The Royal Canadian Mint (R C M) launched its "Exploring Canada" series in 2014. The series included ten 0.9999 fine silver $15 coins, 36 mm in diameter with a weight of 23.17 grams - the same planchet specifications as those of the Mint's silver dollar (SD) commemorative series. The collection was intended as a showcase for Canadian exploration and history; its release was split between 2014 (six coins) and 2015 (four coins). The coins were available individually and via subscription; the subscription included a custom-printed display box with spots for all ten coins.
As a US collector who enjoys commemorative coins, I am always on the look out for coins that celebrate joint history between the US and another country. The series' "West Coast Exploration" coin was one that peaked my interest as its commemorative reverse design honored British Explorer Captain George Vancouver. While Vancouver is certainly an important figure in Canada's history, his famous expedition 1791-95) that included the surveying of the northwest coast of North America included significant time charting the coasts of what are the present-day US states of California, Oregon and Washington. Vancouver's maps were highly-detailed and very accurate; they were used for decades after he created them (not a typical occurrence).
The coin's commemorative reverse was created by freelance artist John Mantha. It presents a scene in which Vancouver is seen checking over a newly-created map while scanning the surveyed landscape that lies in front of him. Seen behind him are a uniformed member of the expedition along with a local First Nations male. The inclusion of an aboriginal figure in the design was meant to represent the contributions of many First Nations people to Vancouver's expedition - Vancouver was aided greatly by the sharing of much local geographic information by local inhabitants.
The obverse features the Susanna Blunt portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
The matte proof coin was issued at $54.95 CAD; it had a maximum mintage of 15,000. Per the Mint's Annual Reports for 2014 and 2015, the coin sold 4,942 and 1,235 units, respectively, for a total of 6,177 coins.
I'm not sure I will pursue the entire collection, but I will likely add the "Pioneering Mapmakers" coin, featuring David Thompson, to my collection at some point. Thompson was the principal surveyor/mapmaker of the newly-established US-Canada border after the the UK and US signed the 1814 Treaty of Ghent.2014 Exploring Canada - West Coast Exploration Silver $15
For my post on the first coin of the series - "The Voyageurs" - check out:
- 2014 Exploring Canada - The Voyageurs
For other of my posts about Canadian commemorative coins and medals (plus those of the US and other countries!), see: Commems Collection.