Collectors struggling to put together a set of War of 1812 coins from circulation can take advantage of two sets being offered by the Royal Canadian Mint, which consist of Uncirculated examples of the $2 HMS Shannon and 25-cent coins honouring Maj.-Gen. Isaac Brock, Chief Tecumseh, Lt.-Col. Charles-Michel de Salaberry, and Laura Secord. The gift set consists of a $2 coin and the colourized versions of the 25-cent coins, while the special edition set has the $2 coin and both colourized and plain versions of the 25-cent coins. There is no disclosed mintage of the gift set, while the Mint has set a limit of 15,000 of the special edition set.
While the Secord coin has yet to be launched, the Salaberry coin was released on March 15. Salaberry, a member of the Quebec seigneurial class, served as an officer in the regular British army. Posted to Canada as a staff officer, he raised a regiment of Canadians, les Voltigeurs du Canada, in 1812. In October 1813, he commanded the regiment at the Battle of Chateauguay, where they turned back a numerically superior force spearheading an American attempt to invade Lower Canada. The 25-cent circulating coin has a mintage of 12.5 million, of which half are colourized.
More on war
A much earlier conflict, the Seven Years War, is the subject of three new coins. The war was essentially a conflict between the English and French that extended into North America, Europe, Africa, and India. When the war ended in 1763, the borders of North America had been redrawn forever. One coin, designed by Tony Bianco, is a silver dollar showing a group consisting of an English and French soldier, a First Nations warrior, and a European colonist against a background of a map of eastern North America. The coin is struck in .9999 silver with a diameter of 36.07 millimetres and weight of 23.17 grams. The mintage is 10,000 and the strike quality is Proof.
The other two coins are a pair of kilogram coins in gold and silver sharing a common design by Luc Normandin. The coins show a map of North America based on the work of Didier Robert de Vaugondy, a French cartographer from the 1700s. Superimposed on the map are the royal arms of England and France. The coins are both struck in Proof finish with a diameter of 101.1 mm. The gold version, with a $2,500 face value, has a mintage of 20 and the silver $250 coin has a mintage of 500.
Butterfly floats into flora series
Two coins continue the popular Canadian flora series. The $20 coin, the third in the series, features the purple cornflower with a Venetian glass insert of an eastern tailed blue butterfly. The full-colour coin was designed by Maurice Gervais with the butterfly crafted by Giuliano Donaggio. It is struck in .9999 silver with a mintage of 10,000, diameter of 38 mm and weight of 3.39 grams. The same design is used for a base-metal 25-cent coin. That coin, which is also colourized, is struck on cupro-nickel blanks with diameter of 35 mm. The mintage limit is 17,500.
We stand on guard for polar bears
Three more coins have been launched in the extensive O Canada series, all with a polar bear theme. The first is a silver $25 coin showing a mother bear with two cubs. In the background is a large snowdrift and snow-covered trees. The one-ounce coin is struck in .9999 silver with a diameter of 31.39 mm and mintage limit of 8,500. The second silver coin is a $10 piece showing a single bear standing on an ice floe. Also struck in .9999 silver, it has a weight of 15.27 grams and diameter of 34 mm. The mintage limit is 40,000. The third coin is a small, 3.13-gram gold offering with a face value of $5, struck in .9999 gold. It has a diameter of 16 mm and mintage limit of 4,000. All three coins were designed by Pierre Leduc. The coins share the standard design elements of the O Canada series, which includes an image on the reverse relating to the theme of the coin, in this case a bear paw.
New maple tree series
The Mint has also launched the first coin in a new series dedicated to maple trees. The $20 silver coin shows a maple canopy in spring, as seen from below the tree. Artist Emily Damstra uses forced perspective, complemented by the use of green in the canopy to gain added depth. The coin is struck in .9999 silver with a diameter of 38 mm and weight of 31.39 grams. The mintage limit is 7,500. The certificate of authenticity comes with a copy of the poem The Maple by Canadian poet Charles G.D. Robertson.
A second new series is dedicated to Canadian animal architects, starting with the honeybee. The $3 silver coin shows a colourized image of a bee collecting nectar from a blossom. The background is a honeycomb with its distinctive geometry of hexagonal cells. To produce 500 grams of honey a honeybee needs to collect nectar from about a million flowers. The species is not native to Canada, but was introduced about 300 years ago by European settlers. Designed by Yves Berube, the coin is struck on .9999 silver blanks with diameter of 27 mm and weight of 7.96 grams. The mintage limit us 10,000 coins.
First Nations mask in ultra-high relief
The RCM has brought out more ultra-high relief in the form of gold and silver coins called Grandmother Moon Mask. The coins are identical, and are based on a mask produced by First Nations artist Richard Cochrane. The mask, made from wood salvaged from Vancouver’s Stanley Park after the 2006 windstorm and eight New Zealand abalone shells, took two years to create. Both coins are struck in .9999 Fine metal. The gold coin has a diameter of 30 mm and weight of 33.33 grams, while the silver piece has a diameter of 26.15 mm and weight of 30.76 grams. The Mint will strike a maximum of 6,000 silver and 500 gold coins.
Queen gets colourized $50
The 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II is the subject of Canada’s first colourized $50 silver coin. The reverse of the coin shows a full-colour image of the official coronation photograph, taken June 2, 1953. In the background is the interior of Westminster Abbey, where the coronation took place. The obverse shows the Mary Gillick laureate effigy of Elizabeth II, used on Canadian coins in 1953. The coin has a purity of .9999, weight of 157.6 grams and diameter of 62.25 mm. The mintage limit is 1,500 coins.