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 shore. Step back in time with this first coin in a three-coin series that re-imagines the elaborate figureheads at the prow of legendary Viking longships, which embodied Norse craftsmanship and maritime supremacy in their time. Each one ounce pure silver coin features captivating art with a $20 denomination and a low limited mintage of just 6,000.
The reverse design by Patrick Belanger presents an artistic rendering of the dragon-headed longship (drakkar), which was regarded as a symbol of Viking power and strength. The background features a precisely engraved depiction of the wooden vessel in open waters, where the wind fills its square sail and propels it forward during a long-distance journey. A troop carrier fit for rulers and chieftains, this ornate longship is equipped with shields while its curved bow rises up towards a dragonhead prow ornament, whose purpose was to ward off evil spirits and sea monsters. Selective colour over engraving emphasizes the elaborate nature of the carved figurehead in the foreground, which offers a magnified view of this feature that gave the Norse vessel its name and added to the ship’s imposing appearance. The side view of the figurehead overlaps a green-coloured frame inspired by Norse art elements, including traditional knotwork with an integrated gripping beast motif that also adorns the Norse figurehead. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.