Australia’s first home-grown fighter aircraft is celebrated on a fine new high relief silver coin
Downies Australia have a history of releasing some fine coins in recent years, nearly always ones picking up on an aspect of Antipodean nature or history. Their latest issue sits firmly in the latter camp, showcasing the first indigenous fighter aircraft produced in Oz, the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) Boomerang. Designed and produced in rapid order during a time of intense pressure, the CAC Boomerang is a testament to the ingenuity of Australian industry at the outbreak of war with Japan.
Struck in an ounce of 0.999 silver, it’s a coin issued for Niue Island and thus carries the effigy of the head of the Commonwealth on the obverse, Queen Elizabeth II. Surrounded by inscriptions detailing the issuer, date, denomination and composition, there are no surprises here. There are inscriptions on the reverse face, all of which are related to the coin subject, but apart from the ‘1942’ flag they’re well integrated into the design. It’s the design that shines here. Aircraft and ships are quite difficult to depict on a coin without compromise, but the CAC Boomerangs on that are just about perfect. Beautiful perspective and composition elevate this to being one of our all time favourite aviation coins.
That would be enough, but the ultra high relief strike employed here raises this to a whole other level. Giving the coin the appearance of depth the scene requires, it’s one of the finest uses of UHR to enhance a design we’ve yet seen; subtle, but effective. Plenty of detail is present, from panels on the planes fuselage to the superb propellor assembly.
Available later today from Downies, just 750 examples will be produced. Each is supplied in a wooden coin box with an enclosed certificate of authenticity, all wrapped up in a themed shipper. In all, a great package for the military aviation enthusiast, or just for someone that appreciates a well realised coin.
THE CAC BOOMERANG
The CAC Boomerang was a fighter aircraft designed and manufactured in Australia by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation between 1942 and 1945. Approved for production shortly following the Empire of Japan’s entry into the Second World War, the Boomerang was rapidly designed as to meet the urgent demands for fighter aircraft to equip the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The type holds the distinction of being the first combat aircraft to be both designed and constructed in Australia.
Different variants of the Boomerang were manufactured under a series of corresponding production contract numbers CA-12, CA-13, CA-14 and CA-19, the aircraft supplied under each subsequent contract would incorporate various modifications, typically aimed at improving the aircraft’s performance. The effectiveness of the Boomerang has been contested, the aircraft proving to be slower than contemporary fighter aircraft and thus rarely engaging in aerial combat. During early wartime operations, the Boomerang was mainly dispatched to equip home-based squadrons, freeing up other fighters for use elsewhere overseas. In later service, the Boomerang would commonly be used for ground support duties, cooperating with Allied army units, in addition to secondary roles such as aerial reconnaissance and air sea rescue.
Only 250 examples were ever built, making it one of the rarest fighters of the Second World War. While it never shot down any enemy fighters and soon gave way to more advanced and capable British and American designs, it had much success in the light ground attack role where it performed in many areas of the South West Pacific theatre. There are several airworthy and static display examples around the world, particularly in its home country.
|NAME||2017 FIRST FIGHTER BOOMERANG|
|DENOMINATION||$1 New Zealand|
|MODIFICATIONS||Ultra High Relief|
|BOX / COA||Yes / Yes|
Who minted this coin? The usual Perth?