2018 $20 PURE SILVER COIN NORSE FIGUREHEADS: VIKING VOYAGE
In their time, the Vikings dared to do what many others would not: they sailed into open waters, beyond any sight of land, and they did so by relying on their senses, intuition and knowledge. The final coin in the Norse Figureheads series takes one last look at the dragon-fronted ships of these seafaring Norsemen, whose navigational skills and instincts enabled them to sail across the North Atlantic, onto our easternmost shores, and into the annals of Canadian history.
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- FINAL COIN! This third coin concludes our three-coin voyage to 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 in this series 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.
- COMPLEX AND COLOURFUL: Each coin features a reverse design that is as elaborate and intricate as the ship it depicts! The circular nature of the selectively coloured frame speaks to the timelessness of the Viking spirit, while the motif exemplifies the beauty of traditional Norse art.
The reverse design by Neil Hamlin presents an artistic representation of a Viking ship at sea. An overhead view helps convey the dauntless spirit of the Norse mariners and captures the majesty of a dragon ship (dreki or drakkar) as the wind fills the striped sail. This unique perspective places extra emphasis on the elaborately carved figurehead at the prow, which gave the ship its name and was intended to ward off evil spirits. Selective colour draws the eye to the frame, which bears a Norse art-inspired motif of intertwined serpents in the Jellinge art style circa AD 1000, or in the time of Leif Eriksson’s voyage from Greenland to Vinland (Newfoundland). Also included within the frame are four runic letters that represent the cardinal points (north, east, south and west), a tribute to the seafaring nature and exploratory spirit of the Vikings. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.