Treasures of the Library

Commemorative coins

Over the past several years, the Royal Canadian Mint has recognized the Library’s history and architecture by issuing commemorative coins. These coins offer a distinctive way to acknowledge some of the Library’s significant milestones:

  • a silver dollar was printed in 1976 to mark the 100th anniversary of the completion of the Library in 1876;
  • a gold coin was issued in 2001 to celebrate the Library’s 125th anniversary; and
  • two coins were produced to mark significant anniversaries in 2016 – a 14-karat gold coin to mark the centennial anniversary of the 1916 fire on Parliament Hill, which devastated Centre Block but spared the Library of Parliament, and a special silver coin in recognition of the 140th anniversary of the Library.

For the 100th anniversary in 1976, the Library organized a special presentation at the Library. The Master of the Mint, Yvon Gariépy, personally presented the silver dollar to Parliamentary Librarian Eric Spicer and Associate Librarian Gilles Frappier.

The detail captured in the images on these coins is impressive. Etched on the 1916 Parliament Hill fire centennial coin is a fire brigade in action. The brigade is using a water steamer to douse the blaze that has engulfed the House of Commons. Amid the confusion, the Library stands untouched by the flames, a symbol of resilience.

The 140th anniversary coin features an innovative concave imprint of the inside of the Library dome with the statue of Queen Victoria centred prominently at the forefront. The concave coin, the first ever produced by the Mint, shows off ultra high-relief engraving to capture the full panorama of the Neo-Gothic architecture.

Details

  • These coins range from 27mm to 36mm in diameter, and 2mm to 7mm in depth.
  • The 1976 coin shows an imprint of the Library.
  • The head’s side of each coin is printed with an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.
  • The Library dome, arched windows and statue of Queen Victoria can be seen on the 14-karat gold coin from 2001.
  • These coins were all minted in limited numbers.
Yvon Gariépy presents the 100th anniversary coin to Erik Spicer and Gilles Frappier in 1976
Yvon Gariépy presents the 100th anniversary coin to Erik Spicer and Gilles Frappier in 1976
The 2001 coin shows the detail of the Library dome and the statue of Queen Victoria
The 2001 coin shows the detail of the Library dome and the statue of Queen Victoria
The concave shape of the 2016 coin
The concave shape of the 2016 coin