Canada: The nation’s great seal beautifully depicted on new ultra-high relief silver coin

The Royal Canadian Mint have released a new silver coin which depicts one of the country’s most revered symbols of law and government: The Great Seal of Canada. A respected tradition since Confederation, the Great Seal signifies the formal sanction of the Crown, the authority of the Canadian government, and the authenticity of the nation’s most important documents. Its effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II enthroned on the Coronation Chair represents the Sovereign’s authority and signifies that Canada’s laws are enacted in the Queen’s name and no law can be considered passed by Parliament without the affixing of the Great Seal on the formal document itself.

During the national celebrations of Canada’s 160th anniversary of Confederation, the Great Seal plays a significant part of Canada’s heritage and tradition as there have been a total of five Great Seals since 1867.

The actual dies, which are the seal-making devices for creating the wax-type seals, are destroyed whenever a new monarch takes the throne. The current great seal was designed by artist Eric Aldwinckle and went into use for the first time on the 14th November 1955. The seal die itself is made of specially tempered steel and weighs 3.75 kilograms (8.27 pounds) and is 127 millimetres (5 inches) in diameter.

The image depicts the Queen enthroned on the coronation chair and robed, holding the orb and sceptre, and the 1957 version of the Royal Arms of Canada in front. Previous Great Seals of Canada were inscribed in Latin. While the governor general — the Queen’s personal representative when she is not resident in Canada — is the keeper of the Great Seal. The Queen’s representative places it in the protection of the Registrar General of Canada when not in use and for safe keeping.

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The coin’s design represents the current Great Seal of Canada, which was struck by the Royal Canadian Mint in 1952 — the year of accession of HM Queen Elizabeth II. While the coin’s 36-millimetre diameter provides a smaller canvas for this representation, nearly every element of Eric Aldwinckle’s design is in place. Engraved in ultra-high relief, the robed figure of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is enthroned on the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey, and holds the orb and sceptre in her hands. Framed by a band bearing a bilingual inscription, the embossed image basks in the golden hue of selective gold plating, which also adds an elegant touch to the rim on both the obverse and reverse.

The obverse features the gold-plated effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt, along with the engraved word CANADA, the face value 25 DOLLARS, and the year of issue, 2017.

Denom. Metal Weight Diameter Quality Maximum Mintage
$20 .999 Silver 30.7 g 36 mm Proof with selective gold plating 6,000

In order to achieve a precise depth of detail, the Great Seal coin is struck numerous times to ensure a crisp, flawless image seen on the embossed figure of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which features outstanding dimension, also due to the ultra-high relief engraving. This is the Royal Canadian Mint’s first coin to feature selective gold plating and ultra-high relief engraving. The gold plating casts a rich, golden glow over select elements on both the obverse and reverse, but it is particularly detailed over the raised rendering of the Great Seal. The coin is encased in a Perspex capsule and presented in a custom branded Royal Canadian Mint case along with a numbered certificate of authenticity. For additional information on this and other coins offered by the Royal Canadian Mint, please visit their website.

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