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West Coast Native Art On Canadian Coins

In recent years, Canada has issued currency coins with designs featuring West Coast Native art. In October of 1999, the Royal Canadian Mint released a Canadian 25 cent quarter with a design entitled "A Tribute To First Nations" by West Coast Native artist Jason Edward Read of North Vancouver. This coin depicts an eagle, a bear and a killer whale representing the sky, land and water respectively. The coin pays homage to the original inhabitants of Canada and reminds everyone to take part in protecting the natural environment.

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Jason Edward Read ------------------ by Wade Baker ---

In August of 2000, another Canadian 25 cent quarter featuring West Coast Native art was released entitled "Family - The Ties that Bind". This design was by Wade Stephen Baker, another West Coast Native artist from North Vancouver. This coin, like Jason Read's and Kenojuak Ashevak's Inuit art coin, was one of 24 winning designs out of 66,000 entries in a national contest that was called "Create A Centsation" for special Canadian Millenium 25 cent coins issued in 1999 and 2000. The Royal Canadian Mint produced 50 million coins of each selected design. Baker's winning West Coast Native art double-wolf design echoes his dedication to his family and healthy relationships.


"Commitment to each other is the most important aspect of life," says Baker. "The wolf mates for life, and they are good hunters and providers. The wolf is very family oriented. They realize the survival of the whole family depends on the children. We have to take care of them as precious gifts that the Creator has given us."

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West Coast Native art has also been used on precious collector coins from the Royal Canadian Mint. In 1997, a $200 Canadian gold coin was created using a design called "Raven Bringing Light to the World" by Robert Davidson, one of the most established West Coast Native artists. This design was originally created for a small pendant and in addition to being on the coin, was refitted onto a four foot diameter gilt bronze that currently hangs in the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa. The inspiration for the design came from the Haida legend which describes the Raven reclaiming the sun back from the Chief of the Sky and returning it to the people of the Earth. The mintage of this limited edition gold coin was only 25,000.

robert davidson west coast native art coin
West Coast Native Art
by Robert Davidson

It was the first of a four gold coin series called 'Native Cultures & Traditions' of which three were designed by Native Canadians and one was by Inuit artist Germaine Arnaktauyok. Robert Davidson also contributed West Coast Native art at Vancouver International Airport.

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.

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