1856 Nova Scotia "Mayflower Token"

May Flower

Viewed by many collectors as the most beautiful coin ever produced in Canada, the 1856 "Mayflower" token represents the first official coins produced by the Province of Nova Scotia. In 1823, Nova Scotia had issued pennies and half pennies showing the symbol of the thistle on the reverse (the so-called "Thistle Tokens") but these coins were never officially sanctioned by the governement in England. After 1850, the British government eased its regulations and allowed provinces to produce their own coinage. Nova Scotia responded by issuing pennies and half pennies showing the provincial flower on the reverse.

The obverse of the Mayflower token was designed by Leonard C. Wyon who also engraved the master dies. The reverse design is from a drawing by John Thompson, a Halifax botonist making the coin, in part, Canadian by design.