Burning rubber! Art Mint adds a tyre to a coin to celebrate 130 years of Dunlop’s invention

Producers of some pretty unique coins, Paris-based Art Mint have managed to pick up several awards for their innovative and beautifully struck issues over the last few years. They recently won the Peoples Choice Award at the 2018 Coin Constellation Awards in Moscow for their attractive Celestial Bodies: The Sun coin – one of a set of three designs by Miroslav Hric. The Art Mint’s latest is, however, something quite unique.

It’s just turned 130 years since Irish inventor John Dunlop made the first pneumatic tyre. Made to help his son be more comfortable riding his bike, the pneumatic tyre has gone on to be one of the most ubiquitous inventions in modern history. Even today, the name Dunlop is synonymous with the tyre world and they remain highly active in the market. The coin looks like a wheel with a tyre, but this is no piece of metal with a black-edged paint job. Art Mint have struck the coin with a raised central rim that holds an actual rubber tyre. It isn’t pneumatic, of course, but perfectly represents the anniversary the coin has been designed to celebrate.

The coin proper carries a wheel design – an obvious choice if you think about it – but it looks cool regardless and the incorporation of the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II into the hub cap on the obverse is a great idea. The wheel design chosen, and petrolheads will know just how many different styles have been available over the last few decades alone, is one that could fit into quite a few time periods. We could describe it a bit more, but the pictures tell the whole story. An unusual idea for a coin subject and an unusual coin and who could ask for more these days?

The silver content is 65 grams (that’s 2.3 std, or 2.1 troy ounces) and it has a 36 mm diameter sans rubber. Packaging is heavily themed and will no doubt match the high quality of previous releases from Art Mint. A certificate of authenticity will be included. The mintage of just 500 will likely see a quick sell-out given how popular car culture is these days and it should be available for pre-order in the next few days.

LAST MINUTE NOTE: We’ve learned that the mint has pre-sold 300 of the 500 to a single automotive client and thus just 200 pieces will be available to the numismatic market. If you want one, keep your eye out for the release.


Few inventions have more profoundly affected society than the pneumatic or air-inflated tire-which not only changed the way people traveled, but even today influences where and how we live. To commemorate this important event Art mint has produced this unusual coin with a real rubber tire! A world premiere in coin industry! This revolutionary coin is not only a commemoration of a huge industrial success. It is also an artistic challenge that combines innovative technology (unique edge shape), modern design and a material used for the first time in a coin: real rubber.

The obverse of the coin shows intricate wheel spokes and a commemorative caption. On the reverse side, you will find Her Majesty, Queen Elisabeth II, the face value and date. Mounted on the rim is an actual rubber tire, which makes the coin look like a lovely miniature of an actual motor wheel and a lovely real rubber tire!

The first practical pneumatic tire was made in 1888 by John Boyd Dunlop of Belfast, Ireland, as an effort to alleviate the headaches of his young son while riding his tricycle on bumpy pavements. Before 1888 railways offered the only means of long-distance travel by land, and the horse furnished most day-to-day transportation. People seldom left their towns or farms because travel was diffi­cult even for short distances. Vacation travel was a luxury enjoyed only by the rich and leisured. It simply wasn’t an option for most working people.

The pneumatic tire – first by popularizing the bicycle, and then the automobile – widened the horizons of average people and altered their way of life. Ultimately, society itself was changed. For the first time, routes were adequately mapped and distances plotted between places which previously held little relevance for a less mobile population. With widespread use of the automobile came the need for im­proved roads and sturdier bridges, which created employment for many. Meanwhile, new service industries sprang up around the au­tomobile and tourism. Road signs went up and many cities and towns began to rely on the money brought in by visiting motorists.

Today, more than 400 million pneumatic tires are produced an­nually worldwide, along with nearly 47 million new motor vehicles to consume them-and the world’s vehicle population is growing at the rate of approximately 1.6 percent. Pneumatic tires, over the past century’, have grown so numerous and impervious to aging their eventual disposal has become a prob­lem of serious proportions in all the industrialized countries. Taking this all into account, one cannot help but wonder how the pneumatic’s two fathers — Robert W. Thomson and John Boyd Dun­lop — might regard the results of their mutual invention.

DENOMINATION $5 New Zealand (Niue)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 65.6 grams (2.3 oz)
DIMENSIONS 36.0 mm (metal diameter)
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Real rubber tyre
BOX / COA Yes / Yes