This year marks the centenary of the Royal Air Force, arguably the most important military anniversary to be celebrated in British history. In fact, there are numerous official events and ceremonies planned up and down the country to mark the occasion – including a service at Westminster Abbey with an RAF parade and flypast!
It has been a glorious 100 years, full of extreme courage, bravery and self-sacrifice by the men and women who served and continue to serve.
And, to mark this historic occasion, a brand new Official RAF Centenary Five Pound Proof Coin has just been issued on behalf of the Bailiwick of Jersey. In my opinion, it is one of the most striking military coins ever issued and is the perfect tribute to ensure the remarkable feats of technology and courage of our RAF are never forgotten.
So what’s the story behind the design?
For such an important anniversary, we knew the design had to be particularly special and we felt there was no better person for the job than ex-Royal Mint designer, Mike Guilfoyle.
Mike has 30 years of experience designing coins that have circulated around the world and has produced some of the most stunning British Isles coins ever minted. We were lucky enough to see the design process through with him.
From the start it was clear we wanted to include the most renowned planes from the RAF’s history and Mike came up with multiple options for us.
However, it was the idea to show the incredible changes in technology over the last 100 years that really captured our imagination. The coin features three of the most important aircraft from the last century; the Sopwith Camel, the Supermarine Spitfire and the Lockheed Lightning II which brings us right up to the present day and looks towards the future of our RAF.
Highly detailed design – intricate striking
Through careful research and communicating closely with the MOD, Mike has been able to render each plane in exquisite detail.
But this high level of detail and care didn’t just stop at design level. You can clearly see it’s been replicated right through to the striking of Mike’s design on the coins – what really took me aback is that none of the detail has been lost – that’s because the use of Modern Minting techniques used to produce the coins has resulted in one of the most intricately struck coins I’ve ever seen.
What makes it even better is that each plane has been enhanced with 24-Carat Gold Ink to really show off the detail and make it stand out against the Proof background.
The most iconic aircraft of the RAF
Here’s a bit more about why these three special planes have been chosen to feature on the coin:
The Sopwith Camel
The Sopwith Camel has become one of the most iconic fighter aircraft of the First World War.
In fact, J. M. Bruce tells us that “The total number of enemy aircraft shot down by Camels was 1,294, a greater number than were defeated by any other single type of aeroplane of the 1914-18 war”
With that astonishing achievement this aircraft continued to serve until 1923 – an incredible lifespan for a plane in this era. 
Considering that the Sopwith Camel was serving from the very beginning of the RAF’s official formation and it was such an important part of the First World War, its place in RAF history is well-secured and was a clear choice to be featured on this stunning coin.
The Supermarine Spitfire
The Spitfire has to be one of the most famous British fighter aircraft in history and it has become the most iconic aircraft of the Second World War.
In fact, this aircraft has become synonymous with one battle in particular; the Battle of Britain. Alongside the Hawker Hurricane, this aircraft helped to defeat the German air attacks during the Battle of Britain and was seen as such a superior aircraft for it’s time that The RAF Museum states “at the height of the Battle of Britain…a German ace…in a moment of anger and frustration, turned to his Commander in Chief and demanded a squadron of Spitfires!” 
With that in mind, and considering the Spitfire still astonishes the crowds at air shows today, featuring this plane was another unanimous decision.
The Lockheed Lightning II
Now, this multi-role supersonic stealth aircraft is an incredible example of just how far technology has come and is definitely a plane which will play a key part in the RAF’s future.
In fact, 2018 sees the 617Squadron, becoming the first RAF Squadron equipped with the Lightning II aircraft, of which the UK has so far taken delivery of 9. 
To me, these three incredible aircraft represent an ever-evolving RAF that is consistently at the forefront of technology, making this coin a fitting tribute to the courageous work of the RAF, the men and women who have served over the last 100 years and those who will continue to serve in the future.
If you are interested…
You can be one of a limited number of collectors to own the Official RAF Centenary Five Pound Proof Coin.
The three iconic aircraft have been highlighted in 24-carat gold ink and this stunning coin has been struck to the highest Proof standard you can find on a collectable coin.
