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.