Justin Perrault is a lifelong collector and is president of the
Milwaukee Numismatic Society.
the spring of 2014, I had the pleasure of serving as lighthouse keeper
at the Grand Traverse Lighthouse outside of Northport,
Mich., on Lake Michigan. As part of the Keeper Program, applicants are
selected to serve one or two weeks residing in the living quarters of
the lighthouse and greeting visitors.
the lighthouse itself is no longer functional, it still serves a
valuable purpose educating visitors from all over the world. The Grand
Traverse Light was fully restored and opened to the public as a museum
in 1986, showcasing the history and life of the lighthouse keepers and
that feature lighthouses provide a very interesting theme around which
to form a collection. This is a wonderful way to learn about specific
lighthouses and their history without necessarily having to visit them personally.
2003 State quarter features the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse in Bristol. This light
was originally constructed in 1827 as a 38-foot stone tower to mark
the entrance to Muscongus Bay and John Bay.
2012 Acadia National Park quarter honors the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, which still serves
as a private residence for the commander of the local Coast Guard
unit. This lighthouse is located on Mount Desert Island in Tremont,
Maine, and was constructed in 1858.
number of foreign coins also feature a lighthouse as a main motif.
From 1988 to 2003 the country of Gibraltar issued a 2-penny piece that
depicted the Lighthouse on Europa Point on the coin’s
reverse. This was a general circulation piece. Guarding the entrance
to the Mediterranean Sea, the Europa Point Lighthouse was constructed
in 1841 and continues as a fully automated light to the present day.
the commemorative side of things, Canada issued two lighthouse-themed
2004 a 1-ounce silver $20 piece was issued depicting the Sambro Island Lighthouse. Located in the port of
Halifax, Nova Scotia, this lighthouse has the privilege of being North
America’s oldest operating lighthouse. The tower was built in 1758.
This piece was limited to a total mintage of 25,000, but only 17,515
in 2005 Canada followed up with a similar 1-ounce silver $20 piece,
this time depicting the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse located on the
Toronto Islands of Lake Ontario just off the shore of Toronto. Built
in 1808, it is worth noting that this lighthouse is the oldest
existing lighthouse on the Great Lakes, and was constructed in a
hexagonal form to withstand the fierce storms of the lake. Total
mintage on this piece came to 14,006 pieces. In manufacturing this
piece, the Royal Canadian Mint used a laser engraving technology to
accentuate the beam of light emanating from the lighthouse.
you can see, a collection of very interesting coins can actually be
formed around a lighthouse theme. I find that holding these in my
hands brings to mind the life and challenges surrounding the
lighthouses. These lighthouses were necessary tools that helped build
nations, ensuring safe passage to vessels and providing employment to
countless keepers and their families that maintained the light. If it
has ever been a dream of yours to actually reside in and look after a
lighthouse for a short time, then I would highly suggest that you
consider serving as a lighthouse keeper.
addition to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, a number of other lighthouses are found in Michigan and
throughout the country that offer such an opportunity. It is a
once-in-a-lifetime experience you will not soon forget.