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2015 Canadian $20 The Canadian Home Front: Canada's First Submarines During The First World War - 1 oz Fine Silver Coin
Face Value: $20
Composition: 99.99% Silver
Weight (g): 31.39
Diameter (mm): 38
On the eve of the First World War, the Royal Canadian Navy was still in its infancy with fewer than 350 sailors to its name, and a fleet that centered around two ageing cruisers. The looming threat of war heightened fears about a possible enemy naval threat, particularly in British Columbia; but a unique opportunity in the summer of 1914 would allow Canada to acquire its first submarines—one of which is depicted in this stunning coin.
In the summer of 1914, amidst increasing concerns about Canada’s defensive vulnerabilities, a unique opportunity came to the attention of Sir Richard McBride, the Premier of British Columbia. Two submarines had been built in Seattle, Washington, for the Chilean government; but when payment was stopped, J.V. Paterson, president of the Seattle Construction and Drydock Company, was keen to sell these unwanted submarines to the highest bidder.
McBride saw these as valuable contribution fo the fleet stationed on the West Coast—not to mention a boon to his province’s coastal defences. A flurry of meetings and negotiations ensued, but timing was of the essence: a declaration of war was imminent, and the United States’ own pending declaration of neutrality would prevent the sale of military provisions to countries at war, which would include Canada.
While London and Ottawa struggled to organize the funds in time for the purchase, and with time running out, McBride made the decision to purchase the submarines using provincial funds. He agreed to Paterson’s terms: cash on delivery to the sum of roughly $1,150,000—twice the Royal Canadian Navy’s entire budget at that time.
On August 4, 1914, just hours before war was declared, the submarines quietly slipped out to sea under the cover of darkness and fog, and arrived at Esquimalt, B.C. on the morning of August 5. The affair was conducted so quickly that a formal approval had not yet been received from Ottawa, although Prime Minister Robert Borden would later telegraph a congratulatory message to McBride: “we appreciate most warmly your action which will greatly tend to increase security on the Pacific coast...” On August 7, the Government of Canada purchased the submarines from the Government of British Columbia, and the Royal Canadian Navy now had its first submarines.
This commemorative coin is a beautiful addition to any military, naval or history-themed collection! Order yours today!
The second coin in the Canadian Home Front series, which highlights the war effort on the Canadian home front across the country.
Finely detailed engraving recreates Canada’s first submarine, which was acquired in August 1914 to help bolster Canada’s defence of its West Coast.
As with all future coins in the series, the reverse design features a regional map in the background which provides geographical context to the story.
Struck in 99.99% pure silver with a limited mintage of 7,500.
Your coin is GST/HST exempt.
The reverse design by Yves Bérubé highlights the importance of the addition of two submarines to the Royal Canadian Navy’s fleet in August of 1914. The CC Class submarine is prominently featured in the centre of the image, its hull pointed forward towards the viewer as though emerging from the image. The vessel’s keel and diving planes can be seen below the surface of the water; above, a sailor stands on the deck in front of the conning tower as he surveys the horizon. In the background to the right of the submarine, a beautifully detailed map of British Columbia’s coastline looms large; this added element provides geographical context to the story of Canada’s first submarines, which were used to patrol the coastline depicted here.
Your coin is encapsulated and presented in a Royal Canadian Mint-branded maroon clamshell with a custom graphic box.
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