CIT honour the 80 year old record-holding Mallard steam train with a new smartminted silver coin

It’s quite surprising that there are so few classic trains on modern numismatics. It’s been proven time and again that coins with nautical themes are well liked and we understand that there is a sizeable community of rail enthusiasts out there, so the reasons for the scarcity are a little mysterious. In many parts of the world, like India for example, trains are a massive part of the national psyche, so clearly there’s plenty of potential interest.

Coin Invest Trust and Egina are clearly hoping that’s the case with their first issue in a new series called Spirit of Trains. Plenty of subjects to choose from, of course, but even so, the choice of the record-setting steam locomotive The Mallard is an inspired one. A beautiful piece of transport technology, The Mallard, even after 80 years, still holds the official speed record for a steam train. Even better, it’s still around and on permanaent display in England, so continues to have relevance to those interested in the field.

No complaints on the coin design. Smartminting is in full evidence with an impessive amount of relief and detail. The image is very dynamic and CIT have tried very hard to instill a sense of fast motion by ‘blurring’ parts of the background, much like you would do in Photoshop or a comic book, for example. It works well, and in conjunction with the rich colour application, nakes the train really stand out from the background while remaining part of it.

The obverse is a standard effort – just the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II surrounded by the usual inscriptions, but that’s quite typical of Cook Islands issues. We’ve seen no images of the packaging yet, but Egina are stating the coin will come in ‘a beautifully designed box labeled Spirit of Trains’ and with a certificate of authenticity. The coin serial number is engraved into the edge of the coin, denoting which of the 499 coins minted that you have.

A fine debut for the series, the coin will ship at the end of August and is available to pre-order right now from the worldwide distributor, Egina Coins. It’s good to see the subject back in coins and this looks like it could be an impressive premium series if this standard is maintained.

LNER Class A4 4468 Mallard

London and North Eastern Railway locomotive numbered 4468 Mallard is a Class A4 4-6-2 Pacific steam locomotive built at Doncaster, England in 1938. It is historically significant as the holder of the world speed record for steam locomotives at 126 mph (203 km/h).

The A4 class was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley to power high-speed streamlined trains. The wind-tunnel-tested, aerodynamic body and high power allowed the class to reach speeds of over 100 miles per hour (160 km/h), although in everyday service it rarely attained this speed. While in British Railways days regular steam-hauled rail services in the UK were officially limited to a 90 mph ‘line speed’, pre-war, the A4s had to run significantly above 90 mph just to keep schedule on trains such as the Silver Jubilee and Coronation, with the engines reaching 100 mph on many occasions. Mallard covered almost one and a half million miles (2.4 million km) before it was retired in 1963.

The locomotive is 70 ft (21 m) long and weighs 165 tons, including the tender. It is painted LNER garter blue with red wheels and steel rims.

Mallard is the holder of the world speed record for steam locomotives at 126 mph (203 km/h). The record was achieved on 3 July 1938 on the slight downward grade of Stoke Bank south of Grantham on the East Coast Main Line, and the highest speed was recorded at milepost 90¼, between Little Bytham and Essendine. It broke the German (DRG Class 05) 002’s 1936 record of 124.5 mph (200.4 km/h). The record attempt was carried out during the trials of a new quick-acting brake (the Westinghouse “QSA” brake).

It was restored to working order in the 1980s, but has not operated since, apart from hauling some specials between York and Scarborough in July 1986 and a couple of runs between York and Harrogate/Leeds around Easter 1987. Mallard is now part of the National Collection at the United Kingdom’s National Railway Museum in York.

On the weekend of 5 July 2008, Mallard was taken outside for the first time in years and displayed beside the three other A4s that are resident in the UK, thus reuniting them for the first time since preservation. It departed the museum for Locomotion, the NRM’s outbase at Shildon on 23 June 2010, where it was a static exhibit, until it was hauled back to York on 19 July 2011 and put back on display in its original location in the Great Hall. (Source: Wikipedia)

DENOMINATION $10 CID (Cook Islands)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
MODIFICATIONS Colour, smartminting
BOX / COA Yes / Yes