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“Freedom” Coin in Canada

Published June 14, 2024 | 2 min read

By Louis Golino

The Royal Canadian Mint has just released a companion to its 2023 Allegory of Peace $50 silver coin. The silver specimen was the world’s first to feature a dual-sided, three-dimensional sculpture. That amazing 5-ounce silver coin was nominated for a Coin of the Year award for “Most Inspirational Coin.” The winner will be announced during a ceremony at the upcoming ANA World’s Fair of Money® on August 8.

Allegory of Freedom

Allegory of Freedom, like the earlier piece, is based on a sculpture at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. That memorial continues to inspire Canadians and remind them of the service and sacrifice of generations of their compatriots who fought for the freedoms they enjoy today.  

The new Canadian Tribute to Freedom has the same $50 face value and overall weight of 5 ounces as the first coin. However, it is made of 99.99-percent pure silver rather than .999 fine as the prior one was. The outer silver ring weighs 104.63g. The inner cast silver figure weighs 38.44g. The piece has a diameter of 65.25mm and a mintage of 1,400.

Rebecca Yanovskaya designed the piece just as she designed its companion. Inspired by the bronze Liberty figure on the National War Memorial, the coin’s central motif is her allegorical figure of Freedom. According to Yanovskaya, the design shows Freedom “riding on the back of a mythical bird that carries Freedom wherever she is needed [and] holding a torch high to light the way forward.” The sculpture is stylized after the legendary American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ aesthetic.

Freedom appears set within the antique rim of the coin and is gold-plated to radiate hope and optimism. The outer rim has the country and year of issue. A scroll paired with olive branches and maple leaves represents “Canada’s contributions to peace and freedom,” especially the country’s important role in United Nations peacekeeping operations. The obverse rim has the denomination and Steven Rosati’s effigy of King Charles III.

Peace and Freedom are intrinsically linked, for when one flourishes, the other thrives.

Turning Freedom into a Coin

Yanovskaya said working on this coin was one of her most challenging projects. “[There are] few tangible symbols of Freedom as a concept. I was trying to convey a wordless feeling, a stirring inside oneself, in visual form, and to capture the essence of freedom—what makes it so powerful and sought after.”

Alicia Cook Sapene, the mint’s product manager, added, “Peace and Freedom are intrinsically linked, for when one flourishes, the other thrives; together, they forge a path towards a more just world. The coin serves as a symbol of hope and opportunity, and the torch reminds us that the pursuit of freedom is the essence of the human spirit.”

The new piece also showcases the mint’s cutting-edge, innovative approach to coinage research & development (R&D) and production. Creating the coin was not easy and involved a combination of traditional and modern manufacturing processes. The R&D team developed several new proprietary processes to create the piece that “enhanced the dimensional and artistic details,” as a research engineer noted.

Finally, the piece is not just a remarkable technological triumph and an inspiring numismatic tribute to freedom—a concept everyone understands that is hard to represent concretely. It is also a stunning tribute to sculpture as an art form. Sculpture rarely appears on modern coins despite its importance to numismatics. On the new Canadian allegory piece, the viewer feels like they are holding a miniature version of the memorial’s sculptural figure of freedom. This truly is art you can hold in your hand. It, too, seems destined to receive a Coin of the Year nomination. 

Correction: The caption in an earlier version of this article stated that the Allegory of Freedom coin was the first to feature a dual-sided, three-dimensional sculpture.