2015 $20 Lost Ships in Canadian Waters: Franklin's Lost Expedition - Pure Silver Coin

SKU: 623932066458

Year: 2015

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This 2015 $20 pure silver coin commemorates well-known vessels lost in Canadian waters, and the stories that have emerged from the events surrounding their final fate.  The coin is the second in the “Lost in Canadian Waters” series, and combines selective colour, an artistic design, edge lettering, and an extremely low mintage of just 7,000 coins.  

The Design:

The unique design created by artist John Horton is a depiction of the Franklin’s expedition’s H.M.S Erebus in the foreground, with H.M.S. Terror to starboard.  The 3-masted wooden vessels are seen travelling at a reduced speed under shortened canvas. It situates the ships off of the northwest coast of King William Island, providing geographical context for their location when first deserted in 1848.

The edge lettering on this commemorative coin bears the names “H.M.S. Terror” and “H.M.S. Erebus”. The coin is engraved with the word “Canada”, and the date “2015”.  The coin weighs just over one ounce of pure silver.  As a pure silver coin struck by the Royal Canadian Mint, this item is HST/GST exempt.

About the Franklin Expedition:

The Franklin Expedition was a voyage of Arctic exploration led by Captain Sir John Franklin that departed England in 1845. A Royal Navy officer and experienced explorer, Franklin had served on three previous Arctic expeditions, the latter two as commanding officer. His fourth and last, undertaken when he was 59, was meant to traverse the last unnavigated section of the Northwest Passage. In 1846, the ships were beset by ice and abandoned two years later off the west side of King William Island, according to Inuit accounts.  Everyone on the voyage died, leaving little evidence to be found.  It is not known whether Franklin perished on board or was given some kind of burial at sea before his men abandoned ship.  It is known that he passed away in June of 1847, but the terse note left by the crew after they deserted the ships in Victoria Strait didn't say what happened and why he died.  The last members of the Franklin expedition are believed to have faced starvation, disease and possibly cannibalism before their deaths in the Arctic. 

The 2014 discovery of H.M.S. Erebus by a Park’s Canada-led expedition was truly a historic moment for Canada; as one of this century’s most important maritime archaeological discoveries. Finally this discovery may offer answers to the questions surrounding the expedition’s demise.


Produced By: RCM
Denomination: 20 Dollars
Year: 2015

Diameter: 38mm
Material: Silver
Fineness: 0.9999
Weight: 31.39 grams
Bullion Weight: 1.009 Troy Ounces

Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II
Reverse: H.M.S. Erebus in the foreground, with H.M.S. Terror to starboard
Artist: John Horton
Finish: Proof
Series: Lost Ships in Canadian Waters
Quantity Produced: 7000
Monarch: Queen Elizabeth II
Theme: Transportation

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