By Jesse Robitaille
The Royal Canadian Mint has unveiled its second last numismatic catalogue of the year.
Launched on Nov. 2, seven new gold and silver issues highlight the country’s history, including its iconic “Voyageur” dollar first issued in 1935.
A one-kilogram pure gold coin, “The Quintessential Voyageur Dollar,” recreates the 86-year-old design based on original artist Emanuel Hahn’s preliminary sketches.
The German-born Canadian sculptor and coin designer’s early concepts are now held in the Bank of Canada’s National Currency Collection in Ottawa. He’s also well known for his 1937 caribou and Bluenose designs, which have since graced Canada’s 25- and 10-cent coins, respectively.
Mint engravers “pored over Emanuel Hahn’s concept drawings to bring his vision to life, with all its nuanced details, and on a much larger canvas than the artist could have ever imagined,” according to a statement issued in early November by the Mint, which added the new coin honours “yesterday’s artistry using today’s engraving techniques.”
Described by the Mint as “both timeless and treasured,” the Voyageur design was first issued to mark then-monarch King George V’s silver jubilee.
“It was this nation’s first domestically designed piece, its first commemorative coin, as well as its first circulation silver dollar, and its popularity endures today,” added the recent Mint statement, which called the design “a snapshot of the past, and its creation ushered in a new era of coinage in Canada.”
The 2021 recreation is struck in 99.99 per cent pure gold with a proof finish, a nominal weight of 1,006.1 grams and a diameter of 101.6 millimetres.
The obverse depicts Sir E. B. MacKennal’s contemporary portrait of King George V, paying tribute to the 85th anniversary of the last issue year – 1936 – of that design. It also features the Latin inscription as it appeared on the first Voyageur dollar in 1935.
With a mintage of 45, this issue is held in a wooden case measuring 184 millimetres by 184 millimetres.
‘MOMENTS TO HOLD’ SERIES CONCLUDES
With the November catalogue, the Mint has also issued the final of four coins in its “Moments to Hold” series, which began in February.
The series highlights Canadian anniversaries of historical significance, and the latest quarter-ounce Fine silver coin marks the centennial of Canada’s national colours, red and white. It’s the series’ only coin to feature selective colour as the other three issues were only engraved. Designed by Vancouver-based artist Steve Hepburn, the reverse depicts an unknown person holding an outstretched Canadian flag over their back as they stand on rocks overlooking the edge of a cliff or mountain.
The $5 coin, “100th Anniversary of Canada’s National Colours,” is struck in 99.99 per cent pure silver with a specimen finish, a nominal weight of 7.96 grams, a diameter of 27 millimetres and a mintage of 100,000. It’s held in a custom folder measuring 147 millimetres by 147 millimetres with a removable capsule holding the coin.
Billed by the Mint as “a perfect starter set,” the series’ coins are among the Crown corporation’s most affordable Fine silver pieces. The previous issues featured the Arms of Canada (February), the 25th anniversary of Canada’s arboreal emblem, the maple tree (May) and the Snowbirds, which is the Royal Canadian Air Force’s military aerobatics team (June).
‘HOLIDAY SPLENDOUR’ MOVEMENT COIN
The November catalogue also features the Mint’s latest embellished movement coin, a 2022-dated $50 Fine silver piece dubbed “Holiday Splendour.”
A large sculptured coin and the series’ fourth issue since 2018, the latest piece features a gold-plated garland surrounding a winter village cast in sterling silver and rising from the centre of the design. It’s designed by Ottawa-based artist Ryan Poser.
“It’s an enchanting Christmas scene made even more magical by the sight of another sterling silver element Santa Claus in his reindeer-led sleigh, which flies around the village whenever the coin is tilted,” according to a recent Mint statement.
The coin’s serrated edge and obverse effigy of Queen Elizabeth II are also gold plated.
With a mintage of 1,000, the coin is struck in 99.99 per cent pure silver with a proof finish, a weight of 157.6 grams and a diameter of 65.25 millimetres. It’s held in a black beauty box with a circular wooden base.
REMAINING NOVEMBER ISSUES
The other coins issued as part of the November catalogue include:
- a $200 one-ounce gold coin struck in ultra-high relief with a 24-carat oval-cut Forevermark diamond and a mintage of 350;
- the annual 2022 “Peace” dollar in the standard one-ounce silver size with a “pulse effect” field, a diameter of 36 millimetres and a mintage of 5,000;
- the 2022 Peace dollar design struck in five ounces of silver with a pulse effect field, a diameter of 65 millimetres and a mintage of 1,000; and
- the 2022 Peace dollar design struck in one ounce of 99.999 per cent gold – also known as “Five Nines” gold – with a pulse effect field, a diameter of 30 millimetres and a mintage of 500.