna.org.

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