World Coins

Royal Canadian Mint honors famous author with coins

A modern-day Anne of Green Gables stands with a giant mock-up of the circulation coin commemorating author L. M. Montgomery, at Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, on June 26 when the new $1 coin was unveiled.

Images courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint.

Anne of Green Gables, a classic children’s book as well as its main character, has a Canadian origin.

The Royal Canadian Mint on June 26 unveiled a new circulating dollar that is related to the character, as the coin officially marks the 150th birth anniversary of creator, author Lucy Maud Montgomery.

In addition to the circulating coin (which is available in plain and colorful versions), the RCM has issued a Proof silver $20 coin with the same basic design.

Montgomery’s legacy

Montgomery is one of the most prolific and widely read authors in Canadian history.

Born in Clifton, Prince Edward Island, in 1874. Montgomery published hundreds of short stories and poems, in addition to 20 novels, including the famed Anne of Green Gables.

Montgomery eventually settled in Toronto, where she died in 1942. She was laid to rest in Prince Edward Island’s Cavendish Cemetery — a last return to the island she so cherished.

The coins pay tribute to Montgomery’s talent and enduring contributions to Canadian and world literature, as well as her role in popularizing Prince Edward Island and Canada through her novel series and other works.

“The life and legacy of L.M. Montgomery is the kind of story that belongs on the first circulation coin to celebrate an author,” said Marie Lemay, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint.

“With her iconic tales of Anne Shirley still being translated into dozens of languages and adapted for stage and screen, we are proud to have represented Montgomery’s story on a coin that will be shared and treasured for generations,” she added.

Unveiling the coin

The $1 coin was unveiled at Green Gables Heritage Place, the family house and farmstead, now administered by Parks Canada, that Montgomery used as the inspiration for the setting of her novel Anne of Green Gables.

Its artwork is the creation of Prince Edward Island artist Brenda Jones. It features a profile portrait of the beloved Canadian author from around the time Anne of Green Gables was written, along with the author’s signature and the cat drawing she often included when signing her name.

The $1 coin was placed into circulation on June 27. It has a mintage limit of three million pieces, two million of them featuring color and one million plain.

To convey the power of Montgomery’s imagination, the coin’s reverse design flows from the view of the author putting pen to paper (represented by the portfolio and inkwell) to that of Anne Shirley gazing out at the island’s farmland — the real-life inspiration for many of Montgomery’s stories.

The obverse features the effigy of King Charles III by Canadian artist Steven Rosati.

“I greatly admire my grandmother, for her contribution to Canadian literature and culture, her strength of character, and the love, pride and sense of responsibility she gave to my family,” said Montgomery’s granddaughter, Kate Macdonald Butler. “For her to be commemorated on millions of circulation coins is an unimaginable honour and I hope Canadians will cherish it as much as I do.”

Obtaining the coins

The $1 coins will reach Canadians through their change as bank branches and businesses replenish their coin inventories.

Other collector products include specially wrapped rolls of plain and colorful coins (each containing 25 coins), and a Proof .9999 fine silver $20 coin with selective color. The silver coin sports the same designs as the circulating coin, though modified for the denomination and an inscription replacing the Maple Leaf security feature on the reverse, above the main design.

The silver coin has a mintage limit of 5,000 pieces and retails for $119.95 CAD.

These collectibles can be ordered online at www.mint.ca/LMM. They are available at the RCM’s Ottawa and Winnipeg boutiques, as well as through the RCM’s global network of dealers and distributors.

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