LEST WE FORGET
On the 100th Anniversary of the 1918 Armistice, two coins pay tribute with unprecedented, powerful designs.
A feat of engineering to mark the end of the First World War.
Modern observers might find it hard to believe, but steel helmets were a new idea in the First World War. By 1915, the shrapnel, bullets and flying debris of trench warfare made them critical for soldiers dug-in on the front lines.
The first helmet developed by France was extremely uncomfortable, and in 1916, British manufacturers began producing the Mark 1 helmet. It remained in service into the 1960s, and became one of the iconic military helmets of the 20th century.
In a feat of numismatic creativity and modern engineering, the Royal Canadian Mint has revived this powerful wartime symbol in honour of the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice.
The soldier’s iconic steel helmet—in miniature.
This pure silver coin is struck with an extreme curvature that’s never been seen before—it’s an exact miniature replica of the helmet that saved thousands of lives. It has an aged, war-torn feel that immediately evokes the bravery and sacrifice of soldiers who endured months in the trenches under the constant threat of enemy fire and death.
But make no mistake, this is a coin in the purest sense. Viewed from the top, the “reverse” features four poppies amid the engravings 1918, 2018, LEST WE FORGET and N’OUBLIONS JAMAIS on the brim. The “obverse” features The Queen’s effigy on the inside of the helmet’s crown, and ELIZABETH II, CANADA, D.G. REGINA and 25 DOLLARS engraved on the underbrim.
This is an exceptional piece of military memorabilia and a standout coin that will be the showpiece of any collection.
Time-honoured craftsmanship to honour the fallen.
The First World War is the bloodiest war Canada has ever fought. It claimed the lives of more than 66,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders. Few images convey the magnitude of this loss as powerfully as countless grave markers in a field.
This solemn scene is beautifully engraved on this exquisite pure gold coin that also features another quintessential symbol of war—the poppy. This flower has been Canada’s symbol of remembrance for almost 100 years. It’s also recognized throughout the United Kingdom, as well as other nations such as Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Malawi, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka and the U.S.
Blood-red flowers where soldiers fought.
The poppy’s appearance on the battlefield was noted long before John McCrae penned his famous words. During the Napoleonic Wars, exploding bombs infused the soil with lime. It’s a key nutrient that helps poppies thrive. Once the fighting was over, the battlefield transformed into a sea of blood-red flowers. That same eye-catching red is the commanding focal point of this coin. It has a subtle translucence that allows the luxury of gold to shine through.
Three leaves radiate from the central flower, swirling about in the turbulence of war. A total six poppies grace this coin design to represent the six continents that were involved in the conflict. Together, they bore the loss of 20 million lives with another 21 million wounded.
Today, these statistics seem incomprehensible. The suffering, sacrifice, and the devastating cost of the Great War will be preserved forever with these powerful commemorative coins. Crafted within their narratives lies a tribute to the resiliency of the human spirit, and the enduring power of hope. For peace.