The Royal Canadian Mint has released details for their annual silver dollar issue, a programme first organised in 1971 and which has become a firm favourite with collectors of Canadian coinage. For 2023, the theme centres on the inspiring life of Canada’s first female journalist, Kathleen “Kit” Coleman (1856–1915). Born in County Galway, Ireland, and emigrating to Canada in 1884, Kit Coleman first joined the Toronto Daily Mail as a women’s editor focusing on content relevant to the paper’s female readers and later became North America’s first accredited female war correspondent, gaining international fame for her coverage of the aftermath of the Spanish-American War. Married three times during her lifetime, she made the decision to relocate to Canada in 1884 after the death of her first husband Thomas Willis. It was during her work as a secretary that she met her second husband Edward Watkins and the couple became parents to two children. After his death, she supported herself and her children first as a cleaner, then by writing short stories, most of which were published in Toronto’s Saturday Night magazine. After gaining further experience as a writer, she gravitated to journalism writing under the name Kathleen Blake. By 1890, she was hired by the Toronto Mail newspaper and headed her own by-line entitled “Kit of the Mail,” becoming the first female journalist to be in charge of her own section of a Canadian newspaper. During the early decade of the 1900s, she began editing a weekly column entitled “Woman’s Kingdom,” which included articles on lighter topics such as theatre, fashion, and recipes. However, she argued with her editors that women were also interested in politics, business, religion, and science. Her well-followed column also attracted the attention of Canada’s then-Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier. Coleman gained greater interest in international events when she became a special correspondent for the Toronto Mail during the World’s Fair Chicago in 1893, later the Mid-Winter Fair, San Francisco, 1894, and most notably Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in London in 1897. It was also at this time when her reputation grew internationally, giving her the impetus to consider travelling to Cuba during the Spanish-American war in 1898. Despite the fact Coleman received her war correspondent accreditation from the United States government, making her the first accredited woman war correspondent in the world, her editors instructed her not to write news from the front, believing it would not be appropriate content for women to read nor for a woman to write. Facing heavy opposition from other correspondents, Coleman arrived in Cuba in July 1898, just before the end of the war. It was her accounts of the war’s aftermath and of its human casualties which brought her to the attention of the public and editors alike, propelling her further into the forefront of international journalism. Arriving back from Cuba, Coleman married her third husband Thomas Coleman, which is also when she assumed the name Kathleen Coleman. By 1904, she helped establish the Canadian Women’s Press Club whose aim it was to combat discrimination against women in the profession of journalism and was named its first president. Coleman died on the 16th May 1915 from complications after having contracted pneumonia in Hamilton, Ontario.
One dollar silver — The reverse side of the coin is designed by Pandora Young, who uses Kit’s silhouette as the canvas upon which the main chapters of her life are cleverly illustrated. To the right and along the edge is the text CANADA DOLLAR and the year 2023 placed just to the lower right of the primary design.
One hundred dollars gold — Also designed by Pandora Young, she created another portrait of the pioneering journalist on the reverse side of this quarter-ounce gold $100 gold coin. The motif features Kit Coleman writing at her desk. Behind her is a map showing North America and Europe, with dotted lines retracing her epic travels across both continents. Above the primary design is the text CANADA 2023.
As part of the coinage of Canada undergoing a transition of effigy from that of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (1926–2022) to the likeness of HM King Charles III, the Royal Canadian Mint has introduced a transitional obverse design that will appear on 2023 collector and bullion coins until a new permanent obverse of the King is adopted. The effigy created by Susanna Blunt of Queen Elizabeth II is accompanied by a special marking consisting of a vertical inscription of the dates 1952 and 2022, her years of reign separated by four pearls symbolising the four effigies that have been shown Canadian coins throughout the reign.
|Dollar||.9999 Silver||23.17 g||36 mm||Proof||35,000|
|100 dollars||.9999 Gold||7.8 g||20 mm||Proof||1,500|
Available from February, each gold and silver Proof quality coin is encapsulated and presented in a custom case accompanied by a numbered certificate of authenticity. For additional information, please click here for the silver coin or here for the gold coin.