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Pencil to paper to metal: The journey of journalism pioneer Kit Coleman is honoured on the 2023 Proof Dollar.

Who was “Kit”? That’s what readers of the Toronto Daily Mail (later The Mail and Empire) were asking, as they pored over the writings of Kathleen Blake Coleman. An intrepid reporter with a lively journalistic voice, “Kit” Coleman rose above the fray in the male-dominated newspaper industry, tackling a wide range of issues as well as the topics typically covered in women’s columns. She made history 125 years ago by becoming North America’s first accredited woman war correspondent. Coleman also helped establish the Canadian Women’s Press Club in 1904 and served as its first president, and later became Canada’s first syndicated woman columnist.

In a time when women journalists were limited to writing about the female perspective and women’s issues, Kathleen Blake Coleman paved the way for better representation in newsrooms and a more equal standing for Canadian women in other aspects of life.

Kathleen “Kit” Blake Coleman: A journalism pioneer deserving of her place on the 2023 Proof Dollar.

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • A journalism pioneer. One of Canada’s most successful early presswomen and a woman of many firsts, journalist Kathleen “Kit” Blake Coleman is honoured on Canada’s Proof Dollar in 2023, which marks the 125TH anniversary of her becoming North America’s first accredited woman war correspondent.
  • The proof dollar for 2023. Crafted in 99.99% pure silver, the annual Fine Silver Proof Dollar is the Royal Canadian Mint's flagship collector coin and one of the year’s most anticipated collectibles.
  • Limited supply. Only 35,000 coins—a lower mintage than in 2022—are available to collectors worldwide.
  • Also available: The 2023 Fine Silver Proof Dollar honouring Kathleen “Kit” Blake Coleman is included in the 2023 Special Edition Proof Set, and you’ll find a selectively gold-plated version in the 2023 Fine Silver Proof Dollar Set.
  • Includes serialized certificate. The Royal Canadian Mint certifies all of its collector coins.
  • NO GST/HST. (if applicable)

A DESIGN WITHIN A DESIGN

The silhouette collage on the coin’s reverse captures key moments in the journalist’s life—from the office of the Toronto newspapers that published her columns from 1889 to 1911, to the vintage typewriter that represents her legacy and impact on journalism.

AN OUTSTANDING SCULPT

Each Fine Silver Proof Dollar’s collage-within-a-silhouette design is incredibly detailed, and all those finely engraved elements are enhanced by a mix of frostings that help make each image distinct from the other.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • She was born Catherine Ferguson in 1856, in County Galway, Ireland, but identified herself privately as Kathleen Willis when she first came to Canada in 1884. She adopted the middle name Blake and by the time she began publishing, she was formally known as Kathleen Blake Watkins, and as Kathleen Blake Coleman when she later remarried.
  • Her pen name “Kit” and her public persona had readers guessing both her identity and gender. In her column, Coleman covered a wide range of topics in an attempt to break free from gender-based restrictions imposed upon the few presswomen of that era.
  • Kit first joined the Toronto Daily Mail as a women’s editor in 1889 in order to support herself and her two young children. Her weekly, seven-column “Woman’s Kingdom” page featured a mix of observations and advice, thought-provoking articles and travel writings. Coleman was known to go undercover in other cities, such as London and San Francisco, in order to write about social issues and the plight of the poor. Though her travel writings were curtailed after the Mail merged with the Empire in 1895, Kit was dispatched to London in 1897 to cover Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee; while there, she spent time with Sir Wilfrid Laurier, then the prime minister of Canada (and reportedly an avid reader of Coleman’s column).
  • In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, Coleman became North America’s first accredited woman war correspondent. While she was authorized to accompany American troops in Cuba, her male colleagues and the army commanders on the ground were opposed to the idea of having a woman in their midst, and they prevented her travel. Stranded in Florida, she eventually landed in Cuba in July 1898; while she had missed the main battles, her accounts of the war’s aftermath made her internationally famous.

DESIGN & ARTIST

Designed by Canadian artist Pandora Young, the coin’s reverse features a silhouette of journalist Kathleen “Kit” Blake Coleman (1856-1915) holding an open notebook and pen. Within that silhouette are various elements that represent her life and career (from top to bottom): The Mail and Empire building in Toronto, Ont.; SS Circassian, the passenger ship that brought the Irish-born writer to Canada in 1884; a partial map of the Atlantic Ocean, to represent Coleman’s travels and dispatches; a view of Coleman writing at her desk; and a vintage typewriter that symbolizes her legacy and impact on Canadian journalism. The obverse features the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt. The obverse also bears a special marking that includes four pearls symbolizing the four effigies that have graced Canadian coins and the double date of her reign.

The biggest challenge was conveying the sheer scope of “Kit” Coleman’s accomplishments. She was intrepid, undaunted and a creative thinker, and those qualities took her on many wide-ranging adventures. Each time it seemed as if she was backed into a corner, she'd think up some ingenious new plan that only made her story more exciting. She elevated thought and discourse, as well as the voices and status of women—this is surely her most immortal legacy, and it is my hope that we can inspire collectors everywhere to learn more about Kathleen Blake Coleman. PANDORA YOUNG, ARTIST

Kathleen Blake Coleman, or Kit as she was known to her readers, was a pioneer female journalist in Canada, whose story is told on this well-deserved commemorative coin. She was an Irish immigrant to this country, struggled with single motherhood, and supported her children by producing an eclectic, interesting, and lively women’s page in Toronto’s Daily Mail, which later became the Mail and Empire. She loved to travel and write about her adventures and in 1898, her newspaper sent her to Cuba to cover the Spanish American War, a groundbreaking assignment that won her international fame. DR. BARBARA FREEMAN, AUTHOR OF KIT’S KINGDOM: THE JOURNALISM OF KATHLEEN BLAKE COLEMAN

PACKAGING

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

ABOUT THE ROYAL CANADIAN MINT

The Royal Canadian Mint is known as one of the most reputable mints in the world. The Ottawa Branch of the Royal Mint opened in 1908 and was renamed The Royal Canadian Mint in 1931 when control was transferred to the Canadian government. The Royal Canadian Mint is renowned for producing some of the highest quality and purity of gold and silver bullion coins and bars in the world. Their high standards for excellence and quality allowed them to be the first refinery to manufacture 9999 fine gold bullion coins in 1982, as well as the first to reach 99999 fine gold purity in 1999.

9060
2023
Proof
New
9999
Canada
Royal Canadian Mint
CAD 1
35000
Pandora Young (reverse), Susanna Blunt (obverse)
3/4 oz
36.07

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