2019 $1 Fine Silver Piedfort – Heritage of the Royal Canadian Mint: The Matthew

$ 99.95


A love letter to our past, to our people

For over a century, our coins have told the story of Canada through images that are the enduring legacy of our artists, innovators and visionaries.

Many have drawn attention to Canada’s wildlife and landmarks. Others have preserved the nation’s triumphs and milestones in designs that became instant classics—like our third commemorative coin, the 1949 Newfoundland dollar.

Widely considered to be one of our most beautiful commemorative pieces, the 1949 silver dollar is re-imagined here as a brilliant uncirculated fine silver piedfort coin.

This 70th anniversary tribute is twice as thick and every bit as detailed as the original. On its reverse, the detailed rendering of John Cabot’s ship, the Matthew, is made more impressive by the fact that the original design was hand-carved in miniature—and directly into steel—by one of the most illustrious figures in our history: Thomas Shingles, Master Engraver of the Royal Canadian Mint (1943-1965).


A toast to our history and our people: Like pages from our history, past commemorations provide an opportunity to explore the heritage of the Royal Canadian Mint and thank all the people who contributed to its history—from engravers to the production floor.

From a decade of great change in Canadian coinage. This fine silver piedfort coin is a 70th anniversary tribute to a well-loved commemorative piece that is the legacy of Thomas Shingles, Master Engraver of the Royal Canadian Mint (1943-1965).

One impressive coin. A piedfort coin is twice the thickness of a typical coin—that means double the amount of 99.99% pure silver. This piece also has a brilliant uncirculated finish, much like the original.


As finely engraved as the original piece. With the exception of an updated date (2019) and a high-end proof finish, the reverse is identical to the original design by Thomas Shingles, who hand-carved the image in miniature on the master tooling.

Features a historical effigy. Just like the 1949 silver dollar, this $1 coin’s obverse features the effigy of King George VI by T. H. Paget.


As it appeared on the 1949 silver dollar, the original reverse design by Thomas Shingles commemorates Newfoundland’s entry into Canadian Confederation on March 31, 1949. It represents the Matthew, the ship presumably sailed by explorer John Cabot when he reached the coast of Newfoundland in 1497. The image of the three-masted whip under full sail was based on a model and taken from a photograph provided by Ernest Maunder of St. John’s, Newfoundland. Beneath the water lies the Latin inscription “FLOREAT TERRA NOVA”—“May the new land flourish”. The obverse features the effigy of King George VI by T. H. Paget.


Thomas Shingles (1904-1984) joined the Royal Canadian Mint in 1939 and became Master Engraver in 1943. As he had done with the Victory Nickel, Shingles prepared the master tooling for the 1949 Newfoundland Commemorative dollar entirely by hand in the span of just five weeks, carefully carving the design in miniature directly onto the steel matrix. Shingles retired in 1965 but continued to work as an artist, and won the design competition for a 1971 silver dollar that marked the centennial of another province’s entry into Confederation: British Columbia.


Commemorative coins weren’t common practice in Canada until the 1960s. Previous to that time, the dollar was the denomination of choice.

Most designs were reduced to scale for engraving. In 1949, the typical method was to create a large model of the coin design first, then reduce it using a pantograph engraver—not so for the 1949 silver dollar, which showcases Thomas Shingles’ outstanding skills as an artist and engraver.

The 1949 dollars were struck from selected dies to ensure a superior finish. Packaged in plastic or cardboard tubes of 20 to minimize abrasions, the coins entered circulation in late June 1949, with the first ones sent to Newfoundland.

Some 1949 dollars were struck in 1950. Due to demand, the decision was made to continue striking the coin in 1950 while retaining the 1949 date. An additional 40,718 pieces were struck in 1950, for a total combined mintage of 672,218.


UPC 6-23932-09478-9
Composition .9999 Ag
Mintage 6,000
Weight* 31.39 g
Diameter 34 mm
Face Value $1
Finish Proof
Edge Serrated
Artist Thomas Shingles
Packaging Black clamshell with black beauty box

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