By Ron Drzewucki – Modern Coin Wholesale …..
If the Founding Fathers hadn’t been looking for a national bird, and if he wasn’t partial to the ever-busy beaver or resourceful raccoon, I like to think that Ben Franklin might have chosen the white-tailed deer as a national emblem for the United States.
Okay, not really, but few animals east of the Mississippi are as abundant and symbolic of this country’s bounty. It’s so prolific and well-adapted to life in the Western hemisphere–not to mention the modern suburban age–that the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is native to Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central America and parts of South America.
So it’s more than fitting that Canada–as an extension of its ongoing Wildlife Exploration series–began a four coin white-tailed deer series of silver coins in August of this year.
Each coin contains one ounce of 99.99% pure silver, and each has a face value of 20 Canadian dollars. The common obverse features the same portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, designed by Canadian artist Susanna Blunt (View Designer’s Profile), that has been on Canadian coinage since 2003.
The inscription on the obverse is “ELIZABETH II D·G·REGINA”. The ‘D’ and the ‘G’ are abbreviations for DEI GRATIA, and all together the inscription translates to “Elizabeth the Second, Queen by the Grace of God”.
Not a phrase you’ll be seeing on United States currency anytime soon since it refers to the divine right of kings.
(As another aside, according to Wikipedia Susanna Blunt once worked as an assistant to Yoko Ono. I just thought that was interesting.)
The series has four different reverse designs but each reverse features the inscriptions CANADA, 2014, 20 DOLLARS, and the artist’s initials. Two were designed by famed Canadian wildlife artist Desmond McCaffrey. The first coin’s design, entitled “Portrait”, is just that: a portrait of a 10-point buck in all his glory, looking out as though interrupted along his path. The second reverse, entitled “A Challenge”, features two bucks in a field next to a forest, horns intertwined like an Alexander horned sphere, with lines of perspective drawing your eye right into the midst of the conflict.
The reverse of the third coin in the series was designed by fellow Canadian artist Claudio D’Angelo and is entitled “Mates”. The challenge of the second coin having been met and won, we now see our “hero” leaping proudly over an upturned tree trunk with his new mate. I swear they’re smiling, too. With the forest behind them and an empty field in front, the happy couple is frozen in time, poised at the brink of a leap into the unknown of a future together.
The fourth and final reverse (“A Doe and Her Fawns”) was created by Canadian wildlife artist Trevor Tennant. This time, the buck is nowhere to be seen, but his mate and two little fawns step surely but cautiously into a clearing in the woods. Maybe this is where their father defeated his rival for their mother’s affections, maybe not, but the artwork on all four coins (four coins = four seasons = seasons of life?) certainly does a good job of capturing the circle of life busily going about its work all around us, often unnoticed and often under-appreciated.
They may not be regular, circulating issue, but these coins–and coins like them–are a great place for such meditations. At least, I think so.
The coins also feature edge lettering–here you find the bilingual inscription 1 OZ FINE SILVER 9999 1 OZ ARGENT PUR 9999.
Another interesting aspect of this series is how it was marketed. The Royal Canadian Mint offered the coins on a subscription basis, meaning you would receive each coin in the series as it was released every month, from August to November, 2014. You could also buy each coin individually, after it came out, but I think the subscription idea is an effective way to not only market your new product but also fund it.
Kudos, Royal Canadian Mint.