Stories of great achievement often find their way on Royal Canadian Mint coins and on the 175th anniversary of his birth, Alexander Graham Bell is being recognized for his numerous breakthrough inventions, and the legacy of innovation he fostered over the many years he spent working and living in Canada. The famous inventor of the telephone, who transformed the world of communications and produced yet more groundbreaking innovations, is being remembered on a new one-dollar circulating commemorative coin.
“The story of Alexander Graham Bell is one of persistent scientific exploration and great personal achievement, but it is also a tremendous tale of Canadian innovation,” said the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. “From conceptualizing the telephone in Brantford, Ontario, to pioneering new air and marine craft later in life from Baddeck, Nova Scotia, Canadians can take great pride in their connection to one of history’s greatest inventors.”
“As the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell looms large in our history books, but that one famous achievement has tended to overshadow his whole body of work, from his youth in Brantford, Ontario to his return to Canada, where he spent decades in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, inspiring and working with many skilled and ingenious Canadians,” said Marie Lemay, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint. “By issuing a one-dollar coin in conjunction with the 175TH anniversary of Alexander Graham Bell’s birth, the Mint is celebrating the spirit of Canadian know-how and innovation behind wondrous home-grown creations such as Canada’s first-ever powered aircraft and a hydrofoil that was the world’s fastest marine craft of its time.”
The reverse of this new commemorative circulation coin was designed by Canadian artist Christopher Gorey. It depicts Mr. Bell and two of the inventions he designed: the HD-4 Hydrofoil and the Silver Dart. It also includes an engraving of Mr. Bell’s signature, as well as the inscription “175 YEARS/ANS” to recognize the anniversary of his birth. The observe features the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, designed by Susanna Blunt in 2003.
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1847, Bell settled with his family in Brantford, Ontario, where he developed a passion for problem-solving and science from his early years. It was there that he built a workshop to conduct sound experiments, where the idea for an “electric telephone” first took shape. In 1871, he accepted a teaching position in Boston, dividing his time between his new home and the family homestead in Brantford.
“My great-grandfather had a genuine and rare intellectual curiosity that kept him striving, researching, and creating. As my father told me, he could no more stop inventing than stop breathing,” said Alexander Graham Bell descendant Sara Grosvenor. “His legacy is still relevant through his many inventions, many of which we take for granted. From the telephone to the photophone, to aviation research, to medical devices like the respirator, the iron lung, the metal detector, and the audiometer. All these impacted people’s lives and I think that’s what a legacy is, how someone impacts other people’s lives in a positive way.”
After inventing the telephone in 1876, he built Beinn Bhreagh, an estate near Baddeck on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. It is there that he designed more inventions, such as the Silver Dart, Canada’s first manned aircraft, and futuristic hydrofoil marine craft that blazed the waters of Bras D’Or Lake. He spent much of his later life working at Beinn Bhreagh, until his death in 1922. Baddeck is now home to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site, where artifacts and full-scale replicas of his transformative inventions are on display.
To help Canadians from coast to coast to coast experience Alexander Graham Bell’s incredible story of innovation, the Mint has created a 3D virtual museum experience that can be explored at www.rcmintverse.ca.
The Alexander Graham Bell circulation coin is limited to a mintage of three million coins, of which two million feature a color enhancement. It will reach Canadians through their change as bank branches and businesses replenish their inventories of one-dollar circulation coins.
The colored and uncolored circulation coin can be purchased together as part of a seven-piece Collector Keepsake coin set. They are packaged in a richly illustrated collector card that contains one of each currently circulating coin, from five cents to two dollars. The Mint has also issued colored and uncolored Special Wrap Rolls of the circulation coin and a $200 Pure Gold Coin that is a 1 oz. gold version of the circulation coin design.
Earlier this year, the Mint issued a number of collector products honoring Bell, which include:
- The 2022 Proof Silver Dollar;
- The 2022 Silver Proof Set;
- The 2022 Special Edition Silver Proof Set; and
- The 2022 $100 Pure Gold Coin
All these collectibles can be ordered as of today by contacting the Mint at 1-800-267-1871 in Canada, 1-800-268-6468 in the US, or online at www.mint.ca/bell. They are also available at the Royal Canadian Mint’s Ottawa and Winnipeg boutiques, as well as through the Mint’s global network of dealers and distributors, including participating Canada Post outlets.
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About the Royal Canadian Mint
The Royal Canadian Mint is the Crown corporation responsible for the minting and distribution of Canada’s circulation coins. The Mint is recognized as one of the largest and most versatile mints in the world, offering a wide range of specialized, high-quality coinage products and related services on an international scale. For more information on the Mint, its products and services, visit www.mint.ca.