I put this commemorative coin in the "Lifetime Achievement" category, as it does not mark a specific anniversary date, but rather celebrates a person's work over their life/career . The coin's release did, however, closely follow Munro's winning of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Alice Munro was born on July 10, 1931 in Wingham, Canada. She began writing as a teenager and published her first work in 1950 - the short story "Dimensions of a Shadow." Short stories represent the core of her work and are the focus of her many accolades. She has been called the "master of the contemporary short story" by the Swedish Academy (the organization that awards the Nobel Prize for Literature) and has won more than two dozen awards/prizes over her career. This year, she is set to mark her 90th year! I hope she is still writing!
There are multiple fine biographies of the writer available on the internet, so I will not try to walk a path already taken. A nice, brief biography about Ms. Munro can be found at the web site of the Nobel Prize. I encourage folks to give it a quick read, you can find it here: Alice Munro Facts
The 2014 Alice Munro commemorative $5 coin was one of over 300 Royal Canadian Mint
) releases dated "2014." It was busy time for the Mint and a crowded environment for new coins to find interested collectors! The Munro coin did not set the collector market on fire.
The coin's commemorative reverse depicts an open book with English prose on the left page, and the same passage in French is on the right. The text is handwritten, and a hand holding a pen and actively writing in the book is seen at the bottom of the design. A whispy image of a young woman is shown rising from the pen/page; it is meant to be symbolic of the many female characters in Munro's stories. The design is the work of Laurie McGaw, an artist who has created the design for more than 20 coins struck by the RCM
The passage seen on the coin comes from Munro's book The View from Castle Rock.
The book was published in 2006 and received wide critical acclaim. The passage reads: "And in one of these houses - I can't remember whose - a magic doorstop, a big mother-of-pearl seashell that I recognized as a messenger from near and far, because I could hold it to my ear - when nobody was there to stop me - and discover the tremendous pounding of my own blood, and of the sea."
The coin's obverse features the Susanna Blunt portrait of Queen Elizabeth II; 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, and was struck with a proof finish. The coin weighs 23.17 grams and has a reeded / serrated edge. The actual silver weight (ASW) of the coin is 0.74 ounces. It was shipped in a maroon clamshell case within a black beauty box. The coin was announced to the public on March 14, 2014 at a ceremony held at the Greater Victoria Public Library in Victoria, BC; Munro was in attendance and read the passage seen on the coin to the audience.Munro at the Greater Victoria Public Library. Image courtesy of Royal Canadian Mint.
The issue price of the coin was $69.95 CAD and it had a published maximum mintage of 7,500. Per the 2014 Annual Report (AR) of the RCM
, 2014 sales of the coin totaled 4,463. The 2015 AR listed sales of an additional 124 coins in 2015, which brought total sales for the coin to 4,587 units or ~62% of the potential maximum. As with the 2014 Canadian Expeditionary Force $5 coin, sales weren't terrible but they likely fell short of the expectations which had already been lowered as evidenced by the 7,500 maximum mintage limit vs. the CEF's 10,000.
One of the practical things I like about this coin is the fact that the RCM
donated $10,000 to the Writers' Trust of Canada at the time of the coin's release - at least some of profits generated by sales of the coin went to good use outside of the Mint! Munro won the Trust's inaugural Marian Engel Award in 1986; the award was meant for mid-career female Canadian authors who had already established a very strong body of work. Munro also won the Writer's Trust Fiction Prize in 2004, and was a finalist for the same award in 1998, 2001 and 2009. The Trust remains active to the present day; learn more about them here: www.writerstrust.com
I purchased the Munro silver $5 coin in the secondary market early in 2020. I paid $27 CAD for it, which is $13 less than my target spend of $40. This purchase put me at $404 for ten coins which is just $4 over my target of $400. I need to beat my target purchase price by at least $4 over the last two coins to make my overall purchase goal!