A new series from the prolific Czech Mint features a favourite subject of ours, historical military hardware. Sadly, the 20th century is a veritable goldmine for weapons of destruction, containing an almost endless parade of brutal conflagrations in all areas of the globe, in which to develop them. The biggest of them all was the Second World War, that ran from 1939-1945, although it did grow from regional conflicts dating back to the Japanese invasion of China.
King of the battlefield in that period, in Europe and North Africa, at least, was the tank. It had debuted barely two decades previously, but development and utilisation in WW2 was on a much greater scale. Starting in 1939 with tanks that rarely approached 25 tons in weight, and with guns of a relatively small calibre, by 1945 tanks of almost double that weight were commonplace (one prototype hit a staggering 188 tons!), and guns had hit 88 mm, and even 128 mm.
The Czech Mint has chosen four tanks, one each from Britain, Russia, Germany, and the US, which show the different doctrinal, and technical approaches to tank warfare. Each coin is available in 1 oz silver (mintage 1,000), or 1/10 oz gold form (250), carrying the same design. This has a silhouette in profile of the tank at the top, a detailed perspective view of the tank in the centre, and a sectional tank track design forming a half-border, the last of which also features on the obverse (we have no images of that at present, but it’s the usual effigy of QEII).
The first coin has the British Cromwell tank as its subject, and the second the legendary Russian T34/76. Both are near perfect renditions, and a credit to the artist, Luboš Charvát. They’re not to the same level as the two Russian coins we looked at last year, but they are much cheaper in silver form. Unusually, each coin, both gold and silver, comes mounted to a faux catalogue card, packed with period photographs, and information on the tank (Czech language only, unfortunately). These can be collected in a custom folder,which cost €14. Both are available now, with the silver at €76, and the gold at €320. The German Tiger, and American Sherman will round out the set in November, and September respectively.