The Royal Canadian Mint is launching a year-long celebration of Bluenose with a pair of coins dedicated to the famously swift sailing ship. The annual $100 Pure Gold Coin and Proof Silver Dollar share the thrilling story of an impeccably crafted schooner. One hundred years ago, Bluenose emerged from the Smith and Rhuland shipyard in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and sailed into the hearts and minds of Canadians as the fastest and most graceful fishing schooner the world had ever seen. The pride felt by its architect, William James Roué, and of those who built and crewed it, continues to be shared from coast to coast to coast. The first of an exquisite suite of Bluenose collector coins are available now.
To thematic collectors of ship coins and those who keep up with Canadian commemorative issues, I suggest you act fast to acquire this attractive new Bluenose proof silver dollar at its issue price of $55. Even with a significant mintage of 30,000 pieces this coin is likely to sell very well right out of the gate. While there are inexpensive Bluenose coin options in the long running Canadian circulating dime series available to thematic collectors, past commemorative types dedicated to the well know sailing ship have been quite popular and costly.
The commemorative 2018 and 2019 Big Coin and Legacy versions of the 10 cent Bluenose had mintages below 3,000 and issue prices between $450 and $550. Last year the RCM issued a $50 Bluenose coin in the Real Shapes series with a mintage of just 1,200 pieces. This unusual Bluenose coin is still available from various dealers at about $260. The $200 gold Bluenose of 2016 had a very low mintage of 274 pieces and a price around $2,000, while the $20 silver Bluenose issued in 2000 sold out its much larger mintage very quickly and doubled in retail value almost immediately. Remarkably the current retail value of just over $100 on that proof silver Bluenose crown of 2000 has held there, at about double its issue price, for the last 20 years.
I think that’s a fair testament to the popularity of this Canadian icon, which set sail in 1921. Truth is that numismatists tend to have a healthy respect for history and in general, Canadian coins are largely about the countries rich historical past. The 100thAnniversary of Bluenose warrants the heightened attention as the ship carries with it quite a story.
“Bluenose is near and dear to my heart. I am a proud Nova Scotian, but the familial connection to the story makes it that much more special,” said Joan Roué, great-granddaughter of Bluenose architect William James Roué. “The 2021 Proof Dollar helps keep my great-grandfather’s legacy alive and represents an opportunity to re-educate Canadians on the significance of the vessel on our dime. Seeing his signature on this coin is incredibly moving and very personal for the Roué family.”
In its first season, Bluenose both hauled in a record catch on the Grand Banks and brought the International Fishermen’s Trophy back to Nova Scotia. It remained the undefeated champion in this racing series and proudly defended the title “Queen of the North Atlantic Fishing Fleet” throughout nearly 20 years of racing.
“The beloved Bluenose easily found a home on the dime when our circulation coins were redesigned in 1937 to celebrate Canada’s favourite national symbols,” said Marie Lemay, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint. “The ingenuity behind Bluenose is synonymous with Canadian innovation and know-how, and a matter of national pride that spans generations.”
Canadian marine artist Yves Bérubé masterfully captured the vision of William James Roué on the reverse of the 2021 Proof Silver Dollar. His design illustrates both the dream and reality of the project with part of the original plans of Design No. 17, which would become Bluenose, at the forefront and the legendary schooner under full sail at the heart of the coin. The architect’s hand can be seen finishing the drawing and his signature, as it appeared on the original Bluenose sail plan, is featured at the base of the design. The obverse features the effigy of King George V, who was Canada’s monarch in 1921 when the Bluenose was launched.
The 2021 Proof Silver Dollar also holds center stage on the Fine Silver Proof Set. This set includes fine silver versions of Canada’s circulating denominations, a special 1921- 2021 double-dated 10-cent coin with a King George V obverse and a special selectively gold-plated version of the 2021 Bluenose proof silver dollar. The selectively gold-plated version of the crown and the special anniversary dime will only be available in this proof set, which will have a mintage of 20,000 and an issue price of $185.
“It doesn’t matter which part of Canada you were from, she represented us all—and still does. I can’t imagine a Canada without Bluenose,” said Bérubé. “For me, Bluenose is more than just a ship. She is a proud, beautiful symbol of history and tradition on the East Coast, where she represents every sailor, fisherman and shipbuilder.”
To design the reverse of the $100 Pure Gold coin, Mint engravers drew from a historical photograph and Roué’s hull design to show two perspectives of Bluenose. The newly finished hull, adorned with signal flags on its March 26, 1921 launch, appears to float over a cross sectional diagram showing both the bow and stern of Bluenose. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.
These first Bluenose coins of 2021 went on sale January 12thand may be ordered by contacting the Mint at 1-800-267-1871 in Canada, 1-800-268-6468 in the US, or at www.mint.ca. on the RCM’s very easy to use internet sales site. If the mint has sold out before you get there, don’t dishearten. You will find these coins and sets on various dealer websites like www.thecoinshoppe.ca at prices much the same as the mints issue price, at least for a while.
For a RCM video, vist https://youtu.be/4EnqR0iaJ10.