July 22, 2015 1:58 pm
Updated: July 22, 2015 4:58 pm

Franklin Expedition commemorative coin and stamps unveiled in Halifax

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WATCH ABOVE: Canada Post revealed two new commemorative stamps and the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled a new coin all paying tribute to the historic and ill-fated Franklin expedition that searched for the northwest passage. Global’s ray Bradshaw was there and tonight has the story.

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HALIFAX – There was a major unveiling at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic Wednesday morning, as Canada Post revealed two new commemorative stamps and the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled a new coin – all paying tribute to the historic and ill-fated Franklin Expedition that searched for the Northwest Passage.

MP Peter MacKay and Kirk MacRae from the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled the image of the collector coin to a round of applause from those in attendance. The coin features depictions of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror navigating the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean.

“These intrepid men set sail from England in May of 1845 in search of the Northwest Passage, only to perish in an unforgiving Arctic environment in a bold and visionary effort to find their way through,” said MacKay, the federal Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

As well, two commemorative stamps featuring HMS Eberus were unveild. That ship was actually located last year in the Arctic.

“It’s incredibly well-preserved,” said Doug Jones, the senior vice-president of delivery for Canada Post.

“The cover that it was located in, there’s not many currents in the area and the cold waters has preserved it extremely well. They brought up a few artifacts in their first dive, ” he said.

One stamp depicts a sonar image of HMS Erebus. The other stamp shows the ship and the area where it was located.

“It’s labelled in Inuit language,” said Jones. “The area where the ship was located was pin-pointed by the local community and the stories passed down through generations and they really said, ‘Look over here, that’s where you’ll find the ship.'”

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The world-wide mintage of the coin is limited to 7,000, so it’s expected the coin, which has a face value of $20, will be scooped up quickly at its $110 retail price.

“We do a lot of coin launches throughout the year and a lot of them, because of the limited mintage, do sell out very quickly,” said Kirk MacRae, director of the Royal Canadian Mint Board of Directors.

“I think with the finding of the ship in the last year, it has really brought the Franklin Expedition more in the news and more notoriety.”

The coin is 99.99 per cent pure silver, but its colour should also make it a hot item.

“You’ll remember years ago, the first poppy coin,” said MacRae. “Now we can do more and more great things and it’s evident with this coin, it’s quite spectacular.”

The coin and stamps will be available to the public on August 4, through Canada Post.

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