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Allegories in Numismatic Art



One of the things that endears me to coin collecting is allegorical art. I have several sets in my collection based on allegories alone. I have always maintained that coins are a powerful medium to communicate national ideals through allegorical images.

For me a lot of the fun in collecting coins is deciphering the allegories. In researching the allegories, I am amazed by how much I have learned about world history through the stories told on coins! For instance I had not known that the name "Borealia" had been considered for Canada's name at it's confederation in 1867 before I acquired the latest coin for my allegorical "Inspirational Ladies" set. The following is a description of my coin purchased from Tallisman Coins and comes from their website:

Building on the classical concept of a female national personification, Canadian artist Rebecca Yanovskaya offers a new allegory for a modern Canada. Framed by waves and maple leaves that unite land and sea, Borealia is the very picture of strength and confidence as she stands against the majestic backdrop of Canada's tallest peak, Mount Logan, which represents the soaring spirit of innovation.

Like the British figurehead Britannia, Borealia is clad in traditional robes, but with unique armor that hints at Canada's journey since the colonial era. Every engraved element in this intricate design carries deeper symbolic meaning, including those that allude to the weight of history: the fur cape that represents Canada's pre-Confederation past; the feather that pays tribute to Indigenous Peoples; and the poppies of remembrance woven into her hair. In one hand, Borealia holds the shield of the Arms of Canada; in the other, a dove of peace, a nod to Canada's historic role as peacekeepers, but also to Canadians' desire for peace.

Facing forward towards the future, Borealia is strong, optimistic and steadfast, like the people she represents, whose ideals and spirit continue to shape and redefine the nation's global future. With one foot reverentially set in the past, her name is an ode to one of the proposed names of Canada leading up to Confederation: Borealia.

Traditional engraving creates a classical portrait of the modern Miss Canada, a highly symbolic and meaningful allegory or personification of the goddess Miss Canada, struck in one full troy ounce of 99.99% pure silver, and layered in precious 24-karat gold!

 She is youthful yet wise, peaceful yet  powerful. She is Borealia, (from "borealis," the Latin word for "northern") the goddess Miss Canada, who radiates strength and confidence on this fully gold-plated, 99.99% pure silver proof. This symbolic personification is a superb rendering of a classic allegorical figure who represents the collective spirit of Canadians in today's world: hopeful and steady in resolve and perseverance, rising to meet the challenges that lie ahead.





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That's a fabulous coin, with a very interesting story behind it, thanks for posting.  Of course, I was curious to check out your "Inspirational Ladies" set, so I did just that.  Wow! I wanted to say that your set is fantastic, with some very, very lovely specimens in there.  I really enjoyed the write ups, and I realize how much effect that can take!


Congrats on such a great addition to the collection!

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Thank you! If you liked "Inspirational ladies" you'll like "The Use of seated Imagery in Numismatics" and in particular the coin in this link  https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/coinview.aspx?sc=304969  In this set I trace the use of seated images on coinage from ancient times to more modern uses of those ancient images. From there, I trace the deities of ancient Greece and Rome during Europe's colonialism of the world. Coins adapted to the regions they circulated effectively spread western philosophy and thinking across the globe. Enjoy!


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Your Seated Imagery set is indeed very fab - I have perused that set before, including that denarius.  For anyone else interested, I highly recommend it!


Although I don't specialize that type in my Roman Empire collection, I went through and counted how many different "seated deity" coins that I had, just to get an idea of how popular that seated deity motif was for ancient Roman coinage. I counted a total of 21 (almost 10% of my collection), representing 11 different gods: Allat, Athena,  Concordia, Cybele, Fides, Fortuna, Pudicitia, Roman, Salus, Venus, Zeus, with Roma the most popular.  No wonder this beautiful motif endured to modern times.


Your sets are great keep it up!

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