100 years ago this year, at 11 o’clock on 11th of November, the guns of war finally fell silent. The First World War was over.
While many fathers, sons, uncles and brothers came home, millions lay where they fell, on the Battlefields of Europe. Those who were lucky enough to be identified were placed in makeshift graves, often only identified by a rifle placed in the earth with his steel helmet placed on top as a final memorial.
To commemorate the Armistice Centenary, The Royal Canadian Mint have issued a remarkable new coin that honours each and every fallen soldier.
Struck in the shape of a WWI Brodie Helmet, it is more deeply curved surface than any other concave or convex-shaped coin I’ve seen before. The design is so unique in fact, that the Mint have kept the minting technique a closely guarded secret.
Although the original helmet would have been cast from Steel, this coin has been struck in the very finest .9999 or “four nines” silver, this is the purest grade of silver available. The Royal Canadian Mint is one of the very few Mints in the world with enough minting expertise able to strike coins with this incredible high relief finish. It’s an exceptional feat of craftsmanship.
What’s more the attention to detail is outstanding, each coin has been given a final antique finish and there are even engraved cracks and markings which complete the helmet’s battle-worn appearance. A reminder of the hardships endured by those who fought.
The amount of 2018 Silver ‘Helmet-Shaped’ coins available is very low. A worldwide edition limit of just 6,500 has been set by the Mint, but of course many of these won’t even make it out of Canada. Without any doubt, this has to be one of the most collectable issues ever struck.
The First World War will always be known as one of Man Kind’s darkest hours but poignant issues like this one allow us to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
If you’re interested…
We have just 500 WWI Lest We Forget Silver ‘Helmet-Shaped’ coins available for UK collectors, but to get one you’ll have to act quickly.
This year marks one hundred years since the First World War came to an end, making the 2018 Poppy coin designs even more special.
The Masterpiece Poppy Coin
Issued in support of The Royal British Legion, the brand new Masterpiece Poppy coin very poignantly and quite literally stands out as it uses an incredible 3 dimensional effect.
It’s called a Masterpiece for a reason. Using cutting edge minting techniques and specialist craftsmanship, a stylised Royal British Legion poppy, proudly sits on top of your coin, resulting in an exceptional 9mm relief.
What’s more, there’s another aspect that makes this year’s Masterpiece Poppy so special.
British Artillery Shell
You see, the Golden coloured poppy that adorns your coin has been made from inert brass British artillery shell fuses recovered from the First World War battlefield of the Somme and areas of France and Belgium. Some were recovered by Chris Bennett of TMB Art Metal, but most were trawled in by farmers from ploughed fields.
The shells are then brought back to the UK, where they are melted down and poured into a mould. It is then cooled and cleaned to created the high-relief poppy.
Straight from the frontline
And that’s not all, each poppy has a central disc of red enamel which has been applied by hand and, to add even more poignancy, this enamel is mixed with earth recovered from several locations along the British Front Line of the Somme and Passchendaele areas in Belgium.
Therefore, not only are the poppies made of actual WW1 metal, but they also possess the very essence of the battlefield which the brave soldiers fought and died upon, and that many still lie at peace beneath.
100 Poppies, 100 years
Significantly, 99 poppies have been engraved into the surface of the coin, making 100 poppies in total to reflect the centenary anniversary.
The finish on this year’s Masterpiece design is a stunning antique effect. It means that, should you wish, you can actually touch the coin and the brass poppy itself. A chance to hold a genuine piece of history in your hands.
Watch the below video to see the incredible detail that has gone into this years stunning release.
Presentation that befits your masterpiece
And, as befits such a masterpiece, its presentation matches the coin’s impressiveness.
The luxurious wooden display case allows you to display your Masterpiece Poppy Coin to the best advantage, with its glass lid protecting the coin. Inside the box is space for the individually hand-numbered Certificate of Authenticity, as well as the accompanying booklet that tells the story of the Masterpiece Poppy Coin from concept to final coin.
Available now – with a donation to The Royal British Legion
The 2018 Masterpiece 5oz Silver Proof Poppy Coin is available to own right now from The Westminster Collection, although they are expected to sell out quickly.
To further support the work of The Royal British Legion, a donation of £55 from the sale of each coin will go directly to the charity, helping them to continue to provide financial, social and life-long support to the Armed Forces community.
What’s more, since our partnership began we are on target to raise an incredible £1,000,000 in support of The Royal British Legion.
If you’re interested…
£55.00 from the sale of this product will be paid to The Royal British Legion Trading Limited, which gives its taxable profits to The Royal British Legion (charity no. 219279) or Poppyscotland (Scottish charity SC014096). Your donation will be given to either charity based on where the item was purchased.
2018 marks 100 years since the day the Allies of World War I and Germany signed an armistice for the cessation of all hostilities on the Western Front. This took effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.
For this special centenary year we have worked closely with The Royal British Legion, including five veterans from Bravo 22 Company, as well as numismatic artist Michael Guilfoyle, to design a poignant Armistice Commemorative Medal for the Centenary.
Bravo 22 Company
Bravo 22 Company, which is made possible by The Royal British Legion and The Drive Project, has been successfully running theatre and art projects across the UK since 2011.
The projects are open to all members of the Armed Forces Community, including serving personnel, veterans and their family members and are designed to improve self-esteem, confidence and motivation, as well as help individuals along their paths to recovery.
The design process
The design process began with a creative workshop led by numismatic artist Michael Guilfoyle, at the Legion’s Pop In centre in Bristol. Five alumni from Bravo 22 Company were invited to join the workshop, all of whom have served in the Armed Forces. The participants were encouraged to draw on their experiences in the military to create a fitting tribute for the Armistice 100 year centenary anniversary.
Mike started the session with an introduction to medal design and explained the process from the initial ideas stage through to final production. Coins and medals generally offer a relatively small canvas to the artist, so Mike explained the importance of using a simple composition to create a strong and impactful design.
To generate some key themes, Mike had everyone write down words they associated with the First World War and Armistice. These were then used to inspire the visual design stage, where everyone began to sketch ideas.
The rest of the workshop was spent developing the rough sketches into more refined ideas.
The finished design
Taking inspiration from the original designs of the veterans, Mike was able to create the striking and poignant designs that feature on the medal.
The Royal British Legion 2018 Armistice Medal is available to own today. Due to its significance, the medal has been issued in partnership with The Royal British Legion and Bravo 22 Company. If you choose to own one, we will ensure a donation is made to them on your behalf.