Georgina Fane Pope was a pioneering woman in Canada's military. She was the first of four nurses who volunteered to travel to South Africa in 1899 in support of British and Canadian troops fighting in the Second Boer War. A key element of what made the event noteworthy was the fact that each of the nurses was appointed with a rank of lieutenant - it was the first time nurses were given a military rank.
Though it was not mentioned on the Royal Canadian Mint
) web page for the coin, the driver behind the coin appears to be the 150th anniversary of Georgina's birth. She was born on January 1, 1862 on Prince Edward Island (PEI); she died in 1938 (also in PEI). Georgina was born into a wealthy family and could have lived a life of leisure. She chose, instead, to study nursing (in the United States at the New York Training School for Nurses at Bellevue Hospital in New York City) and to pursue a career in nursing in Canada's military.
From The Canadian Encyclopedia:
"...[Georgina Pope] achieved many "firsts" as a Canadian military nurse:
- the first nurse appointed to serve during the South African War (1899-1902);
- the first non-permanent nurse with the Army (1904);
- the first permanent nurse in the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC, 1906);
- the first Matron of the CAMC nursing service (1908); and
- the first Canadian military nurse to receive the Royal Red Cross Class 1 medal (1903)."
I highly recommend reading the article about Pope by Cynthia Toman that can be found on The Canadian Encyclopedia web site - it provides a great history of Georgina from her early days through her military career and the legacy she left behind. You can find it here: Georgina Pope
Per the RCM
, the coin was issued to honour "the participation of women in previous wars and in today's Canadian Forces." The RCM
's page for the coin also credits Pope with playing a lead role in making all branches of Canada's military open to women. A definite inspiration and role model for women with military aspirations.
Laurie McGaw was the artist/designer for the coin's commemorative reverse. The lower left foreground of the design is dominated by a portrait of Pope in military dress. (Shown below is an image of Georgina that appears to be the source of the depiction of Pope on the coin.) Behind Pope are depicted three women from Canada's military history: a nurse from WWI (at left), a member of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS) from WW II (middle) and a female member of Canada's current Armed Forces (at right).
Ms. McGaw has designed more than two dozen coins for the RCM
, including one of my personal favorites - the 2015 100th Anniversary of In Flanders Fields
$20 silver coin. I've previously posted about it here:In Flanders Fields $20 Coin
The Susanna Blunt portrait of Queen Elizabeth II is on the coin's obverse; the Blunt portrait of QEII began appearing on Canada's coins in 2003 and continues to the present day.
The coin was struck on a 36.07 mm 0.9999 fine silver planchet; it was struck with a proof finish. The coin weighs 23.17 grams and has a reeded / serrated edge. It was shipped in a maroon clamshell case within a black sleeve. The coin was placed on sale to the general public on October 9, 2012.
The issue price of the coin was $69.95 CAD. It had a published maximum mintage of 10,000 but sales of that magnitude never developed. Per the 2012 Annual Report (AR) of the RCM
, sales of the coin totaled just 3,154. Considering the October 2012 launch date for the coin, I find it difficult to believe that no coins were sold in 2013 - it was available for purchase from the RCM
in 2013 - but the 2013 RCM
AR does not list any. IMO, the lack of listing of 2013 sales was an oversight or mistake; I believe more than 3,154 examples of the Pope coin were sold into the marketplace.
I was able to purchase my coin for $35.00 CAD - another coin below my $40 target. The purchase brought my total spend on the RCM
's $5 silver commemorative coins (on my list) to $217 CAD against a target of $240 - still tracking!