Czech militaries contribution to the air war against the Axis is remembered on new four-coin set
It used to be the case that many thought Britain stood alone against Germany in the early years of the Second World War, but fortunately, the vital contribution of the peoples of fallen countries is now more widely known and appreciated. Pilots, soldiers and sailors from such nations as Poland, France and Czechoslovakia are all now widely feted for their contributions, as it should be. The latter of those examples is now two countries, and it is the Czech Mint that has chosen the celebrate the contribution with a new four-coin proof set.
This is actually the fifth set of four coins in the “Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF” collection, with previous annual themes being Squadron Badges (2015), RAF aircraft (2016), Flying Aces (2017) and Significant Events (2018). The mint also issued a two-coin set last year for the 100th anniversary of the RAF, the World’s oldest such force, which comprised the Royal Mint issue and a new Czech designed silver coin. There are some wonderful designs in this series that collectors of military-themed coins would do well to check out. It’s on our list for a full Coin Series Profile, hopefully before years end.
We’ve chosen to show the gold coins below. Each 22mm diameter, 1/4oz fine gold coin depicts something associated with the latest subject – No. 68 Squadron. This squadron was formed in early 1941 and was equipped with Bristol Blenheim’s, just four months later moving to the more modern Beaufighter to undertake the squadrons role as night fighters. The squadron had a strong Czechoslovakian contingent with up to eight flights manned by people from the nation. In July 1944, No.68 was equipped with the legendary De Havilland Mosquito – the feared ‘Wooden Wonder’ – that the Czech ace Miloslav Mansfeld used to destroy two V-1 flying bombs. In 1944, the squadron was presented with an owls-head badge carrying the motto Vždy připraven – “Always prepared”.
The subjects for the four coins are very well chosen. The Beaufighter on one, the Mosquito on another, represents the tools of the trade. The coin carrying portraits of two aces represents the human element, while the owls-head badge occupies pride of place on the fourth coin. It’s a terrific set that covers all the bases and marks a fine tribute to the bravery of the squadrons Czechoslovakian and British personnel.
Coming in at €1’899, clearly not priced for the casual collector, we’re glad to see a silver set is also available at a far more affordable €198. The silver coins are identical in design, bar the denomination of course, and each of the four weighs in at 16 grams. Mintages on both sets are quite small, with just 400 gold and 500 silver sets on offer. Both come boxed with a certificate and an info-packed booklet, and are available now.
The Czech Mint closes the cycle that commemorates our “heavenly riders”. The fifth and last set of four silver coins pays tribute to the 68th Night Fighter Squadron RAF.
When the Luftwaffe launched the so-called “Blitz”, which means a series of night bombing raids on English towns in September 1940, the Royal Air Force had no effective defense. The night pilots need to have good eyesight with a good dose of happiness. The results of these risky actions, of course, did not match the effort, and therefore they began to quickly develop night fighter squadrons equipped with specialized technology – the on-board radar that was invented in Britain. Night fighter squadron RAF number 68 was established on 7 January 1941 and the first Czechoslovaks joined it in July of the same year. During the Second World War they fought not only with German aircraft, but also ships and missiles.
The Czech Mint dedicated the cycle to Czechoslovak airmen serving in the RAF on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Gradually, the following topics appeared – symbols of Czechoslovak squadrons, their aircraft, flying aces and important events. A number of collectors pointed out that 68th Squadron would also deserve its coin in addition to the four Czechoslovak squadrons – 310th, 311th, 312th and 313th. It was characterized by a large number of Czechoslovaks, so the squadron adopted the Czech motto “Always Ready”. Therefore, the cycle was closed by a commemorative set dedicated to the 68th Wing in 2019. Individual coins from the studio of academic sculptor Zbyněk Fojtů thematically follow the four previous sets – reverse sides carry the symbol of the squadron (owl with a Czech motto), its first effective night fighter (Bristol Beaufighter), two air aces (pilot Miloslav Mansfeld and radar operator Slavomil Janáček) and the scene of combat deployment (attack on the missile V-1). On the common obverse side of the coins there is the name and the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, the nominal value of 1 DOLLAR (NZD), together with the year of the issue 2019, which means the attributes of the island of Niue that provides the Czech Mint with a license to coin its own commemorative coins. These attributes are supplemented with RAF symbols.
Four coins are placed in a wooden box decorated with engraving of the night fighter de Havilland Mosquito. The set also includes the most narrative accompanying publication. Individual chapters follow the scenes depicted on coins, both in word and unique photographs. Authentic experiences and archives of witnesses were used as source for the publication.
|DENOMINATION||$1 NZD (Niue)||$10 NZD (Niue)|
|COMPOSITION||0.999 silver||0.9999 silver|
|WEIGHT||16 grams x4||7.78 grams x4|
|DIMENSIONS||34.0 mm||22.0 mm|
|BOX / C.O.A.||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes|
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