From about AD 800 to 1050, they were the masters of the seas whose voyages defined trade, discovery and conquest in the Viking Age, and whose seafaring abilities led them to Canada’s eastern shores. Step back in time with this $20 dragon’s sail fine silver coin. Limited mintage of just 6,000. HST/GST exempt.
The saga of Leif Eriksson’s voyage from Greenland to what was then referred to as Vinland (the Eastern shores of Canada including the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, Newfoundland and New Brunswick) inspired this reverse design by Canadian artist Jean-Pierre Vallée. In the background, the rugged North Atlantic coast of present-day Canada rises up from the sea, and resembles some of the new shorelines spied during Eriksson’s expedition circa AD 1000. In the foreground, a fearsome Norse dragon ship sails into view. The sea-level perspective places a special emphasis on the square mast and highly intricate woodworking that made a Viking ship both a technical and artistic marvel in its time. Ornate carvings of gripping beasts lead up to the dragon figurehead on the prow, which was intended to ward off evil spirits while adding to the ship’s imposing appearance. A similar Norse art-inspired pattern of interlaced serpents is replicated on the selectively coloured frame, which surrounds the artistic interpretation of an early chapter in Canada’s history. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.