"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." --G.K. Chesterton

Monday, September 9, 2013

Something missing from a $2-coin

One of the bits of trivia that I enjoy sharing with friends is the fact that every Canadian coin (or so I thought) carries the inscription "D.G. Regina" around the image of the Queen. The vast majority of people have not noticed it and, even if they had, they have no idea what it means.

I'm always happy to explain that it is a shortened form of the Latin expression, "Dei Gratia Regina" which in turn means, "By the Grace of God, Queen."

I quite like the little saying, for the simple reason that it places things in perspective by telling us that even the head of state, Queen Elizabeth, is in her position only by the grace of God. By extension, it helps each and every one of us to keep our pride in check by reminding us of the nature of creation.

The coin in question. Guess what's missing.
(From mintnewsblog.com)
And so it came as a surprise earlier this summer when I noticed that a commemorative tooney I briefly had in my possession did not carry the inscription. I wondered if this was the result of a deliberate policy to start phasing out the expression--a move that, if reflective of modernization or secularization, would have been a great shame.

I therefore sent a few emails to the Canada mint, seeking an explanation. This morning, I received a satisfactory answer, from Alex Reeves, senior manager of communications. Here it is, in its entirety.:

Good morning Terry.  I believe you are referring to the 2012 $2 circulation coin commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.  The coin features HMS Shannon on the reverse, with the inscription The War of/La guerre de 1812 and the date 1812.  Normally, this side of the coin features the denomination and the word “CANADA”.  As these elements are mandatory on all Canadian legal tender coins, we had to move them to the obverse of the coin (around the effigy of the Queen), which meant that “D.G. Regina” had to be removed to create space.  Note that D.G. Regina is not a mandatory element of Canadian coins and that it is sometimes removed for this type of design considerations.  This was also the case with our 25-cent coins  commemorating the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, where we had to make room for the Olympic and Paralympic logos.

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