They were specially chosen for Canada's circulation coins in 1927, to commemorate Confederation's Diamond Jubilee; alas, the stunning designs never made it onto a single coin. Instead, "the coins that never were" quietly faded into the background, becoming part of coin lore and a footnote in history... that is, until now.
Nearly a century later, we've dug deep into our vault to retrieve these long forgotten coin designs and bring them to life! This three-coin set is more than a link to Canada's past, or a powerful tribute to the illustrious artists — it's our way of taking up their mantle and seeing their vision through.
Working with the original sketches and little else, we set out to interpret the 90-year-old designs. And by treating them as though they were entrusted to us today, we've transformed these designs into a powerful bridge between past and present.
A beautiful gift for someone who enjoys coin design history! Order today!
A BEHIND-THE-SCENES PEEK! A glimpse of the Royal Canadian Mint's archives!
JOINING TWO MILESTONES! On the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we look back on history to re-visit proposed coin designs from another milestone year: Confederation's Diamond Jubilee in 1927!
A FIRST! This marks the first time these designs have appeared on coins, and they may be the only coin designs submitted to the Royal Canadian Mint by Group of Seven co-founder J.E.H. MacDonald and renowned muralist Gustav Hahn! You could say these coins were 90 years in the making!
A CAREFUL BALANCE! Our team of engravers pored over every little detail of the original sketches in order to interpret each artist's vision, while adapting it for today's engraving techniques and finishes.
A DESIGN THAT STANDS OUT! The matte field on each coin puts the focus squarely on the beautifully engraved elements that truly shine!
INCLUDES SERIALIZED CERTIFICATE! The Royal Canadian Mint certifies all of its collector coin sets. Most of these are serialized certifications, meaning that each certificate is given a unique number, starting at 1.
LOW MINTAGE! This coin set is limited to just 5,500 sets worldwide.
EACH COIN IS ONE OUNCE OF 99.99% PURE SILVER! Your coin set is GST/HST exempt.
All three coins feature the unused circulation coin designs intended to commemorate Canada's Diamond Jubilee in 1927. Working with the original sketches (and little else), the Royal Canadian Mint's engravers set out to interpret each artist's vision as though the art had been entrusted to them today, to mark Confederation's 150th anniversary. The 90-year-old concepts have been painstakingly adapted for modern engraving techniques—including a reverse proof finish that allows the more brilliant engraved elements to shine bright against the matte backdrop.
One-cent coin design:
The one-cent coin features an Art Nouveau-inspired design by Canadian artist Gustav Hahn (1866-1962), with a bough of maple leaves encircling the commemorative dates "1867-2017".
Five-cent coin design:
The five-cent coin by Canadian artist J.E.H. MacDonald (1873-1932) features a crowned lion gripping a maple leaf as it stands perched on a rock, which represents the changing Canadian landscape cradled by the sea; beneath the forepaw is Canada's motto, "A MARI USQUE AD MARE" ("From Sea to Sea"), while the commemorative dates "1867" and "2017" are inscribed beside the lion.
25-cent coin design:
A second design by MacDonald graces the reverse of the 25-cent coin, and centres on a soaring view of the iconic Peace Tower on Parliament Hill. The clock tower soars high above the clouds and is surrounded by a ribbon-wrapped laurel of leaves, from which hangs four bells—an ode to the Dominion Carillon, which was inaugurated on July 1, 1927, during the Diamond Jubilee festivities. Each bell bears engraved numbers that combine to form the commemorative dates "2017" and "1867".
Did you know…
- Gustav Hahn (1866-1962) may not be well-known to coin collectors, but his brother certainly is: Emanuel Hahn (1881-1957) is the artist behind the iconic caribou design on Canada's 25-cent circulation coin, the Bluenose on our 10-cent coin, and the Voyageur design of the original silver dollar.
- Hahn is credited as a pioneer of the Art Nouveau style in Canada, where his murals are found in several public buildings—most famously the Ontario Legislature and Old City Hall in Toronto.
- James Edward Hervey (J.E.H.) MacDonald (1873-1932) was one of the founding members of the famed Group of Seven, which represents the first national art movement in Canada.
- Live coverage of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Ottawa marked Canada's first-ever coast-to-coast broadcast. On July 1, 1927, telephone and telegraph companies joined forces with radio stations to broadcast speeches and songs from Parliament Hill—including the inaugural peals of the Peace Tower's carillon bells, which are alluded to in the 25-cent coin design.
- Some of the most famous Canadian coins of all time were issued during another big year: Canada's Centennial in 1967! Artist Alex Colville provided the reverse designs seen on all Canadian circulation coins issued that year.
Your coin is encapsulated and presented in a Royal Canadian Mint-branded maroon clamshell with a black beauty box.