PiK Coin’s look at the infamous 20th century gangsters continues with the bank robber, John Dillinger

The world of the popularly known gangsters, that became synonymous with American culture in the inter-war period of the mid-20th century, is rarely seen on coins, but in 2021, PiK Coins debuted the first of its new series, simply called ‘Gangsters’,. Featuring Al Capone, a criminal guilty of a whole litany of crimes, like murder, extortion, bootlegging, prostitution, and bribery, it set the tone for the series with its design.

The coin was two-ounces of silver, rimless, high-relief, and antique-finished, so a classic format, and employed some gilded elements on the obverse, unusually, as well as a physical hole through the coin, styled to look like a bullet had ripped through it. Cleverly, that hole was also incorporated into the obverse layout to ape an empty chamber in a revolver. These elements have become signature features of the series, and worked just as well on the second issue, Bonnie and Clyde.

The third of the four coins in the series has just launched, and this time the unsavoury character depicted is John Dillinger, another hardcore criminal immortalised in legend, mainly because of the incredibly tough economic times of the early 30s, when people latched onto exciting stories, turning these people into undeserving folk heroes. Dillinger actually courted media attention, and after his death, 15,000 people queued to view his body. The reality is, he was just another violent crook, responsible for robbing 24 banks and even four police stations.


John Dillinger was an infamous American gangster during the Great Depression era. Born on June 22, 1903, in Indianapolis, Indiana, his life of crime began early on when he robbed a local grocery store at the age of 20. He quickly escalated to more serious offences, forming a gang that engaged in robberies and other violent crimes.

However, it was his string of daring bank heists that propelled him to national infamy. Dillinger’s charisma, cunning, and audacity made him a folk hero of sorts to some during the tough economic times, earning him the nickname “Public Enemy No. 1” by the FBI.

Dillinger’s criminal exploits included brazen escapes from jails and shoot-outs with law enforcement, making him a constant thorn in the side of authorities. His most infamous escape occurred using a wooden gun he carved while incarcerated in a supposedly escape-proof prison.

But his reign of crime was short-lived. On July 22, 1934, Dillinger was gunned down by FBI agents outside the Biograph Theatre in Chicago, ending his spree of robberies and violence. His death marked the end of an era and sparked debates about the role of media in glorifying criminals.

Over the years, John Dillinger’s life has been a subject of numerous books, movies, and documentaries, immortalising him as a symbol of both the allure and destructiveness of a life of crime.

The coin also depicts a scene from the subjects ‘career’,. In this case, Dillinger is depicted carrying a machine gun, and in mid-robbery of a bank. The stylish clothing, panicking customers, and Art Deco facade, all combine to make an action-packed scene, just how you’d imagine it. You can even see Dillinger’s pencil moustache. A neat looking coin, and one that fits the series style perfectly.

The common obverse returns, as expected, and it remains one of our favourites in modern coins. It’s terrific to see such time and money put into a face so often overlooked. Each coin comes boxed with a Certificate of Authenticity, and the mintage cap remains at 500 pieces. It’s available to order now, either directly from PiK Coin, or from several dealers worldwide.

In an especially nice touch, PiK are giving collectors the opportunity to choose who will be the subject of the fourth and final coin. The five options are Arizona Barker, Baby Face Nelson, Lucky Luciano, Machine Gun Kelly, and Pretty Boy Floyd. It’s quite the who’s who of undesirables, and any of them would offer up opportunities for interesting designs. We don’t often get a chance to choose a new coin subject, so please spend a couple of minutes doing so. We’re going for Lucky…

2021 Al Capone

2022 Bonnie & Clyde

2023 You get to choose

COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS High-relief, Bullet hole, gilding
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes