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Canada 2018 Norse Figureheads #1 - Northern Fury Dragon-Headed Viking Longship $20 Pure Silver Proof with Color L01

Price: $119.95 $79.95
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Product Description

FIRST IN A THRILLING NEW SERIES! The dragon-headed Viking longships sail the high seas once again! The new program Norse Figureheads brings us Northern Fury on this one troy ounce, pure silver proof with color!

From about AD 800 to 1200, they were the masters of the seas whose voyages defined trade, discovery and conquest in the Viking Age, and whose seafaring abilities led them to North America's far eastern shore, where they landed and set up a settlement in the year 1000. Step back in time with this exciting three-coin series that re-imagines the elaborate figureheads at the prow of legendary Viking longships, which embodied Norse craftsmanship and maritime supremacy in their time.

Please read on for articles about the Vikings in North America; Seafaring Warriors; and Viking Arms and Armor.

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Viking longships under sail, leaving the fjord, with shields on the gunwales.For the superstitious Vikings, a carved dragonhead on the prow kept sea monsters and evil spirits at bay. In this three-coin series, a mix of selective color and engraving highlights the combined Norse artistry and craftsmanship that produced some of history's most legendary ships, which were the epitome of maritime supremacy 1,000 years ago.

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An Original Work of Art!
The design by Patrick Bélanger presents an artistic rendering of the dragon-headed longship (drakkar), which was regarded as a symbol of Viking power and strength. The background features a precisely engraved depiction of the wooden vessel in open waters, where the wind fills its square sail and propels it forward during a long-distance journey. A troop carrier fit for rulers and chieftains, this ornate longship is equipped with shields while its curved bow rises up towards a dragonhead prow ornament, whose purpose was to ward off evil spirits and sea monsters. Selective color over engraving emphasizes the elaborate nature of the carved figurehead in the foreground, which offers a magnified view of this feature that gave the Norse vessel its name and added to the ship’s imposing appearance. The side view of the figurehead overlaps a green-colored frame inspired by Norse art elements, including traditional knotwork with an integrated gripping beast motif that also adorns the Norse figurehead.

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Fully equipped and heavily armed and armored Vikings - a chieftain and his bodyguard.The Vikings in North America
The first Europeans to explore the New World were known most infamously as brutal warriors, and only more recently as great explorers. The Vikings were seafaring Norse explorers whose great expansion spanned the eighth through the eleventh centuries. Over the course of three hundred years, they would explore and build settlements across northern Europe, Great Britain, Ireland, Greenland, Iceland, and the East Coast of North America.

The Vikings’ characterization as brutal warriors probably has its roots in early attacks on the British and Irish coasts. The Norsemen’s nimble longships - seafaring war galleys oared by dozens of warriors - were ideal for performing lightning-fast raids on unsuspecting vessels and coastal villages. The Norsemen who went to Iceland, Greenland, and North America, however, were generally farmers, tradespeople, and explorers traveling by knarr (merchant ship) and seeking natural resources.

Vikings fighting a battle in winter. Oh no - axe to the groin! Ouch! That's gotta hurt! (Do not attempt this at home.)Contemporary accounts suggest that it was a Norse explorer and ship captain named Bjarni Herjolfsson who first spotted the shores of the New World in the late tenth century, when a storm forced him off course between Iceland and Greenland. He told his compatriots in Greenland about a great forested shore; fifteen years later, Leif Eriksson, son of Eric the Red, used Bjarni’s description to find this land once again. Leif called it Vinland, Wineland - a land where grapes grew wild. Eriksson’s discovery triggered many more years of exploration in the region.

Scholars today believe that Vinland probably referred to a broad region encompassing Newfoundland, Labrador, and the eastern seaboard south to at least Maine. L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland is the earliest known European settlement in the New World. The small Viking camp of fewer than ten buildings was likely a base camp for summer explorations farther afield. Today, four of the Norse buildings at the L’Anse aux Meadows site have been reconstructed. Special exhibits showcase the many artifacts discovered there, highlighting the lifestyle of these intrepid early explorers. The site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.
                                                                                                                                       Image courtesy of:
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Technology Note - Color
The Royal Canadian Mint leads the world with its proprietary colorization technology, in which the color is actually sealed on the coin. The intricate detail, smooth gradients, and extreme precision of the technology create a stunning look on each coin.

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Technology Note - Purity
The Royal Canadian Mint refines the purest silver in the world. The RCM is also the only mint in the world to issue commemorative coins in a .9999 fineness. This one troy ounce silver coin is 99.99% pure!

