Last Saturday I had the opportunity to see the RAF’s most famous plane up close and personal. That’s because on the 24th March I drove up to the historic Duxford Aerodrome to have 800 of the brand new Spitfire £2 coins flown in an original WWII Spitfire.
I arrived at 9am but unfortunately the chance of flying was in doubt because of the poor visibility caused by low lying clouds. The rest of the morning was spent nervously looking at the sky waiting for enough visibility for the pilot to safely take the 74 year old warbird into the air.
Our pilot for the day was Flight Lieutenant Anthony Parkinson MBE, known as Parky. The delay caused by the weather gave me the opportunity to talk with Parky about his time in the RAF and how the Spitfire compares to the modern jets he has flown during his time with the RAF. You can see Parky discussing his career and the Spitfire in the video below.
The wait for take-off also gave me the opportunity to sit in the cockpit of the famous fighter plane and experience some of what it would have been like for the young pilots who sat in the same cockpit to defend Britain in the skies over 70 years ago.
Finally at 2.00pm the cloud cleared enough for a small pocket of visibility to take the Spitfire into the air. We quickly pushed the Spitfire out of the hanger and Parky secured the 800 Spitfire £2 coins into the wing bays which would have once held the plane’s armaments.
At 2.20 Parky prepared the plane for take-off. Standing a few yards from the plane whilst it’s famous Rolls Royce engine fired up was brilliant, and the Spitfire TD314 drew in a crowd nearby while it taxied along the runway.
Parky swiftly took the famous plane into the sky and gave me and the rest of the crowd a fly by. Despite the cloud cover it was still fantastic to see the Spitfire race through the sky at the hands of a former Red Arrows display pilot.
The brand new Spitfire £2 coin is a fantastic commemoration of the famous plane and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to mark the 100th anniversary of the RAF with such a fitting tribute.
Thank you to Ben Perkins, Flight Lieutenant Anthony Parkinson MBE and the rest of the team at Aerolegends for helping to take the Spitfire £2 coins to the sky and for giving me the opportunity to see this famous warbird in the flesh.
If you’re interested
All 800 coins have now been sold. However, we will soon be flying the 4 times as limited ‘signed edition’ Silver Proof £2. Click here to pre-reserve yours now >>
It is hard to imagine a scandal taking place today where the political leaders of our country are arrested for causing the financial markets to crash. But that is exactly what happened when the ‘South Sea Bubble’ burst.
The ‘South Sea Bubble’ was a political and financial scandal that led to the arrests of leading members of Parliament and the near collapse of the stock market. From this turmoil one of the 18th Century’s most interesting coins was produced. Let me tell you how it happened…
The South Sea Bubble
The South Sea Company at the heart of the scandal was a trading company with a monopoly on trade in South America. The company was heavily linked with the government of the day, and a number of MPs owned large shares in the company.
Because of their shares in the company, members of the government began using phoney insider information to convince investors of the huge potential in South American trade, and therefore the profitability of the South Sea Company.
However, once investors realised that there was insider trading taking place, the company’s share price collapsed causing a catastrophic loss of money and property.
Frantic bankers and members of the gentry who had lost their life savings stormed Parliament and the Riot Act was read to restore order. An enquiry found that more than 500 members of Parliament had been involved in the crash and the Chancellor of the Exchequer was imprisoned.
The South Sea Company Shilling
On the brink of collapse, the South Sea Company luckily stumbled across a horde of silver in Indonesia and sold the precious metal to The Royal Mint.
The silver was minted into coins in 1723 with distinctive ‘SS’ and ‘C’ notations on the reverse. The proceeds from this silver helped enable the South Sea Company to recover from the scandal and ultimately continue operating for another century.
The shillings struck with this silver are now almost 300 years old and are a relic of a financial and political disaster which shook the whole country.
If you’re interested…
Historic silver issues are extremely difficult to source, however we have a small stock of just 50 South Sea Shillings available for collectors. Click here to find out more >>
Last year an important milestone was reached; over £500,000 was raised, through sales of Poppy coins, for The Royal British Legion. To mark this incredible milestone, 450 very special Masterpiece Poppy Coins were released.
This year, collectors of the annual poppy coins, have helped raise that total to an incredible £700,000 for The Royal British Legion to provide lifelong support for the Armed Forces community – serving men and women, veterans, and their families.
To mark this new milestone, and the start of The Royal British Legion’s 2017 Poppy Appeal, a 2017 Masterpiece Poppy has been authorised which is even more limited than last year’s issue.
Just 250 to be issued
With a strict edition limit of just 250 pieces this makes the 2017 Masterpiece Coin almost twice as limited as the 2016 Masterpiece issue.
And it is called a masterpiece for a reason. Using cutting edge minting techniques and specialist craftsmanship, the instantly recognisable red Poppy veritably bursts to life from the face of the coin.
As well as the stunning enamel, the 2017 Masterpiece Poppy Coin also has an incredible ultra-high relief, standing over 1.6mm tall. This type of relief can usually only be achieved through relatively unsophisticated casting methods. But this is NOT a cast piece.
It is a fully struck proof coin – and benefits from all the detail, mirroring and frosting that you expect from a commemorative proof coin.
Each coin starts life as a ‘blank’ – a highly polished solid silver disc. Next, the design is struck onto the coin up to 5 times using massive pressure and incredible skill. In fact, the coin is so difficult to produce many dies were broken in the process, but the resulting effect is definitely worth it.
Finally, the coloured enamel is applied to give the coin its famous red Poppy – a perfect fit for a coin officially issued in support of The Royal British Legion.
Each coin is heated to a precise temperature while the enamel colour is prepared. The enamel is applied expertly by hand and heated in between each application to ensure a smooth finish. The end result is astonishing and defines the essence of the Masterpiece.
Available now – with a donation to the Legion…
The 2017 Masterpiece 5oz Silver Proof Poppy Coin is available to own right now from The Westminster Collection, although they are expected to sell out quickly as they are almost twice as limited as last year’s issue.
To further support the work of The Royal British Legion, The Westminster Collection have organised for a donation of £49.50 from the sale of each coin to go directly to the charity, helping them to continue to provide financial, social and emotional support to all who have served and are currently serving in the British Armed Forces and their families.
If you’re interested…
A donation of £49.80 from the sale of each coin will go directly to The Royal British Legion.