The Royal Canadian Mint
) released its most ambitious special package option for one of its commemorative silver dollars in 2004 with its issue of the 400th Anniversary of the First French Settlement in North America Coins and Stamps Set. The set involved collaboration between the RCM
, Monnaie de Paris (Paris Mint), Canada Post and La Poste (the French postal service).
Canada's celebration of its early French settlements began in 2004 when it marked the 400th anniversary of the first French settlement in Acadia at St. Croix Island; the island is located on the border between Canada and the United States. The commemoration continued through 2008.
The first settlement was established by French merchant trader and explorer Pierre Du Gua, Sieur de Monts. He led an expedition of five ships with ~120 men. Included among the crew was Samuel de Champlain; he was invited along to act as geographer and cartographer for the expedition.
The settlement at St. Croix lasted less than one year due to a poor choice of location and a particularly rough winter during which approximately half the crew died. The settlement would be disassembled and moved to a new location in 1605; the new settlement was known as Port Royal.
The limited-edition set included the RCM
's brilliant uncirculated 2004 First French Settlement commemorative silver dollar (0.999 fine silver) with the added distinction of a fleur de lys privy mark on its commemorative reverse that was only used for SDs in the set; a 1/4 silver Euro coin from the Paris Mint, and the stamps from a joint issue between Canada and France which shared a common design.
The commemorative reverse of Canada's silver dollar is dominated by a 17th century sailing ship under sail heading away from the viewer. A small drawing of the original French settlement is presented at the lower right; it is a depiction of the contemporary map drawn by Samuel de Champlain. The special fleur de lys privy mark is located above the map and horizon line in the coin's open field at the right. The design is the work of Robert R. Carmichael.2004 Canada Ile Sainte-Croix Silver Dollar - Commemorative Reverse
The reverse of the French coin (0.900 fine silver) also features a sailing ship under sail but heading toward (vs. away from) the viewer. To the left of the ship is presented a fleur de lys below the "1/4 Euro" denomination and above the commemorative anniversary dates of "2004 / 1604". The coin's obverse features a front-facing portrait of Samuel de Champlain.2004 France Ile Sainte-Croix 1/4 Euro coin
The stamps from each country, one new and one cancelled, featured a commanding portrait of Pierre Du Gua, Sieur de Monts with a portion of his ship, Le Don de Dieu
("The Gift of God"), in the background. The stamp was designed by Réjean Myette of Fugazi, a Montreal-based graphic design firm and illustrated by Suzanne Duranceau. 2004 Ile Sainte-Croix Canada-France Joint Issue Stamps
The coins and stamps were housed in a nicely-finished wooden chest/box with hinged lid; a colorful sleeve carried a graphic of a 17th century sailing ship (representative of Du Gua's) along with a listing of the set's contents and collaborators.Coins and Stamps Set (Closed Chest) with Outer SleeveCoins and Stamps Set (Open Chest)
The set originally sold for $99.95 CAD (That's how I purchased mine!) and had a mintage/sales total of 8,315 units. It can be found for issue price or below if patient, though there are some sellers who believe they have something extra special and offer the set for 3X to 4X of issue price - I recommend allowing such sellers to continue enjoying the pride of ownership of such sets!Coin Specifications From Certificate of Authenticity