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Commems Collection Canadian: 1999 Vikings Settlement Set

 
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 Posted 10/10/2021  12:41 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
A commemorative set that doesn't get much attention is the subject of this post - it's a two-piece set of coins that was the result of a joint project between Canada and Norway. I refer, of course, to the 1999 1000th Anniversary of Viking Settlement in Canada Set.

The Set was conceived in Canada with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien being a driving force in its creation. He wrote to the Norwegian Prime Minister, Kjell Magne Bondevik, in 1998, and proposed that the each of the countries strike a coin commemorating the estimated 1000-year anniversary of the first Viking settlement in Canada - L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, Canada. (The settlement site was identified in the 1960s via archaeological excavations.) The proposal was accepted and the mint of each country began its process.

An interesting feature of the $5 Canadian coin in the set is the fact that it was struck on a planchet prepared by the Den Kongelige Mynt (Royal Norwegian Mint) and one that is identical to the 20 Kroner coin from Norway that is also part of the set. The planchets are 27.5 millimeters (mm) in diameter, 2.2 mm thick,weigh 9.9 grams and are an alloy of 81% copper, 10% zinc and 9% nickel. Each coin was struck by its home country; the Royal Canadian Mint (R C M) and Royal Norwegian Mint, respectively. (Note: This is the only Canadian coin to use this planchet.)

Canada's coin in the set is a proof coin, while the coin from Norway is listed as a brilliant uncirculated strike - it is very proof-like in appearance to my eyes with frosted devices. In addition to the coins for the special collector sets, the Royal Norwegian Mint struck the Norway coin for circulation; the Canadian coin was available only in the sets. The Norwegian coin was also struck in Norway as a full proof coin for collectors; it was included in a 1999 Proof Set that also includes the nation's other circulating coins. (Note: The Royal Norwegian Mint is now referred to simply as the Mint of Norway.)

For the Canadian market, 16,000 sets were made available through the R C M. For the Norwegian market, an additional 10,000 sets were produced (a combined total of 26,000). Mintage for the Norway circulation coin was 1,048,700; for the proof coin, a modest 2,500. I've reviewed the Royal Canadian Mint Annual Reports for 1999 and 2000, but did not find a listing for the coin set in the "Canadian numismatic coinage issued" table included in each. I don't believe the Set was a sell out, however. As such, I continue to consider all mintage figures I see listed on the internet, including the Mint's own web site which lists a surprising 28,450, as "estimated" or "unverified."

The presentation case for the set is listed as being specific to each country's set, but I've never come across a set for the Norway market, so I'm not aware of the differences. The case for the Canadian version is a two-piece, oval-shaped case that has a look-and-feel that can best be described as faux rock. It is an unusual package and does hark back to the more rugged days of the circa-1000 AD Vikings. (Note: The case, with updated, theme-specific labeling/ornamentation, was used again in 2001 for the joint Canada-UK Marconi Set.)

The obverse of the Canadian $5 coin features the Dora de Pédery-Hunt portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Its reverse depicts a Viking longship from the stern as it approaches land - presumably the site of L'Anse aux Meadows. The design was created by independent, Nova Scotia-born artist Donald Curley (who was known for his history-based paintings of regional subjects), and Mint Engraver Stan Witten.

The obverse of the Norway coin features a right-facing portrait of King Harald V. The stylized reverse design presents a view of a longship, from a bow perspective, with above- and below-waterline views of the ship's hull. Though not mentioned specifically, it is likely the ship design is based on the Gokstad ship which was found in Norway in 1880; the ship is currently featured on Norway's 100 krone bank note from a near-identical perspective. Both sides of the coin were designed by Norwegian sculptor Nils Aas. (For more on the note, see: New 100-krone note - motifs at the Norges Bank web site.)

To the right of the ship (viewer's perspective) is seen the inscription "MOT / UKJENT / LAND" which translates into English as "TOWARDS UNKNOWN LANDS". The crossed-pick-and-hammer mint mark of the Royal Norwegian Mint is shown below the ship, along with the initials of the then-Director of the Mint ("JEJ" - Jan Erik Johnansen). (Note: the initials of the Director of the Mint are no longer included on Norway's coins.)

The original issue price for the Set was $39.95 (CAD).

1999 Canada 1000th Anniversary of Viking Settlement $5


1999 Norway 1000th Anniversary of Viking Settlement 20 Kroner


1999 Canada 1000th Anniversary of Viking Settlement Set Presentation Case



For more of my posts on Canadian commemorative coins and medals, check out Read More: Commems Collection.


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 10/10/2021  6:02 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add PastExpiry to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I find it odd that they could not mention 1000 years somewhere on the coin. Just my opinion, but I find the waves on the coin make it look a little too busy and take away from the ship.
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 Posted 10/11/2021  2:04 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I find it odd that they could not mention 1000 years somewhere on the coin.

Coin designs don't always have to be literal. It's OK if a design requires knowledge of a bit of history on the part of the viewer. Such is the case here.


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 10/11/2021  2:39 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hfjacinto to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Commems,

While I always appreciate the work and the history you put into each post, this is not a nice looking coin. I'm just not a fan of any coins with bald old men. This could have been a beautiful commemorative, but its not. Neither of the coins have much visual appeal, with the Norway coin being downright ugly.
Edited by hfjacinto
10/11/2021 2:47 pm
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 Posted 10/11/2021  4:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Not sure I understand the comment. Never once did I say either of the coins presented was beautiful. I simply stated that I didn't believe a coin needed to literally state its commemorative nature in order to be considered a commemorative piece. I still maintain that position, and don't believe it has anything to do with whether a coin is attractive or not - something that can often be very subjective.


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 10/11/2021  4:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hfjacinto to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The comment on how ugly the coin was just that its an ugly coin.


Quote:
I simply stated that I didn't believe a coin needed to literally state its commemorative nature in order to be considered a commemorative piece.


As to above, I don't know. A lot of coins don't say they are commemorative but they are (examples include the life of Lincoln cents and Westward expansion nickels).
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 Posted 10/11/2021  5:07 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
As to above, I don't know. A lot of coins don't say they are commemorative but they are (examples include the life of Lincoln cents and Westward expansion nickels).

My point exactly.


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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