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“Give Peace a Chance” Turns 50

The reverse of Canada’s silver $20 proof marking the 50th anniversary of the recording of the anti-war anthem “Give Peace a Chance” in Montreal on June 1, 1969. (Image courtesy Royal Canadian Mint)

On June 1, 1969, a hastily written and partly improvised song by John Lennon called “Give Peace a Chance” was performed by the “Plastic Ono Band”. It was recorded in Room 1742 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal where John and Yoko were holding their famous “Bed-in for Peace” protest. Numerous media representatives and celebrities were in attendance.

The release of the record would see the song soar to no. 2 in the U.K. Singles Chart and no. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. It quickly became the anthem of the anti-Vietnam War and counterculture movements.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the recording The Royal Canadian Mint has produced a 38 mm, 31.39 g .9999 fine silver proof $20 with a mintage of 9,999. The reverse presents the original photo by Ivor Sharp of John and Oko taken during their “Bed-in for Peace” protest.

The coin is proving extremely popular. Within five days of issue the RCM had sold 76% of the mintage.

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