2014 50c Lost Ships in Canadian Waters: R.M.S. Empress of Ireland - Coloured Coin

SKU: 623932055919

RCM Number:
Country: Canada
Year: 2014

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This large format 2014 silver plated half dollar coin commemorates 100th anniversary of the sinking of RMS Empress of Ireland on the St. Lawrence River on May 29, 1914, after being struck by a Norwegian collier in the dense fog.  The loss of the Empress of Ireland remains the greatest maritime disaster in Canadian history, with a loss of lives approaching that of the Titanic just two years earlier.  (1,012 perished, including 134 children). Mintage is limited to 15,000. 

The Design:

The thick fog fills the cool night air and enshrouds the ship, extending beyond the image field on both sides. The ship's bow and port side are rendered in detail, and are faintly illuminated by the light from the ship's windows and portholes. Engraved above the image field is the ship's bell, which sat atop one of the ship's masts. The coin is engraved with the word “Canada”, the date “1914-2014 and face value “50 Cents”

The Empress of Ireland:

The Empress of Ireland was launched as a Canadian Pacific Railway steamship on January 27, 1906, and was regarded at the time as one of the fastest and most comfortable passenger ships for the transatlantic journey between England and Canada.

On the afternoon of May 28, 1914, The Empress left its berth in Quebec's harbour for its first summer voyage to Liverpool. In the early morning hours of May 29, the liner was steaming down the St. Lawrence River when at 1:40 a.m., the Norwegian collier Storstad was sighted. Both crews attempted to anticipate one another's course as a thick fog engulfed both ships, forcing Captain Henry George Kendall to bring the Empress to a stop. But minutes later, the Storstad emerged from the fog at a mere 30 metres from the Empress.   It was too late for either ship to alter its course and at 1:55 a.m., the Storstad's ploughed into the center of the Empress.

Water began to rush into the Empress, trapping many sleeping passengers inside their cabins. Only a few of the lifeboats were able to be launched before the ship turned over completely on its side. Just 14 minutes after the collision, RMS Empress of Ireland had sunk. Of the 1,477 passengers onboard, 1,012 perished including 134 children. 


Produced By: RCM
Denomination: 50 Cents
Year: 2014

Diameter: 42mm
Material: Silver plated copper
Weight: 32.82 grams

Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II
Reverse: Coloured image of final moments of ship sailing along the St. Lawrence River; Engraved fog bell above the image field is the most well-known recovered artifact
Artist: Yves Bérubé
Series: Lost Ships in Canadian Waters
Quantity Produced: 15,000
Theme: Transportation

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