70th anniversary of Newfoundland’s entry into Confederation marked with commemorative silver dollar

Fifteen coins plus a five-roll collection featuring the first 2019-dated circulation coins struck at the Royal Canadian Mint’s Winnipeg facility were recently released as part of the Crown corporation’s latest numismatic catalogue.

Among the highlights is a $1 Fine silver coin marking the 70th anniversary of Newfoundland becoming Canada’s 10th province.

On March 31, 1949 – after years of debate about the self-governance of what was then a British dominion – Newfoundland formally joined Confederation.

The following day, prime minister Louis St. Laurent made the first ceremonial cut into the only blank stone plaque remaining over the entrance to the Peace Tower in Ottawa. The plaque was one of 10 erected in 1920 amid the reconstruction of the Parliament Buildings following a fire during the First World War.

“We are all Canadians now,” said Newfoundlander F. Gordon Bradley, who accompanied St. Laurent at the ceremony 70 years ago.

Bradley, who was appointed by St. Laurent as Secretary of State, became the first Canadian federal cabinet minister from Newfoundland. He also became the first MP for Bonavista-Twillingate, which he served until 1953, at which time he was appointed to the Senate. He died in office in 1966.

With a reverse design nearly identical to Canada’s 1949 silver dollar designed by Thomas Shingles, master engraver for the Mint from 1943-65, the newly issued coin also includes the double-date “1949-2019” and a Proof finish.

Shingles originally hand-carved the design in miniature on the master tooling for the 1949 silver dollar.

Like the original 1949 issue, the new $1 coin’s obverse features the effigy of King George VI by T. H. Paget.

The 2019 coin has a weight of 157.6 grams, a diameter of 65.25 millimetres and a mintage of 1,000 pieces.

A $250 pure gold coin, ‘Eternal Blessing Pysanka’ was also issued as part of the Mint’s March catalogue.

GOLDEN PYSANKA

A $250 pure gold coin, “Eternal Blessing Pysanka,” honours a long-running Ukrainian-Canadian tradition with an egg-shaped piece that’s the first all-gold coin of its kind.

Pysankas are Easter eggs decorated with traditional Ukrainian folk designs. The tradition – and its meaningful symbolism highlighting the rebirth of nature and the resurrection of Jesus Christ – was continued by immigrants who came to Canada from the late 19th century through the present day.

Today, Canada has the world’s third-largest Ukrainian population behind Ukraine and Russia. What’s more, the world’s second-largest pysanka was erected in Vegreville, Alta., in 1975 to mark the centennial of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the largest pysanka can be found in Ukraine).

The newly issued coin features the “most complex pysanka design yet,” according to the Mint. The reverse depicts a multi-tiered wooden temple in the centre surrounded by several bands representing eternity. An inner band of dots and waves reflect Canada’s motto, “A Mari Usque Ad Mare” (“From Sea to Sea”), and on the outer band, compass-like stars are paired with upended squares that represent the earth.

This coin has a weight of 58.5 grams, a diameter of 45 mm (long) by 33 mm (wide) and a mintage of 250 pieces.

‘THE ELEMENTS’

A four-piece set of $3 Fine silver coins, ‘The Elements’ features fire, air, earth and water.

A four-piece set of $3 Fine silver coins, “The Elements,” marks the first time this theme has been featured on a Canadian coin.

“This is our first exploration of a concept that was fundamental to the ancient sciences and philosophy,” reads a statement issued by the Mint. “Instead of symbols, we opted for a visual storytelling approach by highlighting the impact of these forces of nature in Canada.”

Designed by Toronto artist Rebecca Yanovskaya, each coin illustrates one of the elements—fire, air, earth and water. Altogether, the set features four square quadrants, which – when combined – complete a circular illustration of the four elements of nature in Canada. In all four corners of the completed design, maple leaves are transformed by seasonal colours of red, gold, brown and green.

This coin was first inspired by the suggestion of Bernard Dumais, of Lévis, Qué, who’s a member of the Mint’s “Masters Club,” a Mint-managed loyalty program.

Each of the four coins has a weight of 11.72 grams and a diameter of 27 mm by 27 mm. There is a mintage of 2,000 sets.

A special wrap roll collection entitled ‘First Strikes’ features all five of Canada’s circulating denominations ($1 shown).

‘FIRST STRIKES’

Other highlights include a special wrap roll collection entitled “First Strikes.”

The five-roll set – with a mintage of 5,000 – includes all five of Canada’s circulating denominations ($50 in $2 coins; $25 in $1 coins; $10 in 25-cent coins; $5 in 10-cent coins; and $2 in five-cent coins).

New to this year’s set is a holographic label, which seals every roll of “First Strikes.”

OTHER MARCH COINS

The remaining coins in the Mint’s March numismatic catalogue, which was issued nationwide today, include:

  • the third $3 Fine silver coin, “Maple Syrup Tasting,” from the 12-coin “Celebrating Canadian Fun and Festivities” series;
  • a $5 Fine silver coin from the ongoing “Zodiac” series for Aries, the sign of the ram;
  • a $20 Fine silver coin celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Gold Maple Leaf bullion coin;
  • a $20 Fine silver coin, “The Fox,” which is the second release from the “Canadian Fauna” series;
  • a $20 Fine silver coin, “Hatching Hadrosaur,” which is the Mint’s first egg-shaped dinosaur coin and highlights the 1987 discovery of one of North America’s largest dinosaur nesting sites, “Devil’s Coulee” in southern Alberta;
  • a $100 Fine silver coin, “Canadian Maples,” which gives a nod to Canada’s early coin designs with the crossed maple boughs of the country’s early coinage (1858-1936);
  • A 50-cent Fine silver coin, “60th Anniversary of the 1959 Half-Dollar,” which features a selectively gold-plated obverse effigy of Queen Elizabeth II – the same effigy used on the 1959 half-dollar; and
  • a five-ounce Fine silver coin from the “Big Coin” series featuring the five-cent denomination.

For more information, visit mint.ca.

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