Surprisingly given their ubiquitous nature, cars are a relative rarity on modern precious metal commemorative coins. Leave it up to Italy, the home of some of the worlds most famous sports car builders, to drop a cool, car coin on the market then. For all that people admire the Ferrari and Lamborghini supercars that emanate from Northern Italy, it is the tiny Fiat 500 Cinquecento that people love.
Launched in 1957 and staying in production in its original form until 1975, the Fiat 500 was a rear-engined two-door, four seat car that was designed to be cheap to buy and even cheaper to run. Under three metres in length and powered by a 479 cc two-cylinder, air-cooled engine, it’s widely considered to be one of the very first cars designed specifically for the urban environment. It was succeeded by the Fiat 126, the Cinquecento and then the Seicento, before being revived in 2007 with an all-new, attractive 500 that remains on sale today – indeed spawning a wider range of models than ever before.
The coin itself is typical IPZS fare. Not the most ambitious mint around, they prefer to concentrate on classic design and in our view at least, have produced a superb one here. The obverse is simple enough. A perspective view of the modern 2007 model sits in front of the classic original. Just the inscription ‘REPUBLICA ITALIANA’ sits on this face. The reverse face is a fine composition. A side-profile view of an early 500 takes pride of place and in the background is placed a dashboard view. The dates, denomination and the Fiat 500 logo are placed here also.
Packaging is unusual for IPZS. A heavily themed gatefold pack that hold sthe coin mounted to a card is certainly different from the usual coin box. With appeal far outside of the usual coin collecting community, it’s no surprise to find out this has already sold out at the mint. At an issue price of €40.00 we’d pick on of these up in a heartbeat. Hopefully, we’ll see a few more car coins. Next year is 110 years since the debut of the Model T Ford and 50 years since the Ford Escort and the Ferrari Daytona launched. 2019 sees 60 years since the Mini debuted – all cars well deserving of celebrating.