Thursday, October 16, 2014

Commemorative coins : Canada 1867-1967 - 01

There was a time, when coins were used to pay for goods or services. They were representing a certain value in gold or silver and the owner could exchange the coin for things or services, as long as a bank was covering the value of the coin.

Coins are not really intened to be collected, as then you can't "exchange" the token for what you need. However as banks started to emit commemorative coins, people started to keep those coins apart and collecting was born.

From the 60's of the 20th Century on, coin collecting had become a widespread phenomenon, in such an amount, that banks started to have problems minting enough coins to keep u with the demand.
As regular circulation coins also contained silver, the demand was becoming too high.
In 1967 Canada issued its last silver coin dollar, by 1968 all Canadian dollars were made out of 100% nickel, and at the same time, the dollar coins were reduced in size too.

This article will deal with the last set of silver commemorative coins (so not only the dollar-coin) that was issued in Canada in 1967.

In 1967, Canada celebrated the centennial of the Confederation.
A set of 6 coins was issued, from 1 cent to 1 Canadian Dollar.

The back side of each coin is quite simple, Queen Elisabeth II, head of state of Canada.

For the front side of the coins, a competition was opened in 1964, by the the Minister of Finance, Walter L. Gordon. The competition open to artists, sculptors and designers residing in Canada or to Canadians living abroad would be held for the submission of coinage designs. A $2,500.00 First Prize was offered for the winning designs in each of the six coinage denominations (One Cent, Five Cents, Ten Cents, Twenty-Five Cents, Fifty Cents and Silver Dollar).

The competition ended on March 31, 1965 and the over-all winner was the 44 years old artist David Alexander Colville, born on 24 Aug 1920 in Toronto.

David A. Colville - 1920 - 2013
Colville was still a young man when in 1939, WWII erupted, he enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1942 upon graduation from Mount Allison University. Serving in Northwestern Europe with the 3rd Canadian Division, he was made an official war artist in 1944, He landed in Southern France, saw action in Nijmegen during Market Garden (where his unit relieved the 82nd Airborne) and continued into Germany, where he saw first hand the horror of the Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

Infantry in Nijmegen by D.A. Colville
The artist died on July 16, 2013, aged 92.

... to be continued ...

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