One of our favourite national mints, the Monnaie de Paris has a knack of producing some exceptional series of coins. Series like From Clovis to Republic and its Women of France follow-up, have struck a chord here with their combination of beautiful design, high-quality, and interesting subjects. Aircraft aren’t a rare subject on modern coins – the Royal Mint has an RAF-themed series ongoing this year, for example, but there’s always room for something stylish.
The series is called Aviation and History and started last year with a pair of issues (there will be two coins per year) featuring the giant Airbus A380 airliner, and the flight of the Spirit of St. Louis by Charles Lindburgh. This year has already seen a fine-looking Dakota coin that depicts that aircrafts pivotal role in the famed Berlin Airlift, and now the second has been revealed, and it’s another transport aircraft.
The Transall C-160 is the result of a joint venture between France and Germany, through the companies MBB, Aerospatiale and VFW-Fokker. A twin-engined tactical transport, it first flew in 1963 and is only now being replaced by the latest Airbus A400M Atlas. Powered by two Rolls-Royce Tyne turboprop engines, the Transall has given sterling service over the last half century. Able to land on airstrips as short as 400m, a single Transall could airdrop 88 paratroopers and variants have been used for aerial refueling, electronic intelligence gathering, and communications.
On the surface, not an aircraft that would make a particularly stylish coin, the MdP has managed to do it anyway. The nose-on look at the Transall disgorging its paratrooper passenger cargo is quite superb. The date and title are inscribed here. The obverse is common to the range and depicts a pair of pilots against a backdrop of aircraft silhouettes – twelve in total and no doubt one for each coin subject. Three sizes are available for this issue, with the larger five-ounce gold coin that came with the Dakota coin not putting in an appearance. That leaves the 22.2 gram and 163.8 gram silver coins, and the 7.78 gram (¼oz) gold as the three on offer, with prices of €53, €435 and €485 respectively. They are all available to buy now from the Monnaie de Paris estore, or from dealers worldwide.