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Arctic Inuit Art On Canadian Coins

In 1999, the Royal Canadian Mint issued some coins that featured Inuit art designs by artists from Canada's Arctic. A special Canadian two dollar coin was made to commemorate the creation of the Nunavut territory (see Inuit Art Region). This coin, nicknamed the 'nootie', depicts an Inuit drum dancer with his drum bearing an outline map of Nunavut. A stone lamp called a kudliq is shown inside the map. This lamp serves as a source of warmth, provides a sense of security and represents a beacon of hope for the future of Nunavut. Inuit artist Germaine Arnaktauyok who designed this Inuit art portrait for the coin claims that the Inuit drum signifies that the people of Nunavut will be heard near and far.


Like the regular $2 Canadian coin, this one is also bimetallic with an outer ring of pure nickel bonded to an inner core of 92% copper, 6% aluminum and 2% nickel. There are two precious metals versions for collectors. A silver version has an outer ring of sterling silver with an inner core of gold plated sterling silver. A gold version has an outer ring of 4.1 karat white gold with an inner core of 22 karat gold.

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Germaine also designed the 4th and final $200 gold coin for the 'Native Cultures & Traditions' series. This 22 karat gold coin came out in 2000 and features an Inuit mother with her child in the back of her traditional parka. The design honors Inuit motherhood.

germaine arnaktauyok inuit art coin ----------------- germaine arnaktauyok inuit art coin
---- Inuit Art Drum Dancer ------ Inuit Art Mother With Child On
--On Canadian $2 Coin ---------------- Canadian $200 Coin ----

Another Canadian coin, a 25 cent quarter, was issued as part of a special set of twelve Canadian quarters released in 1999. This piece featured the Inuit art of one of Canada's most highly regarded Inuit artists, Kenojuak Ashevak. The design entitled "Our Northern Heritage" has an owl and a polar bear which are two of the most common animals found among the Canadian Arctic wildlife. One of the most popular subjects in Inuit art is the polar bear (see Polar Bear Inuit Sculptures).

kenojuak ashevak inuit art coin
Inuit Art Owl & Polar Bear
On Canadian 25 Cent Coin

Although not an Inuit artist, Beth McEachen designed a coin to represent the Northwest Territories in 1992 as part of a series of coins that represented each Canadian province and territory. This coin featured an Inuit inukshuk.

Arnaldo Marchetti designed a $100 Canadian gold coin released in 1980 that featured an Inuit man in his kayak. John Mardon also designed a $100 Canadian gold coin with Inuit images. his 1990 coin featured an Inuit mother with children.

inuit inukshuk art coin - inuit art coin - inuit art coin
Inuit Inukshuk On ---Inuit Man With Kayak On --- Inuit Mother With
Canadian 25 Cent Coin ----------- Gold Coin --------- Children On Gold Coin

There have also been Canadian coins with West Coast Native art designs in recent years.  If you are a coin collector, we recommend Govmint.com as they are the largest source of worldwide coins. Typing in the words 'native american', 'indian' and 'aboriginal' in their search box will come up with native themed coins.

Today, Inuit artists are producing some stunning works of art. Just imagine having such a piece being displayed in your home. See Inuit art carvings at very affordable online prices at Free Spirit Gallery.

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