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The Royal Canadian Mint Announces Series of Five Commemorative Circulation Coins Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812

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Mr. Kirk MacRae, Member of the Royal Canadian Mint Board of Directors and Halifax artist Bonnie Ross unveil the 2012 two-dollar circulation coin commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, designed by Ms. Ross, at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site (June 18, 2012).

$2 circulation coin celebrating victory of HMS Shannon over USS Chesapeake is the first salvo in a commemorative circulation coin program also honouring Brock, Tecumseh, de Salaberry and Secord

Ottawa, Ontario, June 18, 2012 – Two hundred years after the start of the conflict in 1812, the Royal Canadian Mint is proud to announce the launch of a series of five new commemorative circulation coins celebrating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. The first of these coins, which begins circulating today, is a two-dollar circulation coin commemorating HMS Shannon, famed for its defeat and capture of the USS Chesapeake and its escort of the American war prize into Halifax harbour.  

This historic naval battle in June 1813 resulted in the death of 23 Shannon crewmen. Graves of fallen crewmen are marked in the Royal Navy Burying Ground and at the Old Burial Ground, administered by St. Paul's Church in Halifax. Shannon's bell is currently on display in Halifax at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

"The Royal Canadian Mint is proud to celebrate Canada's history, culture and values through inspirational coins and we are delighted to join Canadians in celebrating the bicentennial of the War of 1812 by launching a new series of commemorative circulation coins dedicated to these pivotal moments in early Canadian history," said Ian E. Bennett, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint. "The two-dollar circulation coin featuring HMS Shannon's dramatic victory at sea allows Canadians far and wide to collect a coin as prized for its visual beauty as for its historical meaning."

"Honouring the bicentennial of the War of 1812 with this special circulation coin pays tribute to some of our greatest national heroes and a crucial moment on the road to Canadian nationhood," said the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Royal Canadian Mint. "Our government encourages Canadians to take this unprecedented opportunity to learn more about our history and take pride in our traditions by collecting these exciting new circulation coins from the Royal Canadian Mint".

Key historical figures which influenced the successful fight for Canada in the War of 1812 will also be honoured on four new 25-cent circulation coins to be released later in 2012 and 2013. Our ancestors who valiantly defended British North America and ushered 200 years of peace on the North American continent will be represented by: General Sir Isaac Brock, Chief Tecumseh, Charles de Salaberry and Laura Secord.  The designs of these coins will be revealed in conjunction with their official circulation date, from 2012 to 2013.

Limited to a mintage of five million coins, the HMS Shannon two-dollar commemorative circulation coin begins circulating on June 18, 2012.  The public is encouraged to look for it in their change, exchange it on-line at www.mint.ca/1812, or visit one of the Mint's boutiques in Ottawa, Winnipeg or Vancouver to trade in their loose change   (Please see below backgrounder for further information).

In January 2012, the Mint also dedicated its annual silver dollar collector coin to the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.  It can still be purchased in proof and brilliant uncirculated finishes, and with selective gold-plating available exclusively in the 2012 Fine Silver  Proof Set, from www.mint.ca; the Mint's boutiques in Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver; and through our network of distributors, including participating Canada Post outlets. These products can also be ordered by directly contacting the Mint at 1-800-267-1871 in Canada and 1-800-268-6468 in the US.

More collector products inspired by the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 will be available as of July 2012, as well as in future product launches this year and in 2013.  Those wishing to be among the first to receive news of these new products are encouraged to sign up for the Mint's e-mail newsletter at www.mint.ca/store/mint/customer-service.

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

Images of the Mint's newest coin are available by visiting ftp://communications:RCM2007@ftp.mint.ca.

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For more information, media are asked to contact:
Alex Reeves
Senior Manager, Communications
Telephone: (613) 949-5777
reeves@mint.ca  

Backgrounder

2012 $2 Commemorative Circulation Coin:
200th Anniversary of the War of 1812 "HMS Shannon"

2012 $2 Circulation Coin - HMS Shannon_reverse   image001

In June 1813, Captain Philip Broke, Commander of the HMS Shannon, was eager to secure a victory for the British Navy, which had suffered a series of single-ship combat defeats at the hands of the United States. Challenging the USS Chesapeake off the New England coast, both ships met with guns at the ready. The battle lasted only 11 minutes, but the decisive victory helped to bolster the confidence of the British Navy, especially at the sight of the captured Chesapeake being escorted into Halifax harbour by a triumphant HMS Shannon.

The reverse image of the 2012 two-dollar circulation coin commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and the influential role of the HMS Shannon was designed by Nova Scotian artist Bonnie Ross.  It depicts HMS Shannon leaving Halifax Harbor to do battle on the Atlantic at the height of the historic conflict between Great Britain and the United States.

Spanning the entire face of the coin, are docks and buildings of early 19th-century Halifax Harbor on the left side, with Citadel Hill visible in the distance. On the far right, a tall ship sails across the well-defended harbour. The brass-plated centre of the coin contains a starboard-side portrait of HMS Shannon rendered in elaborate detail, sails fully unfurled and filled by a steady westerly wind, jib boom and bowsprit pointed out to sea.

Engraved at the base of the outer ring is the original figurehead from HMS Shannon's bow.  The rest of the ring features "The War of 1812/La guerre de 1812" and "HMS Shannon", as well as the initials of the artist. This coin maintains the security-features of the Mint's new multi-ply plated steel two-dollar circulation coins, namely: two laser-engraved maple leaves at the bottom of the coin; a virtual image of two maple leaves at the top, and the words "CANADA – 2 DOLLARS" struck along its edge.

The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt, as well as the Government of Canada's official commemorative symbol for the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

Only five million of these commemorative circulation coins have been produced.  Canadians can find them in general circulation as of June 18, 2012, or obtain limited quantities through an online coin exchange at www.mint.ca/1812

Images of the Mint's newest coin are available by visiting ftp://communications:RCM2007@ftp.mint.ca.

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For more information, media are asked to contact:
Alex Reeves
Senior Manager, Communications
Telephone: (613) 949-5777
reeves@mint.ca