Smartminting week: Striking view of a classic radial-engined aircraft is a showcase

Anchor: Fair Winds was a very pretty coin launched last year by CIT Coin Invest at the World Money Fair. Utilising the high-relief ability inherent in smartminting, along with their relatively new Black Proof finish, it was a fine nautically-themed design (image at bottom). For 2020, we’re seeing a second issue in the same style but heading to the clouds.

Of all of CIT’s excellent WMF20 selection we saw, this one particularly appealed to me. A really beautiful strike of a great design, if you have a love of military history or aviation, you’ll find much to like here. Depicting a nose-on view of the propeller and radial engine of a mid 20th century fighter (it looks a little like a T-28 Trojan trainer, or maybe a CAC Boomerang), it is finished in a combination of proof and black proof for extra contrast. Called ‘Blue Skies & Tailwinds’ , this 2oz silver coin is issued for Cook Islands and carries the effigy of QEII on its obverse. It is supplied in a themed box with a C.O.A. and has a mintage of 999 pieces.

As this is CIT, we also get a minigold 0.5g accompaniment to the main attraction, and in this case it is one of their shaped efforts. A very neat sub-14mm gold replica of a Supermarine Spitfire, one of the best looking aircraft of all time, makes a neat pairing for the silver coin. A considerably larger 15,000 mintage, quite normal for the type, means obtaining one is a lot easier. This comes with a certificate, but the box is optional. Many dealers include it now that CIT have a small and cheap custom item designed just for the job. Both the silver and gold coins are available to order now, with shipping commencing around the end of April.


It’s a fascinating concept. Shape some wood in the correct way, connect it to an engine, spin it fast. What results is the ability to soar through the skies at hitherto unheard of speeds. Obviously, as it was designed by humans, the next thing was to mount it to something designed to destroy others of it type, but mankind progresses at phenomenal rates in times of warfare and no greater example exists than that of powered flight.

Wikipedia describes it thus; “A propeller is a device with a rotating hub and radiating blades that are set at a pitch to form a helical spiral, that when rotated performs an action which is similar to Archimedes’ screw. It transforms rotational power into linear thrust by acting upon a working fluid such as water or air. The rotational motion of the blades is converted into thrust by creating a pressure difference between the two surfaces. A given mass of working fluid is accelerated in one direction and the craft moves in the opposite direction. Propeller dynamics, like those of aircraft wings, can be modelled by Bernoulli’s principle and Newton’s third law. Most marine propellers are screw propellers with helical blades rotating around an approximately horizontal axis or propeller shaft.”

Probably the most impressive use of the concept came with the rapid development of fighter aircraft from 1914-1945. The design you can see on the coin is of a radial engined example, common with many aircraft of the period such as the iconic P47-Thunderbolt, Avro Lancaster bomber, Mitsubishi ‘Zero’ and the Focke-Wulf 190.

DENOMINATION $10 CID (Cook Islands) $1 Palau
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.9999 gold
WEIGHT 62.2 grams 0.5 grams
DIMENSIONS 38.61 mm 13.92 mm
FINISH Black Proof Silk
MODIFICATIONS Smartminted high relief Shaped
MINTAGE 999 15,000
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Optional / Yes