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Category Archives: Mary Celeste

Canada Issues $200 Gold Coin Featuring the Amazon

Canada Issues $200 Gold Coin Featuring the Amazon

“… the derelict Marie Celeste …”

– J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement

2106 Canada $200 OBV2016 Canada $200 Amazon

Almost four years before the name Sherlock Holmes was seen in print, Arthur Conan Doyle had published J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement in the January 1884 issue of The Cornhill Magazine. Doyle was one of the first to publish a fictionalized version of the mystery of the ship Mary Celeste, which was found abandoned off the Azore Islands in December 1872. Doyle relied heavily on the real facts of the mystery, but made a few mistakes in his version of tale, i.e. calling the ship Marie rather than the correct Mary. So convincing was Doyle’s work of fiction, many readers believed the account to be a factual account of the mystery. You can read his entire story by clicking HERE.

The ship that we know today as the Mary Celeste was first known as Amazon when it was built in Nova Scotia in 1861. The Amazon was damaged and abandoned in a storm off Newfoundland in October 1867. She was claimed as a derelict a month later and sold to American investors. At this time, the ship was renamed as Mary Celeste. The ship would be refitted in 1872 to increase capacity and then set off on November 7th for her fateful voyage.

In 2016, Canada is issuing a 4 gold coin series honoring tall ships that were built in Canada. The coins have a face value of $200 and sell for just under $2,700 CAD each. From the Royal Canadian Mint’s press release:

It was Canada’s Golden Age of Sail. In the late 19th century, shipyards along Nova Scotia’s coastline flourished as Atlantic Canada built some of the era’s most famous wooden sailing ships. Launched on May 18, 1861 in the Bay of Fundy, the Amazon was one of the first vessels built in the shipyard at Spencer’s Island, Nova Scotia. For six years, this brigantine generated profit for her local owners as she hauled cargo across the Atlantic and in the West Indies; and yet, history would remember the two-masted sailing ship under new ownership and a different name—one that is now synonymous with inexplicable desertion and mystery on the high seas: the Mary Celeste.

Celebrate Canada’s famous tall ships with the Amazon! Order today!

Special Features:
  • THIRD COIN IN SERIES! Third coin in an outstanding four-coin series that proudly celebrates Canada’s famous tall ships and our rich maritime heritage.
  • A CELEBRATION OF NOVA SCOTIA’S RICH SHIPBUILDING HISTORY! And a commemoration of the 155th anniversary of the launch of the Amazon.
  • MULTIPLE FINISHES! Expertly engraved with multiple finishes that bring the design to life in stunning detail, which stands as a testament to our craftsmanship.
  • ONE OUNCE OF PURE GOLD! Your coin is GST/HST exempt!


Designed by Canadian artist Neil Hamelin, your coin features a starboard view of the Nova Scotia-built brigantine known as the Amazon. The 184-ton vessel is heeled over as the wind fills her canvas sails and drives her forward through the choppy waters of the Atlantic. Beautifully intricate engraving recreates the ship in extraordinary detail, from the rigging of her headsails to the wooden planks of her hull, and even captures the anchor attached to her bow. A pennant bearing the ship’s name flies atop the mainmast, while the British ensign flown from the gaff is depicted flapping in the strong wind. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.

Did you know…
  • The Amazon measured 30.3 metres in length, 7.8 metres across, and a depth of 3.6 metres.
  • After running aground in 1867, she was sold for $1,750 and was repaired at a cost of roughly $8,825; another refit in 1872 enlarged the ship at a cost of $10,000.
  • Sailing as the Mary Celeste, her cargo on that fateful voyage in November 1872 was 1,701 barrels of denatured alcohol that was destined for Genoa, Italy, to fortify wine.
  • Another Nova Scotia-built brigantine, the Dei Gratia, came upon Mary Celeste on December 4, 1872 and found the ship under full sail, without a trace of her crew or lifeboat, nor any evidence of fire or foul play.
  • The last record in her log bore the date November 25—nine days before she was found—and recorded her position nearly 740 kilometres from where Dei Gratia spotted her.
  • Theories about the crew’s disappearance have ranged from a seaquake to a giant squid, or a hasty escape due to the alcoholic fumes leaking from the ship’s cargo.
  • Mary Celeste’s story has been immortalized and fictionalized in television shows, plays, songs, films and novels—including the short story Marie Celeste by Arthur Conan Doyle, who would later be known as the creator of Sherlock Holmes.
  • The ship was deliberately wrecked and partially burned in a failed insurance-fraud scheme in 1885; she finally came to rest beneath the waves off the coast of Haiti, where her wreck was identified in 2001.


Your coin is encapsulated and presented in a Royal Canadian Mint-branded maroon clamshell with a black beauty box.

2016 Canada Amazon in case

The 275 coins have sold out. If interested in purchasing one of these coins, your best option is to search one of the online auction services.

OBVERSE: ELIZABETH II D • G • REGINA / (Susanna Blunt’s right facing portrait of Queen Elizabeth II) / 200 DOLLARS

REVERSE: CANADA / (sailing ship Amazon in full sail) / 2016 / AMAZON

30mm, Round, .999 Gold, reeded edge

Pobjoy Mint’s 1994 Catalog & Press Release

Pobjoy Mint’s 1994 Catalog & Press Release

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April HolmeWork Assignment: Gibraltar’s 1994 Golden Sherlock Holmes Coins

April HolmeWork Assignment: Gibraltar’s 1994 Golden Sherlock Holmes Coins

A few weeks back, we published Ed Rochette’s 1995 syndicated column featuring the Pobjoy Mint releasing a series of coins commemorating the Return of Sherlock Holmes. Twenty-four different coins were struck in 3 different metals with 8 different designs. We have photographs of the 8 cupro-nickel Crowns and the 8 .925 fine sterling silver coins.… Continue Reading

Gibraltar Marks The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1995)

Gibraltar Marks The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1995)

Just ask any fan of the world’s first consulting detective. Sherlock Holmes lives! He is alive and well, considering his age, and settled comfortably in Sussex raising bees. If this were not true, why then would the Baker Street Irregulars have celebrated his birthday Jan. 6? To these devotees, Holmes turns 140 and his birthday… Continue Reading