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Pure Silver Coin and $10 Bank Note Set - Viola Desmond - Mintage: 8,000 (2019)

Pure Silver Coin and $10 Bank Note Set - Viola Desmond - Mintage: 8,000 (2019)

$149.95 CAD
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Mintage: 8,000
Canada and US only
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In Honour of Black History Month, the Royal Canadian Mint has proudly designed a 99.99% pure silver tribute to a Canadian civil rights pioneer, Viola Desmond (1914-1965).

Viola Desmond sparked a movement by standing firm in the face of injustice. On November 8, 1946, she was arrested after she refused to sit in a segregated section of a movie theatre. Her act of courage, and the legal challenge that ensued, became a rallying point for equal rights in Canada. Your coin honours civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond, whose signature appears on the coin. While the script text is a nod to the Halifax businesswoman’s line of beauty products, the photo-based design is a lasting reminder that one person can inspire change.

A heartfelt tribute to Viola Desmond! Order your coin and $10 bank note set today!

Special features:
  • SPECIAL! Includes a new $10 vertical bank note issued by the Bank of Canada on November 19, 2018, featuring Viola Desmond’s portrait!
  • COMMEMORATES A CRUSADER! Her courageous stand against racial discrimination is a milestone moment in Canada’s history. It is part of this nation’s continuing journey to equal rights and freedoms for all.
  • INCLUDES HER SIGNATURE! Your coin and the accompanying certificate of authenticity include a copy of Viola Desmond’s signature, as it appeared on a graduation diploma from the Desmond Studio of Beauty Culture. Her printed name also appears in a script font, as it did on the original packaging for Sepia Beauty Products—her very own line of hair and skin care products.
  • DOUBLE DATED! Your coin is double dated to denote Desmond’s birth year (1914) and the year of her passing (1965).
  • A HEART THAT REPRESENTS A LEGACY! The necklace seen in the photograph inspired the stylized heart on the reverse.
  • INCLUDES SERIALIZED CERTIFICATE! The Royal Canadian Mint certifies all of its collector coins. 
  • LIMITED WORLDWIDE MINTAGE! Your coin has a limited worldwide mintage of 8,000 coins!
  • PURE SILVER! Your coin is crafted from 99.99% pure silver.


Your coin features a reproduction of an iconic photograph of Viola Desmond, whose signature is reproduced from a diploma issued by the Desmond Studio of Beauty Culture. Double dates commemorate Viola Desmond’s birth date (“1914”) and the year of her passing (“1965”), while the necklace in the photograph inspired the stylized heart. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.

The Royal Canadian Mint proudly presented the coin to Viola Desmond’s sister,
Ms. Wanda Robson, on January 23 at her home in Nova Scotia.

“We worked closely with Viola Desmond’s sister, Ms. Wanda Robson, to ensure Viola’s story was shared accurately.” Matt Eggink, Product Manager, Royal Canadian Mint

Did you know…
  • Viola Desmond was a successful entrepreneur and a mentor.
    At a time when beauty schools and shops were often segregated, Desmond opened Vi’s Studio of Beauty Culture in 1937, followed by the Desmond School of Beauty Culture. Her next business venture was the launch of Vi’s Beauty Products (branded SEPIA), a successful line of skin and hair care products that bore her name and likeness—similar to the coin’s reverse.
  • Desmond was charged with tax evasion.
    Since segregation wasn’t legally enforced, Desmond was charged, convicted and fined for failure to pay the one-cent difference on the amusement tax on the pricier lower-level seat. In fact, Desmond had attempted to exchange her balcony-level ticket and pay the difference, but she was denied based on the colour of her skin.
  • Her conviction galvanized a community.
    Attempts to overturn Desmond’s conviction were unsuccessful, but the injustice paved the way for new legislation in the 1950s and 1960s that prohibited racial discrimination in Nova Scotia. Finally, on April 15, 2010, Desmond was posthumously granted a pardon, along with an apology and a public declaration that her case had been a miscarriage of justice.

Order today!

Bank note images reproduced with the permission of the Bank of Canada – La reproduction des images de billets de banque est autorisée par la Banque du Canada.

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  • No.171542
  • Mintage8,000
  • Composition99.99% pure silver
  • Finishproof
  • Weight (g) 31.39
  • Diameter (mm) 38
  • Edgeserrated
  • Certificateserialized
  • Face value20 dollars
  • ArtistSusanna Blunt (obverse)

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