This year marks the 25th anniversary of the iconic "Loonie" dollar dsign of Canada. There were a number of artlcies on the event; here are excerpts from one highlighting the coin's designer, Robert-Ralph Carmichael.
Robert-Ralph Carmichael's loonie still has wings.
His artwork of a loon on Canada's one-dollar coin has been minted 1.5 billion times since it first took flight on June 30, 1987, just in time for the 120th anniversary of Confederation. In 2011, 25 million loonies were minted.
"It's lovely that there's so many images out there," said Carmichael, 74, in an interview earlier this week.
"I do enjoy seeing it on the television when they put up a big loonie when they're talking finance. It's kind of fun to see it."
Royal Canadian Mint hails the loonie's launch as the most significant development in Canadian coinage since designs now used, including the maple leaf on the penny and woodland caribou on the quarter, were introduced in 1937.
Carmichael's design was chosen after the master dies for the original selection of a voyageur went missing while in transit from Ottawa to Winnipeg.
"The loonie design has stood the test of time due to its simplicity in depicting an icon of Canadian wildlife," said Christine Aquino, the mint's director of communications in an e-mail.
"It is instantly recognizable."
In 2011, Royal Canadian Mint approached Carmichael to create a new loon design for a 25th anniversary fine silver one-dollar coin. Fifteen thousand were made.
"Two common loons swim majestically past one another, one admiring the loonie's eventful journey while the other looks to the future and the many adventures to come," reads a mint release.
The number 25 appears in the coin's middle. Carmichael's wife, Gwen Keatley, assisted in the design.
While Carmichael is not besieged by coin collectors, or numismatists, clamouring to be photographed with him, the artist does hear from Canadians curious about the landform in his original design's background.
"I have had a number of e-mails asking me if that island is the one that they know from their lake," he laughed.
"It's a generic island."
The loon was the first design by Carmichael to be accepted by Royal Canadian Mint after 10 years of effort.
"The loon dollar was the first, and I suppose the greatest," he said.
"You couldn't ask for a better introduction to having your work produced as a coin than that one. Everything followed that."
Carmichael's association with the mint has continued for more than 30 years.
His artwork is featured on about 15 different coins, including a $100 coin marking the 100th anniversary of the Library of Parliament (2001), a silver dollar commemorating the 250th anniversary of the Saint-Maurice Ironworks (1988) and a silver dollar celebrating the 400th anniversary of the first French settlement in North America (2004).
To read the complete article, see:
Carmichael revisits loonie coin
Wayne Homren, Editor
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