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75th anniversary of the first Royal visit to Canada and the centennial of the sinking of R.M.S. Empress of Ireland among latest national story-telling themes
Ottawa, Ontario, May 6, 2014 – New Royal Canadian Mint coins are preserving ever more chapters in Canadian history as the Mint announces its latest collector products. These include fine silver and pure gold coins celebrating the 75th anniversary of the first Royal visit to Canada, as well as a pair of haunting colour portraits, on silver coins, of the R.M.S. Empress of Ireland which sank with a tragic loss of life in the St. Lawrence River 100 years ago. Among other collectibles which inspire through their design, craftsmanship and innovation is a new silver and enamel series celebrating the art of stained glass; the continuation of the popular gold and silver Asian blessings series and a bounty of nature-themed precious metal coins.
"The Mint is privileged to be able to capture moments in Canadian history and national symbols with coins whose quality and craftsmanship accurately reflect their significance to our identity," said Ian E. Bennett, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint. "We are honoured to share stories which define the Canadian experience with customers in Canada and around the world who have come to expect the Mint to continue pushing the boundaries of coin manufacturing and design."
On May 17, 1939 Canadians greeting R.M.S. Empress of Australia as it docked in Quebec City bore witness to an unprecedented sight: the first-ever glimpse of a reigning monarch on Canadian soil as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth began a historic 29-day visit across Canada. So began a long tradition of Royal visits which has continued to win the affection of generations of Canadians over the last 75 years. In celebration of this landmark event, a team of Mint engravers has produced three exquisite keepsakes: a 99.999% pure gold coin and 99.99% fine silver coin both featuring a double effigy of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth boldly engraved in ultra-high relief, as well as a $20 face value fine silver coin enhanced by an antique finish of the royal couple standing on the waving platform of the train which took them on a 14,000 kilometres rail journey from coast to coast and back again.
Another Royal Mail Ship was made famous for tragic reasons when R.M.S. Empress of Ireland collided with the Norwegian collier Storstad in dense fog in the St. Lawrence River on May 29, 1914. The sinking of this Canadian Pacific Steamship Lines vessel only 14 minutes after impact remains Canada's worst maritime disaster as 1,012 passengers and crew lost their lives in the pre-dawn hours of that fateful day. The ominous last voyage of R.M.S. Empress of Ireland is vividly captured on two coins which christen a new series commemorating ships lost in Canadian waters.
The first coin in this new series is crafted of 99.99% fine silver coin and features a poignant colour illustration of the ship by maritime artist John Horton. This coin is also edge-engraved with the ship's name and the silhouette of a bell, representing one of the many artifacts recovered from the wreck and now displayed at the Site historique maritime de la Pointe-au-Père near Rimouski, Quebec. Another notable figure of Canada's maritime art scene, Yves Bérubé, has added his interpretation of R.M.S Empress of Ireland on a silver-plated, coloured 50-cent coin.
Another new series of coins celebrates a timeless art form as well as the Mint's renowned capacity for innovation. The $20 Fine Silver Coin – Stained Glass: Craigdorrach Castle features the Mint's most advanced application of multi-coloured enamel as each section of the flower motif adorning one of the windows of this famed Victoria, BC landmark has been meticulously filled by hand. This vivid design is surrounded by the same intricate brick pattern of the lead framing of the original window.
More innovation appears on the second coin in the $10 Fine Silver Dragonfly series as the Green Darner comes to life against a colourful holographic display of its natural environment.
A maple leaf hologram also adds a vibrant touch of colour to the newest coin inspired by the tradition of Asian blessings as the 2014 $15 Maple of Longevity fine silver coin features an elegantly complex engraving of artist Simon Ng's design of a pair of cranes. Charles Vinh's crane design is meticulously engraved on a scallop-shaped, 99.999% pure gold Blessings of Longevity coin which is graced by a bold rendering of the Chinese symbol of longevity.
The Mint is continuing its series of selectively gold-plated fine silver coins celebrating the Seven Sacred Teachings practiced by Aboriginal people throughout North America. The second coin in a series featuring the work of artist Nathalie Bertin depicts the buffalo, which symbolizes respect for the environment and reminds us that humanity's survival depends on nature. This powerful symbol of ancient culture and Canadian nature is also found on the latest addition to the $20 Fine Silver buffalo-themed coin series with "A family at rest" by artist Claudio D'Angelo.
Another revered member of Canada's animal kingdom is the bald eagle which continues to captivate Canadian and international customers in several new portrayals of this ruler of our skies:
An inspiring landscape theme is captured on a brightly painted $20 fine silver coin celebrating river rapids, with a fall scene in Ontario's famed Algonquin Park. It uses a world-first "Transition Effect" coin colourization technique which recreates the shimmer and sparkle of a waterfall illustrated in the original work of artist Robert Ross. More of our iconic nature is celebrated on the latest releases from our O Canada series as childhood visions of the maple tree are portrayed on $10 and $25 face-value fine silver coins.
The Mint has also issued its 2014 Silver Dollar Proof Set commemorating the 100th anniversary of the declaration of the First World War. This set contains a 99.99% fine proof silver dollar accompanied by base metal versions of Canada's current circulation coinage also crafted with a proof finish.
Mintages, pricing and full background information on each product can be found on the "Shop" tab of www.mint.ca.
All of these products can be ordered directly from the Mint at 1-800-267-1871 in Canada, 1-800-268-6468 in the US, or online at www.mint.ca (subject to availability). The coins are also available at the Royal Canadian Mint's boutiques in Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver, as well as through our global network of dealers and distributors, including participating Canada Post outlets.
About the Royal Canadian Mint
The Royal Canadian Mint is the Crown Corporation responsible for the minting and distribution of Canada's circulation coins. An ISO 9001-2008 certified company, the Mint is recognized as one of the largest and most versatile mints in the world, offering a wide range of specialized, high quality coinage products and related services on an international scale. For more information on the Mint, its products and services, visit www.mint.ca.
For more information, please contact:
Senior Manager, Communications
Tel: (613) 949-5777