Mint marks Marco Polo Anniversary
By MIA URQUHART
No offence to Nova
Scotian shipbuilders, but the Marco Polo is worth 200 of their
Or it will be on April 17, when the Royal
Canadian Mint launches a commemorative coin honouring the Saint John-built ship
that was the world's fastest when it was launched in 1851.
The $20 sterling silver coin will be adorned with a
hologram, but the, exact design will remain a secret until the coin is unveiled
in Saint John on April 17, the 150th anniversary of the launch of the world's
fastest sailing ship, said Pierre Morin, a communications advisor for the
"You're going to have to wait until the 17th, but
if we're going to launch a coin that commemoratives the anniversary of the
-Marco, Polo, you can well imagine that there will be some sort of
representation of the ship on it. "
For Marco Polo
enthusiast Barry Ogden, the announcement is a long time coming - 14 years, to
"April 17 is going to be a great day. I
think it's going to- be a great day for New Brunswick and for Saint John. I
don't know of any other coin from our area - ever. "
announcement nearly completes Mr. Ogden's dream of everything Marco Polo, The
list of Marco Polo projects also includes a stamp, a film, a book, a Web site,
a musical suite, a monument, and a musical. The only thing missing is the
While there are no solid plans to build a
replica - sailable or otherwise Mr. Ogden believes it will happen some day.
He's also disappointed that it hasn't yet.
like we're living in a community of missed opportunities," he said in an
"If this was any other community any
other community in the world we'd be looking at a replica of the Marco
Polo today. That's what frustrates people in Saint John. Things just don't
happen here. "
As an example, he said, the 150th
anniversary of the launch of the world's fastest sailing ship will only be
commemorated by the launch of the coin. "The coin is it. "
Mr. Ogden had tried to convince the Mint to issue the
coin last year, which was the 150th anniversary of the laying of the ship's
keel at James Smith's Marsh Creek yard in 1850.
several thousand letters and signatures, the Mint people didn't buy the idea.
Obviously, they preferred this year's anniversary.
Officials from the Royal Canadian Mint will be in Saint
John on April 17 for the unveiling. Although it's not a public event, 500
guests will be invited to take a first look at the
The Marco Polo coin is part of the Mint's on-going
Land, Sea, and Rail series. While hologram cameos on coins are not new - the
first ones were released last year - the Royal Canadian Mint was the first mint
in the world to use them.
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