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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 3, January 15, 2006, Article 18

SESQUICENTENNIAL OF THE VICTORIA CROSS

Dr K.A. Rodgers of Thynges Wrytten Down, New Zealand,
writes: I spotted your item on the Victoria Cross in
the last newsletter.  The timing of the donation is
highly appropriate. I presume you are aware that 29
January 2006 is the 150th anniversary of the inauguration
of the Cross by Queen Victoria.

Part of the Cross's mystique is that it each is made
from cannon metal at the cost of a few cents each; no
precious metal is ever associated with them.

Trivia question for the military numismatists: How does
the present Canadian VC differ from all others?  Im
unaware of any other mints getting in on the anniversary
act so far, but watch this space.

Steve Woodland writes: "As a military man and a coin
collector, I was very pleased to see the article in the
latest E-Sylum (v9#02) about the Merrifield family's
donation of William Merrifield's Victoria Cross medal to
the Canadian War Museum.  It is an even more intriguing
story when you realize that 2006 marks the sesquicentennial
of the Victoria Cross, which was initiated by Queen
Victoria in 1856.  To commemorate this anniversary, the
Royal Canadian Mint has struck three new dollar coins,
each figuring a reproduction of the Victoria Cross on the
reverse: one in proof silver with selective gold plating
(available only in the proof set); one in proof silver;
and one in brilliant uncirculated silver.  Here is a
small history of the Victoria Cross, taken from the RCM's
website:

"From the cascabels of Russian cannons that were captured
during the Crimean War (1854-1855), a great military honour
is forged. It is the Victoria Cross, the highest military
decoration that is awarded for most conspicuous bravery,
or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice,
or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.

Instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856, a total 1,351
Victoria Crosses have been awarded to British and
Commonwealth military forces. Ninety-four of them have
been awarded to Canadians - 8 for acts of bravery carried
out prior to and during the South African War (1899-1902);
70 during the First World War (1914-1918); and 16 during
the Second World War (1939-1945).

The Victoria Cross is one of the most recognized military
medals in the world. It features a cross pattee with the
Royal Crown surmounted by a lion guardant and a scroll
inscribed with For Valour. The date of the act is engraved
within a raised circle on the reverse. The cross is suspended
from a straight bar which has the rank, unit and name of the
recipient engraved on the back. In 1993, a special Canadian
version was instituted. It is identical to the original with
the exception that [see next week's issue for the Quiz answer!
-Editor]"

The coins can be ordered from the Royal Canadian Mint
at www.mint.ca"

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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