Each year, The Royal Mint marks important British anniversaries, events or accomplishments on our coins and today we are delighted to reveal the UK’s new coin designs for 2018.
Scroll down to take a first look – I can assure you that you will not be disappointed!
Representation of the People Act 50p
This 50p celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, which allowed all men over the age of 21 and women over the age of 30 the right to vote. Arguably one of the most significant Acts in modern British history, it laid the foundation for equality and democratic freedom that the UK has today. The stunning design features a detailed image of five figures in glorious celebration.
First World War Armistice £2
2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the First World War Armistice, concluding four years of bloody and gruelling combat, the like of which had never been seen before. ‘On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month’ the guns fell silent on the Western Front, a victory for the Allies but at a cost of over nine million soldiers’ lives. The words ‘the truth untold the pity of war’ are engraved on the reverse of this coin.
Royal Air Force Centenary £2
This coin marks the 100th anniversary of the formation of the RAF. It is the oldest independent air force in the world. Involved in critical missions throughout every decade and confrontation, the RAF have protected Britain’s skies since its inception and were integral to the victories in WWI and WWII. The iconic design on this £2 coin shows the iconic RAF Badge.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein £2
This £2 coin pays tribute to Mary Shelley, marking the 200th anniversary of the publication of her most famous gothic novel ‘Frankenstein’. There’s no other iconic character in Horror than that of Frankenstein’s monster! It can be regarded as the first sci-fi novel ever written. The engraving, ‘The Modern Prometheus’ on this £2 coin, is a reference to the classical myth for which this story draws parallels with.
The 5th Birthday of HRH Prince George £5
This coin celebrates the 5th birthday of His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. Born on the 22nd July 2013, Prince George is the first born to their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and third in line to the throne. Over the past five years, from his birthdays to his first day of School, we have seen him grow into a charismatic young prince, winning a space in all the nation’s hearts. This beautiful traditional design features St George atop his stallion slaying the fire breathing Dragon.
All of these designs are stunning and there’s no doubt that these coins will only become more desirable in the years to come. I’m sure you already have your favourites, let us know in the comments!
If you’re interested…
You can secure the brand new 2018 coins in the limited edition DateStamp™ UK Specimen Year Set. Each of the new coins have been struck to Brilliant Uncirculated quality and encapsulated alongside a 1st Class Stamp which has been officially postmarked by Royal Mail with their first day of issue – 1st January 2018.
The new 2018 Proof Sovereign has been released today, but you may only have days to own one. Let me tell you why…
We’re in the golden age of the Proof Sovereign. In 2017, the UK Proof Sovereign, issued to mark 200 years of the Sovereign, sold out at The Royal Mint in just 4 weeks, and in July, this year, the entire mintage of Piedfort Sovereigns sold out on its FIRST DAY of issue.
First ever one-year-only mintmark
Next year Her Majesty the Queen will celebrate the 65th anniversary of her coronation, becoming the first British monarch ever to do so. So to mark the anniversary, the Proof Sovereign features a special one-year-only mintmark for the very first time.
One-year-only mintmarks are only applied to coins for the most significant events and anniversaries and this is certainly an important one. In fact, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see a Royal anniversary as significant as this in our lifetimes.
22 Carat Gold Pedigree
The 2018 Sovereign is minted from 22 Carat Gold and it is this historical pedigree that makes the coin so admired and sought-after around the world.
It is also one of the finest examples of British craftsmanship. The exceptional ‘proof’ finish is the result of the coin being struck up to 4 times using specially polished dies.
The time and effort required to produce the frosted relief and mirrored background of the coin is why a proof finish is considered the pinnacle of the mint-masters art – and the most sought-after by collectors.
And with an edition limit of just 10,500 worldwide – the same edition limit as last year’s sell-out Proof Sovereign – the 2018 Gold Proof Sovereign has all the elements to be the most collectable gold coin of the year.
If you’re interested…
You can secure the 2018 Gold Proof Sovereign now, but you’ll have to act quickly.