2018 $20 PURE SILVER COIN NORSE FIGUREHEADS: NORTHERN FURY
From about AD 800 to 1050, they were the masters of the seas whose voyages defined trade, discovery and conquest in the Viking Age, and whose seafaring abilities led them to Canada’s eastern shore. Step back in time with a three-coin series that re-imagines the elaborate figureheads at the prow of legendary Viking long ships, which embodied Norse craftsmanship and maritime supremacy in their time.
- THE SHIPS THAT SAILED INTO HISTORY: This is the first in a threecoin series that re-visits the Viking Age, to a time when the naval expertise of Norse seafarers left an imprint on history wherever their ships came ashore—including Canada’s east coast.
- HISTORY AND ART INTERTWINED: A joint celebration of the artistry and naval craftsmanship that are at the heart of an early chapter in Canadian history—one that was only uncovered in the 1960s! .
- VIKINGS IN CANADA: Each coin re-imagines Viking ships, as they likely appeared a millennium ago, when a Norse encampment was established on the site of L’Anse aux Meadows, N.L.—a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only authenticated Viking settlement in North America. .
- A COMPLEX DESIGN: Each coin features a reverse design that is as elaborate and intricate as the ship it depicts. Different frostings add nuance to the highly detailed engraving, while a selective application of colour accents the outer ring! .
- A TIMELESS QUALITY: The circular nature of the frame speaks to the timelessness of the Viking spirit, while the knotwork exemplifies the beauty of traditional Norse art. .
The reverse design by Patrick Belanger presents an artistic rendering of the dragon-headed longship (drakkar), which was regarded as a symbol of Viking power and strength. The background features a precisely engraved depiction of the wooden vessel in open waters, where the wind fills its square sail and propels it forward during a long-distance journey. A troop carrier fit for rulers and chieftains, this ornate longship is equipped with shields while its curved bow rises up towards a dragonhead prow ornament, whose purpose was to ward off evil spirits and sea monsters. Selective colour over engraving emphasizes the elaborate nature of the carved figurehead in the foreground, which offers a magnified view of this feature that gave the Norse vessel its name and added to the ship’s imposing appearance. The side view of the figurehead overlaps a green-coloured frame inspired by Norse art elements, including traditional knotwork with an integrated gripping beast motif that also adorns the Norse figurehead. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.
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