Nfld. & Labrador

Fogo Island artist cashes in on coin design

Adam Young, owner of Young Studios, is now featured on a five-ounce, $50, pure-silver coin.

Royal Canadian Mint kept his design in their archives since Canada 150

Adam Young now has a piece of his original artwork featured on a five-ounce silver coin, straight from the Royal Canadian Mint. (Young Studios/Facebook)

An artist based in Joe Batt's Arm on Fogo Island has taken his designs to the bank — the Royal Canadian Mint, to be exact.

Adam Young, owner of Young Studios, is now featured on a five-ounce, pure-silver $50 coin, which retails for a whopping $529.95 and can be purchased straight though the Royal Canadian Mint. 

The coin is a limited production, with only 750 being made. 

"It's a bit surreal. Obviously, it's a huge honour to be asked to do something like that, and now that it's all done and looking at it, it's hard setting in," Young told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show on Tuesday.

Young grew up in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, but has called Fogo Island home since 2005.

Young's design is modeled after the maple leaf, with 13 layers representing the provinces and territories and an homage to Indigenous peoples. (Young Studios/Facebook)

His artwork depicts surrealistic and expresionistic scenes from around the province. Some of his pieces are displayed inside the Fogo Island Inn which has recently helped get his work in front of some influential names, such as Arlene Dickinson of Dragons' Den fame.

Young's design for the coin encapsulates Canada as a whole, featuring each province, the oceans surrounding the country, and an Inukshuk in homage to Indigenous people.

No-go for Canada 150

Young initially created a design for the limited run of coins made in commemoration of Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation. His design was turned down for that opportunity, but all was not lost — the Royal Canadian Mint came knocking once more and asked to keep his design in their archives, to be used for a coin in the future.

"The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter" by Adam Young. (Young Studios/Facebook)

"It's a tricky process where you're trying to not get too detailed, but have enough to make it so people understand what it looks like and what you're trying to say," he said. 

"It was kind of difficult to balance all of those things."

After the sale of a design the Royal Canadian Mint then takes complete ownership of the work, but after being paid Young calls it a good gig — even after having to buy his own coin.

"It was nice to be contacted by a bigger party to do something on this level," Young said.

"And then for it to be accepted, it was a great honour."

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from the St. John's Morning Show


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