Two coins honouring the soldiers who fought in the 1944 Normandy campaign, which began Europe’s liberation from Nazi Germany, are among the highlights of the Royal Canadian Mint’s June numismatic catalogue.
Shortly after midnight on June 6, 1944, the paratroopers of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion began dropping behind enemy lines to support the D-Day invasion.
Tasked with destroying bridges, neutralizing key targets and securing the flanks of the amphibious landing area, the “maroon berets” – the first Canadian troops to set foot on French soil – are depicted on a half-kilogram pure silver coin, “75th Anniversary of the Normandy Campaign: Operation Tonga.”
Designed by artist Pandora Young, the reverse of this coin, which has a face value of $125, shows these troops parachuting under cover of night to begin an attack that would change the course of the Second World War. From a bird’s-eye view over the French countryside, one troop is shown alongside the static line connected to the plane just about to open his parachute as his comrades float below with their chutes already deployed.
The coin’s obverse features an effigy of King George VI as it appeared on all Canadian coinage in 1944.
The action on Juno Beach – one of five beaches in the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France – is depicted on a $20 Fine silver coin, “The Normandy Campaign,” from the Second World War Battlefront Series.
Designed by artist Brad Anderson, the reverse features an infantryman crouched in the sand as fellow soldiers approach behind him in a landing craft and a Sherman tank, representing Canada’s armoured divisions. Above this scene are sound waves, illustrating the “sound” of “V” for “Victory” in Morse code – a signal that filled radio broadcasts on D-Day.
The obverse also features King George VI, whose reign began in 1936 and lasted through the Second World War until his death in February 1952.
OTHER JUNE COINS
Other coins in the June numismatic catalogue, which was issued nationwide beginning June 4, include:
- a $20 Fine silver coin, “100th Anniversary of the First Non-Stop Transatlantic Flight,” a new coloured, stamp-shaped coin celebrating the historic flight of a modified Vickers Bomber from St John’s, N.L., to County Galway, Ireland;
- a $200 pure gold coin, “HMS New Brunswick 1843,” a numismatic tribute to that year’s New Brunswick penny, designed and produced by the now-defunct Soho Mint in Birmingham, U.K.;
- a $30 Fine silver coin, “Mount Rundle,” from the Peter McKinnon Photo Series, celebrating an iconic landmark of the Canadian Rockies in two ounces of pure silver;
- a $20 Fine silver coin, “The Beloved Maple Leaf,” a one-ounce pure silver coin designed by artist David Caesar;
- a 25-cent pure gold coin, “Bouquet of Maple Leaves,” the Mint’s newest half-gram, 11-millimetre gold coin, designed by Vanessa Miller;
- a $50 Fine silver coin, “Rose of the Winds,” which is artist Pandora Young’s tribute to classical map-making, featuring a gold-plated compass rose surrounded by familiar iconography;
- a $20 Fine silver coin, “Fire Rainbow,” the first in the new weather-themed Sky Wonders Series, designed by Tony Bianco and featuring naturally occurring optical illusions appearing in Canadian skies;
- a $30 Fine silver coin, “Birds in the Backyard,” featuring four different species of birds in a colourful design by artist Neil Hamelin;
- a $20 Fine silver coin, “Odin,” from the Norse Gods Series and featuring artist Alexandra Lefort’s tribute to the mythology well-known to Canadians of Scandinavian descent;
- a $20 Fine silver coin, “The Sleeping Beauty,” a Tony Bianco-designed rectangular coin depicting a ballerina, accented in pink and gold colour, gracefully dancing one of the world’s most famous ballets;
- a $100 Fine silver coin, “Into the Light – Lion,” a gold-plated 10-ounce silver coin featuring one of wildlife artist Robert Bateman’s masterpieces of the African savannah;
- a $5 coloured, glow-in-the-dark Fine silver coin, “This is Canada!” also designed by Bianco;
- a $3 Fine silver coin, “Coastal Drive,” from the Celebrating Canadian Fun and Festivities Series designed by Steve Hepburn; and
- a $5 Fine silver coin designed by Jori Van Der Linde for the ongoing Zodiac Series for the “Cancer” astrological sign.
For more information about the Mint’s June catalogue, visit mint.ca.