by Darrin Lee Unser on June 22, 2012
The first in a series of five War of 1812 commemorative coins launched into Canadian circulation earlier this week. The 2012 $2 HMS Shannon Commemorative Coin debuted on June 18, 2012 and acknowledges the important place the Royal Navy ship holds in the history of the conflict.
2012 $2 HMS Shannon Commemorative Coin
Hostilities during the War of 1812 were fought between forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. As such, the colonies which would eventually make-up present-day Canada also played a significant role in the war.
“The Royal Canadian Mint is proud to celebrate Canada’s history, culture and values through inspirational coins and we are delighted to join Canadians in celebrating the bicentennial of the War of 1812 by launching a new series of commemorative circulation coins dedicated to these pivotal moments in early Canadian history,” said Ian E. Bennett, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint.
Colonial ports served as safe haven for the British ships in the War of 1812. HMS Shannon was sent to strengthen the Royal Navy as hostilities seemed imminent. Under the command of Captain Philip Broke, the Shannon was off the coast of Boston when the USS Chesapeake left the harbor.
After an extremely short engagement, sailors from HMS Shannon boarded the Chesapeake and secured her surrender. A crew was left aboard the United States ship to sail her under the protection of the Shannon to Halifax Harbor where the Chesapeake was refitted for British use and her former crew imprisoned.
HMS Shannon Commemorative Coin Design and Specifications
The $2 HMS Shannon Commemorative Coin is struck with an outer ring of multi-ply nickel plated steel with an insert of multi-ply brass plated aluminum bronze. Each coin features a diameter of 28 mm with a gross weight of 6.92 grams.
On the reverse is a depiction of the HMS Shannon by Nova Scotian artist Bonnie Ross. It portrays the Shannon with its sails unfurled leaving Halifax Harbor prepared to do battle during the War of 1812. To both sides of the ship is a representation of the 19th century Halifax Harbor, including Citadel Hill on the left and another ship on the right.
The reverse contains inscriptions of “The War of 1812/La guerre de 1812” and “HMS Shannon.” In addition, the artists initials may also be seen on the reverse.
Struck as legal tender of Canada, the obverse shows the Susanna Blunt effigy of Queen Elizabeth II .Obverse inscriptions include “ELIZABETH II,” “CANADA” and “2 DOLLARS.” The maximum mintage for the circulating coin is five million.
Royal Canadian Mint’s War of 1812 Coin Series
The Royal Canadian Mint indicates that four more coins will be issued in the War of 1812 commemorative circulating coin series. These releases honor four individuals for their roles in the war. They include:
- General Sir Isaac Brock,
- Chief Tecumseh,
- Charles de Salaberry, and
- Laura Secord.
Each will be featured on a twenty-five cent coin, with release dates of October 2012, November 2012, March 2013 and June 2013. A War of 1812 Silver Dollar was also issued by the Mint earlier this year.
The HMS Shannon Coins may be found in circulation in Canada. Additional strikes are available for order directly from the Royal Canadian Mint at http://www.mint.ca/1812.