It isn’t unreasonable to say that the Royal Air Force has played a role so pivotal to world history that it sits in a rarified group of such military units. That’s quite an achievement given it’s only 100 years old. The defence of British skies in 1940 kept the Empire in the war and the knock-on effects of that eventually led to the downfall of Hitler just five years later. Had they failed and had Britain fallen, it’s likely Russia would have been unable to withstand the onslaught of Operation Barbarossa.
As the worlds first independent air force, the Royal Air Force emerged from a force that was established and grew through the First World War – the Royal Flying Corp. Tasked with the defence of Britain and her territories, and with the implementation of British policy, the RAF has been very successful in its role. A century on, it remains one of the worlds premier airforces, being both highly active and technologically cutting edge.
There have been some iconic aircraft employed in its service. From the excellent SE5 that made up the tip of the spear in its infancy, to the Typhoon that bears the brunt of requirements today, there have been some true greats in the RAF. The Royal Mint have chosen four of them to make up its new range, as well as an RAF emblem design. First off the runway is a fighter that needs no introduction anywhere – the Supermarine Spitfire. Coming in May will be the hugely impressive Vulcan bomber. August will see the workhorse Sea King helicopter showcased and September will see the future star of the new Queen Elizabeth class carriers in the spotlight – the F35 Lightning II.
As a £2 range, the coins have that bimetallic look sported by the circulating currency version. The silver coins have an outer border that is gilded. The gold version is struck in two types of gold with the outer ring done in copper-rich red gold, although both are 22kt (0.9167) fineness. At half-ounce in weight, the gold sits between the two silver variants that come in 12.00 gram and double-thickness piedfort 24.00 gram sizes.
The designs look good and will have a lot of appeal to the huge numbers of military themed coin collectors out there. Prices are £67.50 each for the standard silver coin with the piedfort coming in at £110.00. The gold is a hefty £840.00. Base metal variants are also available in card mounts for £10.00 each. Available to buy from the Royal Mint direct, or from sponsors like Minted-UK.