On February 6, 1952, King George VI of the United Kingdom passed away in his sleep. Upon his death, his daughter Elizabeth assumed the crown to become Queen Elizabeth II. As is tradition, United Kingdom and Common Wealth Nation coinage replaced the effigy of King George the VI with Queen Elizabeth the II on all denominations in the following year of 1953.
Canada, being a Common Wealth Nation, likewise updated their coinage and thanks to Elizabeth II’s longevity has provided us with decades of diversity with Queen Elizabeth II coinage. One series that featured this change over was the Voyager One Dollar coin.
The reverse was carried over from the previous George VI Voyager series with no changes and was designed & engraved by Emanuel Hahn. The reverse design features an Indian and traveler (voyager) in a canoe paddling past a small inlet with pine trees and rays behind the inlet to represent the northern lights. There is cargo inside of the canoe and the bundle to the right (closest to the Indian) has the initials “HB” which represented the Hudson Bay Company. Just below the right of the canoe are the designer’s initials “EH”. On the outer periphery is the denomination “DOLLAR” and the word “CANADA”.
Type 1 Young Queen: 1953 to 1957 & 1959 to 1963
Type 2 Silver Queen with Tiara: 1965 and 1966
Type 3 Nickel Queen with Tiara: 1968, 1969, 1972, 1975 to 1987
Major Design Varieties
1977 - The first design variety occurred in 1977 when both the obverse and reverse designs were reduced slightly in size. Additionally, the reverse was modified further by eliminating the rim denticles and replacing them with beads.
1978 to 1987 - 1978 saw the dollar return to it's original design size and reverse denticles but with one addition. The northern lights (rays) on the reverse became more prominent by utilizing raised lines.