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The design by Patrick Bélanger presents an artistic rendering of the dragon-headed longship (drakkar), which was regarded as a symbol of Viking power and strength. The date is also indicated.

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A cameo proof portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, in profile facing right. This portrait, the fourth effigy of the queen to appear on Canadian coinage, was executed by the artist Susanna Blunt. The legend ELIZABETH II D. G. REGINA ("Elizabeth II, Queen by the Grace of God") also appears. The denomination is also indicated.

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The coin is encapsulated inside a burgundy leatherette, clamshell-style presentation case, lined with black velvet and protected by a black outer box. An individually-numbered certificate of authenticity is included.

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Country Canada
Year of Issue 2018
Face Value 20 Dollars
Weight 31.39 g
Diameter 38 mm
Mintage Limit      6,000
Finish Proof with Color
Composition .9999 Fine (Pure) Silver
Edge Reeded (milled, serrated)
Artist Patrick Bélanger
Certificate Individually Numbered

Seafaring Warriors
The Vikings are the Norse (Scandinavian) explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided and settled in wide areas of Europe from the late eighth to the early eleventh century. They burst out of Scandinavia in the late 700s, seeking both wealth and lands to colonize. These Norsemen used their famed longships to travel as far east as Constantinople and the Volga River in Russia, and as far west as Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland, and as far south as Al Andalus. This period of Viking expansion – known as the Viking Age – forms a major part of the medieval history of Scandinavia, Britain, Ireland and the rest of Europe in general.

The Vikings sailed most of the North Atlantic, reaching south to North Africa and east to Russia, Constantinople and the Middle East, as looters, traders, colonists, and mercenaries. Vikings under Leif Ericson, heir to Erik the Red, reached North America, and set up a short-lived settlement in present-day L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

Once seen by the classical mindset as northern barbarians, the historical image of the Vikings now views them as aspirational, adventurous people, with ingenuity in ship and town construction, and a proficiency as exploring seafarers and traders to match. And of course, they were the greatest warriors of their age!

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Viking Arms and Armor
A Dane Axe or Danish Axe, with a decorated or engraved head or blade, denoting the owner's wealth and social status.According to custom, all free Norse men were required to own weapons, as well as permitted to carry them at all times. These arms were also indicative of a Viking's social status: a wealthy Viking would have a complete ensemble of a helmet, shield, chainmail shirt, and sword. A typical bondi (freeman) was more likely to fight with a spear and shield, and most also carried a seax as a utility knife and side-arm. Bows were used in the opening stages of land battles, and at sea, but tended to be considered less "honorable" than a hand weapon. Vikings were relatively unusual for the time in their use of axes as a main battle weapon. The Húscarls, the elite guard of King Cnut (and later King Harold II) were armed with two-handed axes which could split shields or metal helmets with ease.

The Dane Axe is a type of polearm, primarily used during the transition between the European Viking Age and early Middle Ages. Other names for the weapon include Danish Axe, English Long Axe, and Hafted Axe. The blade itself was reasonably light and forged very thin, making it superb for cutting. The thickness of the body above the edge is as thin as 2 mm. Many of these axes were constructed with a reinforced bit, typically of a higher carbon steel to facilitate a harder, sharper edge. Average weight of an axe this size is between 2 and 4 pounds (1 and 2 kg). This complex construction results in a lively and quick weapon with devastating cutting ability.

All of this calls to mind that most famous paean to the Norse, Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song:

    We come from the land of the ice and snow,
    From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
    The hammer of the gods, we'll drive our ships to new lands,
    To fight the horde, singing and crying: "Valhalla, I am coming!"

    On we sweep with threshing oar,
    Our only goal will be the western shore.
    How soft your fields so green, can whisper tales of gore,
    Of how we calmed the tides of war. We are your overlords.

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Did you know…
 - The Viking landing on Canada's east coast occurred roughly 500 years before the North American arrival of early European explorers such as Christopher Columbus, John Cabot and Jacques Cartier!
 - Located on Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula, L'Anse aux Meadows is the only authenticated Viking settlement in North America. A small cloak pin discovered in 1968 offered the first proof of a Norse encampment on our shores. In 1978, the site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 - The term dreki (dragon) could also apply to two other types of ships that may have had a dragonhead raised on the prow: the skeid, which was a narrow warship that was better suited for rowing, and the larger busse, which was sturdier in rough seas.
 - The origin of the word Viking isn't clear. There is still much debate, but one theory suggests the word comes from the Old Norse word víkingr, meaning a person from vík (an inet or bay) or Víken, an area in southern Norway.


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