The Underground Railroad, the famous network of safe houses and secret routes that helped enslaved people of African descent escape to freedom in Canada, is the subject of the Royal Canadian Mint’s latest issue in its ongoing Commemorating Black History coin series. Launched in conjunction with the start of Black History Month, this silver collector coin designed by Toronto artist Kwame Delfish, portrays in a unique perspective the human side of the perilous northward migration, which reached its peak in the 1850s and 1860s. This moving new collectible became available as of Feb. 1, 2022.
“The employees of the Royal Canadian Mint are proud to once again add to the national celebration of Black History Month with a beautiful silver coin that brings the important story of the Underground Railroad to life,” said Marie Lemay, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint. “By remembering those who undertook the long and risky journey to escape slavery in the 19th century, as well as their brave and tireless guides, we are reminding ourselves that freedom is one of our most enduring values.”
The reverse design of this 99.99 percent pure silver coin is an innovative tribute to those who travelled the Underground Railroad. The men, women and children following the Big Dipper constellation to guide their way north to freedom, are illustrated along the coin’s edge to create the sense of circular motion representing their long, continuous journey. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt, set against a repeating maple leaf pattern.
“This coin is meant to honour and pay homage to the ancestral slaves that escaped to the North in search of freedom,” said artist Kwame Delfish. “Many did not get to complete the journey and faced the same (if not more) hardships than what they left behind. The ones that made it built their legacies and shaped the mosaic that Canada is today. My hope is that their strength and courage is illustrated on this coin, and that I have sung their gospel.”
Limited to a mintage of 5,500, the 2022 $20 Fine Silver Coin Commemorating Black History - The Underground Railroad retails for $99.95. This new collectible may be ordered as of today by contacting the Mint at 1-800-267-1871 in Canada, 1-800-268-6468 in the U.S., or at www.mint.ca.