Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts about the 45-year anniversary o.f the landmark "Big Nickel" sculpture in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada -Editor There is a numismatic park in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. It is home to the Big Nickel, a 30-foot tall statue of a giant 1951 Canadian nickel that celebrated its 45th birthday this week. On hand for the anniversary party was Ted Szilva, sculptor of the statue.
"My dream came to fruition," he said. "I don't know if I have thanked the people of Sudbury. I know the city gave me a rough time with the permits (back in the 1960s). They thought it was a Mickey Mouse operation...I'm very proud and very thankful to God that he inspired me to create it."
Szilva went on to create a Big Lincoln Cent, a Big Canadian Cent -- but called the "Big Pennies" in these parts -- and a Big Kennedy Half Dollar. That completed the numismatic park.
But he also created a Big Nickel Mine, a statue in tribute to the source of the metal that is such a great contribution to the economy of the area. There is even an exhibit of nickel coins of the world provided by Inco, the firm that provides that metal to mints of the world.
Nickel is a super hard metal in pure state, but when alloyed with other metals it provides the right combination for coinability and other characteristics like wearability, as evidenced by copper-nickel, one of the most universal coin metal alloys.
But there is another numismatic angle to The Big Nickel story. To raise money back in 1963-64, when Szilva was building the statue, he created and sold medals to underwrite the cost. If memory serves me right, it was that same 1951 nickel in a size, of course, larger than the coin. And I'll wager an E-Sylum reader will respond, "Hey, I have one of those!" Prove it. Send Wayne an image.
So here's a toast to The Big Nickel, Happy Birthday! And thank you Ted Szilva. Salute!
To read the complete article, see: Big Nickel remains tourist draw (www.thesudburystar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1668225)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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