RCM marks Manitoba sesquicentennial as part of May catalogue

In celebration of Manitoba Day, celebrated annually since the province’s 1970 centennial, the Royal Canadian Mint has issued a silver collector coin honouring the 150th anniversary of the Keystone Province and its entry into Confederation.

The $30 Fine silver coin, “Manitoba 150: United in Celebration,” comes as part of the Mint’s May numismatic catalogue. With a mintage of 2,500, the coin marks the province’s sesquicentennial. The province joined Confederation in 1870 – it’s still the only province to join Canada under Indigenous leadership – but the original plans for “Manitoba 150,” including the Mint’s coin, were postponed last year due to COVID-19. Sesquicentennial events are set to continue through this year.

“This coin celebrates an important chapter in Canadian history,” said Mintmaster Marie Lemay, the Crown corporation’s president and CEO since 2019. “The Mint and its employees are proud to take part in celebrating Manitoba, with Winnipeg being home to our state-of-the-art facility where Canadian circulation coins have been produced since 1976.”

The coin’s reverse design revisits the 1970 Manitoba centennial nickel dollar – by Canadian artist Raymond Taylor – on a larger two-ounce blank. The prairie crocus, the official floral emblem of Manitoba and a perennial sign of spring on the prairies, graces the centre of the reverse alongside the updated legend, “MANITOBA 1870-2020.”

“Just as the crocus bursts through the soil each year after a typical prairie winter to thrive and bring the promise of a new day, so too will Manitoba face the future with hope, resilience, and a spark of joy,” said Monique LaCoste and Stuart Murray, co-chairs of the Manitoba 150 host committee, in a jointly issued statement. “We hope Manitobans will remember our anniversary and take pride in being Manitoban.”

The obverse features the Arnold Machin-designed effigy of Queen Elizabeth II over a background of laser-engraved Manitoba 150 logos.

“Despite the unprecedented challenges of the past year, Manitobans’ determination, compassion and commitment to help protect each other has enabled us to face these challenges head on, together,” said provincial heritage minister Cathy Cox. “We are very pleased to see the production of this incredible keepsake that represents the resiliency of our province and people, and we look forward to the continued celebration of our province’s past, present and future.”

Issued this May, the 1936-dated pure gold reimagination of the iconic 10-cent ‘dot’ variety has a mintage of 550. It’s the first time the Mint has featured a coin’s original year-date rather than its actual year-date.

LOW-MINTAGE GOLD

The Mint’s May catalogue featured another nine new issues, including a gold remake of one of Canada’s greatest numismatic rarities plus a silver dollar set marking the Bluenose centennial, as part of its May catalogue.

Issued on May 4, the latest Mint releases include a 99.99 per cent pure gold reimagination of Canada’s 1936-dated 10-cent “dot” variety.

With only four known examples, including two held in the Bank of Canada’s National Currency Collection, the original 10-cent dot coin (plus its one- and 25-cent dot counterparts) came as a result of King Edward VIII’s untimely abdication in December 1936.

Edward’s brother quickly ascended the throne as King George VI; however, Canada experienced a shortage of its one-, 10- and 25-cent coins in early 1937, when officials were still reworking the country’s coinage to feature the new monarch and updated year-date. To differentiate between the coins produced in 1936 and 1937, engravers added a small dot to the reverse dies of the three denominations: the one-cent dot appears under the date while the 10- and 25-cent dots are beneath the wreath’s bow. Aside from a small number of surviving examples, all 1936 dot coins were melted by the Mint after it received the updated 1937-dated dies featuring George VI.

On the Mint’s recent reproduction, “every engraved detail has been kept intact, even the original date,” according to a statement the Crown corporation issued in May. These details include the original 1936 year-date, marking the first time the Mint has featured a coin’s original year-date rather than its actual year-date, which would be 2021 for this issue.

“Engravers went over every element of the original coin in order to replicate its famous design, from the effigy down to the number of denticles that form the borders,” added the Mint statement. “And since there are just three known examples outside of museum collections, this gold reproduction is the next best thing to owning the original.”

At 30 millimetres, the pure gold reproduction is larger than the original 18.03-millimetre coin, bringing “new appreciation for the detailed design,” the Mint statement added.

Another gold coin designed by First Nations artist Richard Hunt, of British Columbia, has a mintage of 500.

With a mintage of only 550, the coin weighs 31.16 grams and is packaged in a black clamshell box.

Another low-mintage 99.99 per cent pure gold coin issued this May evokes the sound of clashing horns heard throughout the mountains when bighorn rams vie for dominance.

Designed by First Nations artist Richard Hunt, an Order of Canada member from British Columbia, the coin has a mintage of 500 and features a contemporary wildlife portrait in the distinct Northwest Coast art style.

“The shapes form a visual language that dates back thousands of years, and it continues to capture the attention of art collectors and enthusiasts worldwide,” according to the Mint’s recent statement. “Known as formline, it gives today’s artists a powerful basis to create arresting images that echo with the wisdom and skill of the past.”

The reverse’s colourful engraved lines and shapes are “powerful and expressive,” the Mint statement added, referencing the coin’s multiple finishes and colours.

The coin weighs 31.16 grams with a 30-millimetre diameter and is packaged in a black clamshell box.

The seven-coin special-edition silver dollar set features a brilliant uncirculated version of the 2021 Bluenose proof dollar (top centre) plus a double-dated 10-cent Bluenose coin (bottom right) with the effigy of George VI.

BLUENOSE SILVER DOLLAR SET

Continuing the Mint’s year-long celebration of the Bluenose centennial is the 2021 seven-piece special-edition silver dollar set.

The set features a brilliant uncirculated (BU) version of the 2021 Bluenose proof dollar featuring the effigy of King George V, who appeared on all Canadian coins issued in 1921, the year the legendary schooner was launched and captured the International Fishermen’s Trophy. The BU silver dollar weighs 23.17 grams with a 36.07-millimetre diameter.

The anniversary celebration extends to the set’s double-dated 10-cent coin, which features the effigy of King George VI, who appeared on the first circulation Bluenose coin in 1937.

The set also includes a regular circulation toonie and loonie plus 50-, 25- and five-cent coins.

‘Canada Takes Wing,’ the final $50 Fine silver coin from the First 100 Years of Confederation series, features 1950s- and ’60s-era pop-art design. The coin has a mintage of 1,250.

Held in book-style packaging, the set – designed by Yves Bérubé – measures 190 millimetres by 121 millimetres with a mintage of 30,000.

MAY CATALOGUE

Other coins in the Mint’s May catalogue include:

  • a $25 Fine silver coin, “Classic Mountie Hat,” which features the Mint’s first use of brown gold with a mintage of 6,500;
  • the second of four $5 Fine silver coins from the Moments to Hold series, marking the 25th anniversary of the maple tree, Canada’s arboreal emblem, with a mintage of 100,000;
  • the Mint’s third “Sparkle of the Heart” issue, a $20 Fine silver coin with a Fire and Ice diamond and a mintage of 750;
  • a $20 Fine silver coin, “The Avro Arrow,” honouring the innovators behind the Avro CF-105 Arrow with a mintage of 10,000;
  • a $50 Fine silver coin also honouring the Arrow’s innovators with selective gold plating and a mintage of 1,000; and
  • the last of three $50 Fine silver coins from the First 100 Years of Confederation series, “Canada Takes Wing,” which features the pop-art stylings of the 1950s and ’60s with a mintage of 1,250.

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