As promised (threatened?
), here's my first post regarding progress on my new 36 millimeter $5 NCLT collecting pursuit.
The first $5 coin I have to present is one of two issued in 2005. In that year, the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) released two Special Edition $5 commemorative coins: one marked the centennial of Alberta joining the Canadian Confederation, the other did the same for Saskatchewan. Both of the western Canada provinces joined the Confederation on September 1, 1905; each traces its roots to districts within the former North-West Territories. This post is about the Alberta coin.
In January and February 2005, the RCM conducted a contest among the general public to select the design to be used for the circulating 25-cent coins marking the centennials of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The RCM had solicited designs from local artists and had selected four from those received to present to the public. Canadians were asked to vote for their favorite via a toll-free telephone number or the RCM web site from January 17, 2005 through February 16, 2005. The vote represented the first time that the RCM opened up the final selection of a coin's design to the general public.
Two of the designs reflected Alberta's rich oil industry, one with an oil derrick taking a prominent place in the overall design (titled "Big Sky Country"), and another presenting an oil pump jack as its primary design element with a cowboy on his horse in the background ("A Dynamic Century"). Nature was the centerpiece of the other two designs, with a spiraled-horn big horn sheep the foreground feature of one design ("Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep") and a scene featuring a lake in the foreground with grasslands and foothills in the mid-ground and the Rocky Mountains in the background on the other ("Alberta's Natural Beauty"). Here's a newspaper ad from the RCM featuring the four designs and encouraging Albertans to vote for their favorite.
Overall, 26,536 votes were cast for the four proposed Alberta designs, with Calgary-based artist Michelle Grant, who describes her style as "contemporary realistic," emerging as the winner in a tightly contested race with Thom Nelson and his "Alberta's Natural Beauty" design; Ms. Grant's "Big Sky Country" design garnered 7,955 votes (~30%), with Mr. Nelson's design receiving ~7,500. Working from foreground to background, Ms. Grant's design depicts a wild rose (Alberta's provincial flower) flanked by wheat spikes, an oil derrick with cattle grazing on an open plain and, finally, a mountain range with a setting sun. Though the vote was open to all Canadians, the RCM stated that more than 80% of the votes came from Alberta residents.
Ms. Grant was quoted in an interview at the time of the quarter's launch, "I wanted an image that transcended all of Alberta's 100 years. Throughout the whole process, I kept asking myself, 'What has made Alberta great?'" Oil, wheat and cattle were -- and are -- significant contributors to Alberta's economy, so it's clear the design elements Ms. Grant selected to represent the province were well-reasoned.
The RCM struck 20.64 million of the 25-cent coins for circulation; 9,108 of the coins were housed in First Day Coin folders intended for collectors. The first day of coinage was April 25, 2005; the coins entered circulation in July.
Prior to the Alberta coin, Ms. Grant had previously designed the 2002 50-cent "Festivals: Calgary Stampede" coin for the RCM. She followed her work on the 2005 Alberta coin with designs for a number of RCM NCLT coins, including the commemorative reverses of the 2006 Jasper National Park $20 silver coin, the 2012 five-ounce gold and silver "100 Years of the Calgary Stampede" coins, the 2015 "Canadian Horse" $125 silver coin, the 2016 "Baby Animals: Woodchuck" $20 silver coin, the 2018 "Canada: Golden Maple Leaf" $30 silver coin and 2019's "Victory Stampede" $20 silver coin, among others.
You can learn much more about Ms. Grant at her web site: www.michellegrant.ca
From early in the process, the RCM planned on issuing a collector coin for the Alberta centennial that used the same design as the circulating coin; the RCM selected the $5 denomination for the precious-metal version of the coin and decided to strike it on the planchet previously reserved for its silver dollar coins. The silver coin's commemorative design was essentially the same as the one used for the circulating 25-cent piece, with the only change being the replacement of the coin's denomination -- "25 cents" was replaced with "$5" at the same reverse-side location. (See below for an image of the circulating coin in a First Day Cover package.)2005 Alberta Centennial Proof $5.00 Silver Coin - Reverse
The $5 coin was struck as a proof on 0.9999 fine silver planchet. The coin has a weight of 25.175 grams and a diameter (of course!) of 36.07 millimeters; the coin features a reeded / serrated edge.
The Susanna Blunt portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the coin's obverse; the Blunt portrait of QEII began appearing on Canada's coins in 2003.
The RCM stated a maximum mintage of 20,000 for the $5 coin, but I have not yet been able to locate a final sales total for the coin; neither the 2005 nor 2006 RCM Annual Report even mentions the silver $5 coin among is numismatic products. It seems doubtful all 20,000 were sold, but I suppose it's at least possible. If anyone has a definitive mintage/sales figure, I'd appreciate hearing about it.
I was able to purchase the Alberta coin for $27 CAD -- well under my goal of $40 CAD per coin! I'm off to a good start with my secondary market purchases of the 36 mm $5 series!2005 Alberta Centennial 25-Cent First Day Coin Folder - Front Panel2005 Alberta Centennial 25-Cent First Day Coin Folder - Inner Panels2005 Alberta Centennial 25-Cent First Day Coin Folder - Back Panel