The Royal Canadian Mint’s poignant Conservation series highlights some of Canada’s most unique and vulnerable species, which contribute to this country’s rich biodiversity. As the last of the three-coin series, this fine silver coin stands as a beautiful showcase of one of Canada’s most secretive and enigmatic Arctic residents: the legendary narwhal (Monodon monoceros).
The reverse design by Canadian artist Curtis Atwater features two meticulously engraved narwhals moving through the waters in Canada’s Arctic region. A variety of finishing techniques enhance this life-like depiction, bringing added depth and a breathtaking life-like quality to the icy setting.
In the foreground, an adult narwhal remains partially submerged as it lifts its head above water through an opening between the ice floes; its spiralled tusk naturally draws the viewer’s eye upwards to the tapered point, which is extended towards the sky. Beneath the water’s surface, the mottled narwhal uses its convex tail fins to propel its movements, curving its sleek body to provide lift as it surfaces. Swimming alongside the adult is a juvenile narwhal; armed with its own small tusk, this young narwhal remains submerged as a trail of air bubbles are released from the blowhole atop its domed head. Its presence is both touching and meaningful, symbolising hope for the continued survival of this mysterious and captivating species in a changing Arctic landscape.
The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.