The Czech Mint rounds out the second of three sets of four Second World War tank coins with the fearsome Panther

In 2022, the Czech Mint debuted a new four-coin series featuring one of my favourite thing – tanks. This isn’t a popular subject in numismatic circles, with military hardware seemingly less popular than ever, hardly surprising given what’s been going on around the world lately. However, the history of the first half of the 20th century has been a rich source of inspiration for coin issues, and the rise of armoured vehicles a key influence on the direction of warfare in the period.

The set chose a tank from the four major combatants in World War II to be highlighted. We had the Tiger from Germany, the Cromwell from Britain, the Sherman from the US, and the T34 from the Soviet Union. The coins, designed by Luboš Charvát, were spot-on and relatively simple. They depicted a front three-quarter view of the whole tank, with a side silhouette at the top, and a tank track section acting as a border to the bottom. The tanks name was also inscribed here. The common obverse, with its track patterns, was also very neat.

What we missed last year, was that set was just the first of three annual sets, and the Czech Mint has just wrapped up the second of them. The only thing that has changed, are the subjects, with the German Panther, the American M3 Stuart, the Soviet KV-1, and the British Churchill, occupying the spotlight for 2023. While the artist has changed (to Petr Patka, DiS.), the style remains instantly recognisable, and we remain big fans of them. The mints own descriptions are reproduced below.

Each design is available in 1 oz silver (mintage 1,000), or 1/10 oz gold form (250), and both variants come encapsulated, and affixed to a faux catalogue card, packed with period photographs, and information on the tank (Czech language only). These can be collected in a custom folder, which cost €14. Both are available now, with the silver at €87 (a rise of €11 on 2022), and the gold at €320 (up €13). Also available is a tinned set of the four coins in half-ounce gold form. It looks a terrific item, but it’s €5231. Next year will see the PzKpfw IV (August), the M26 Pershing (February), the IS-2 (November), and the Mark VI Crusader (October).



The situation on the Eastern Front developed in favour of the Soviets, who deployed the T-34 machine at the end of 1941. The Nazi General Staff’s response to the serious threat was the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther. Production of the medium tank was given top priority, and the first units left the factory in 1943. At first glance, the German design took inspiration from the Soviet design – the Panther was equipped with sloped armour, a 75/76mm gun, and wide tracks, giving it considerable protection, effective firepower and good mobility.

Testing revealed a number of shortcomings, but there was no time to fix them, as Adolf Hitler decided they be deployed at the Battle of Kursk. The largest tank engagement in history ended in fiasco for the Panther due to frequent failures. Few machines travelled more than a few miles without mechanical problems – the suspension was unreliable, and the engine was to catch fire quite often. The Panther’s successful use was of little tactical significance and, moreover, prematurely revealed the direction of German development, allowing the Soviets to take the necessary countermeasures in time. Despite all this, the continuously improved Panther quickly became the best German tank of World War II. It excelled on the Western Front – in Normandy and the Ardennes it became the terror of Shermans, Cromwells and Churchills, which it dispatched even at a distance of one kilometre. But it could not avert the defeat of the Third Reich. Its numbers were insufficient and its consumption of scarce fuel too high…

2023 M3 STUART


The M3 Stuart was the first American-made tank to fight in World War II. Its mass production began in March 1941, and its rugged design reflected the wartime experience of the Europeans in 1939 and 1940. The Stuart had its baptism of fire in North Africa, where the British deployed it against Erwin Rommel’s feared troops. After the Americans themselves became actively involved in the war, the light tank was particularly well suited to the Pacific, where its small size was a significant advantage when fighting in difficult jungle terrain.

The Stuart was not well suited for tank battles – instead, it was a favourite with reconnaissance units. Although tankers often complained about the lack of a powerful gun, high silhouette and sharp edges, they appreciated the considerable level of protection, reliability, speed and agility the Stuart provided. With 13,859 units produced, which also made their way to China, the USSR and Yugoslavia, the M3 tank became the most widely used light armoured vehicle of World War II. Although it was continually upgraded, it was declared obsolete in 1943. Alongside a successor designated the M5, which was the pinnacle of the American light tank development line, it began to be replaced by the M4 Sherman multipurpose medium tank.

2023 KV-1


The Nazis got an unpleasant surprise in the form of a heavy tank with the KV-1 designation after the Third Reich attacked the Soviet Union in 1941. In the early months of the war, this bulletproof colossus had no rival on the battlefield. In some cases, a Soviet armoured vehicle destroyed several enemy tanks, was hit many times, and yet remained combat capable. To destroy it, it was necessary to call in dive bombers or use anti-aircraft guns (the feared 88mm Flak). In the hands of experienced tankers, the KV-1 tank could block the movement of entire enemy formations, but the training of Soviet crews was inadequate, which neutralised its advantages.

Moreover, as ever more powerful weapons entered the battlefield, the Soviet giants quickly lost their invulnerability. Their armour was therefore gradually strengthened, but without a corresponding increase in engine power, which worsened their already poor handling characteristics. The largest percentage of losses was due to the mechanical unreliability of the overloaded tank – the gearbox in particular was malfunctioning. This experience greatly influenced the future design of Soviet machines, which became smaller and lighter than their Western counterparts, something which remains the case to this day.



The first combat appearance of the Churchill tank was the disastrous raid on Dieppe in 1942, when the entire tank battalion was massacred. It was not surprising – the slow British armoured vehicle was not designed for a poorly planned amphibious operation at all. It was a relic of the experience of the First World War – it was designed as an infantry tank to provide close support to infantrymen on a battlefield littered with trenches and artillery shell craters. Bitter experience prompted the British command to make numerous upgrades, and in the campaigns in Africa and Italy, such a heavily armoured machine performed much better. In difficult terrain, where it proved sufficiently mobile, it was a significant reinforcement.

The opportunity to shine was then given during the Normandy landings. During the invasion, various engineered variants of the tank were used. Some were used to build bridges, others to lay reinforcing mats across soft stretches of beaches, over which other vehicles could drive. The dreaded variants equipped with a flamethrower or a mortar, which were used to destroy fortified positions, proved their worth in combat. Extensive modifications during the war eventually turned the unfashionable tank into a useful fighting machine.


GOLD SET (4 x 1/2 oz)

$1 NZD (Niue) 31.1 grams of 0.999 silver 37.0 mm Proof 1,000
$25 NZD (Niue) 15.55 grams of 0.9999 gold (x4) 28.0 mm Proof 99 sets
$5 NZD (Niue) 3.11 grams of 0.9999 gold 16.0 mm Proof 250