In my post about Canada's 2004 Poppy Dollar, I made reference to Canadian John McCrae, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Canadian Army serving in France during World War I, and his In Flanders Fields
poem that was the inspiration for the poppy's use as a flower of remembrance
for military service veterans who died in the service of their country. (See link below.) In 2015, the Royal Canadian Mint (R C M) issued its fourth poppy-themed silver dollar in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the writing of the poem - where it all began!Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae in World War I
The R C M commemorated the 100th anniversary of John McCrae's poem in 2015 with eight different coins; they ranged from base metal 25-cent coins up to a 10-ounce silver coin with a $100 denomination. McCrae wrote the poem after his close friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed when a shell exploded near him during a German chlorine gas attack. The attack occurred on May 2, 1915 during the Second Battle of Ypres.
In case you've never read it. here's McCrae's full poem:In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The poem was first published in the British magazine Punch
on December 8, 1915. It was published without introduction or fanfare - it was simply printed in the lower right corner of page 468. A very simple beginning for a poem that is now recognized and recited internationally.
The silver dollar features a pair of soldiers taking a moment to look upon upon the grave of a fallen friend and soldier and to reflect on the life that was lost. In the background is a large red poppy flower. The realistic depiction of the flower gets its black and red colouring through the use of enamel. The commemorative reverse design is by Tony Bianco. The obverse of the SD features the Sir E. B. MacKennal portrait of King George V (plus inscriptions) that was in use on Canada's coinage during World War I rather than the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in use in 2015.2015 In Flanders Fields Silver Dollar (Image Credit: Obverse (left) image courtesy of Royal Canadian Mint, Media Image.)
I think the design, with its selective use of enameling, is outstanding and a terrific tribute to McCrae and his poem. I'm on record here on CCF regarding how much I also like the R C M's $20 In Flanders Fields
silver coin. I added both to my collection when they were first released.
The SD was struck on the standard 36.07 millimeter silver dollar planchet; it has a weight of 23.17 grams. As that is the weight of an unadorned SD, the 2015 enameled coin weighs slightly more.2015 In Flanders Fields $20 Silver Coin
Mintage of the coin was capped at 10,000; the Mint's Annual Report
for 2015 lists 9,870 units sold, but it seems likely a few more units were sold after the table in the Annual Report
was finalized. Unfortunately, the Mint stopped providing final mintage/sale numbers for its collector coins in 2015. So, I am unsure of the absolute final mintage - it does appear, however, to essentially have been another "Sold Out" Special Edition silver dollar. The issue price for the coin was $79.95 (CAD).
Here's an In Flanders Fields
stamp panel issued by Canada Post as part of its commemoration of the poem's centennial:Canada Post In Flanders Fields Stamp Panel
To learn more about three of Canada's other Poppy-themed silver dollars, check out:
- 2004 Poppy Dollar
- 2008 Ultra-High-Relief Poppy Dollar
- 2010 Poppy Dollar
For other of my posts about Canadian commemorative coins and medals, check out: Read More: Commems Collection