Want to know how a 1945 British Army Mess Tin, a WWII Spitfire and a D-Day Landing Craft have been repurposed to serve as a poignant tribute to the fallen? Keep reading to find out.
Since 2004, The Westminster Collection has felt honored to be in partnership with the Royal British Legion, supporting them year on year by raising funds which enable them to continue to provide financial, social and emotional support to members and veterans of the UK Armed Forces, their families and dependents.
In support of the Royal British Legion, each year we produce a stand-out coin to mark Remembrance Day. We call it the ‘Masterpiece’.
And now, we’re excited to announce details of this year’s ‘Masterpiece’ coin…
When you discover the story behind the metal used to create this coin, you’ll quickly realize that it’s one of the most unique and historically fascinating coins ever released. It really does live up to its name.
As this year marks the Centenary of the Royal British Legion, an exceptional Masterpiece Poppy Coin has been released, commemorating this important milestone. It represents the three military facets of RBL ─ the Army, RAF and the Navy.
This is why we commissioned a three-dimensional ‘1921 style’ Poppy to be crafted from three pieces of historic metal representing the three divisions of the military:
1. WWII Spitfire ─ to be precise, the MK356, which flew during the D-Day campaign and shot down a German Me Bf109
2. A British Army Mess Tin from 1945
3. Landing Craft LCT7074 ─ the actual craft that landed on Gold Beach during D-Day
Historic Metals ─ crafted into a Masterpiece…
We acquired the craft metal with the kind assistance of the National Museum of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth, allowing us to source the substance from the original steel plating of the landing craft LCT 7074. LCT 7074 landed on Gold Beach on D-Day, 6th June 1944, and the plating used is from the hull that was physically in contact with the actual beach on D-Day itself. Today, LCT is the only surviving Landing Craft Tank left from this momentous day.
You may notice dark spots visible within the red enamel of some Poppies ─ and these are the filings from the historic LCT 7074 Steel.
The material used derived from Army origins is a combination of ex-MK356 metal and 1945 dated ex-British Army Mess Tins, mixed to a 50:50 ratio. The MK-356, officially named the Spitfire Mk IX, took an active part in D-Day operations in June 1944. The original wing main spar was removed around the year 2008, and it is this metal that has been combined with the Mess Tins.
Mess tins were and still are used for a number of different things within the Army. Soldiers use them to heat food, eat from, boil water and to wash and shave in. They can be cleaned easily and used for storage of other items.
During the Second World War, aluminum was a scarce commodity primarily reserved for aircraft production, and whilst perhaps not as romantic as the Spitfire, these tins are significant items ─ because an army marches on its stomach!
What’s more, it has been struck from 5oz of fine 999/1000 Silver and is an impressive 65mm in diameter!
If you’re interested…
This year marks 80 years since the Battle of Britain, and to commemorate this poignant anniversary 300 Masterpiece Poppy Coin’s have been released in support of The Royal British Legion.
And considering it’s been crafted from a genuine Spitfire, which was part of the Battle of Britain memorial flight for nearly FIFTY years, means that this coin has a remarkable story to tell…
So, join Adam in our latest unboxing video where he takes a closer look at this brand new Silver 5oz Poppy coin that’s truly worthy of its Masterpiece title.
If you’re interested
Each year Remembrance Sunday provides an opportunity for the nation to reflect on those brave men and women who gave their lives fighting for our freedom. But this year will be especially poignant. As we also commemorate the 80th Anniversary of one of the truly remarkable chapters in our nation’s history – the Battle of Britain.
Introducing the official 2020 Remembrance Masterpiece Silver 5oz Poppy Coin
There is one coin that avid collectors await the release of – the “Masterpiece Poppy Coin”. The name says it all. Cutting edge minting techniques and materials, representing the pinnacle of craftsmanship. But let me explain what makes this year’s Masterpiece Poppy so special…
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Take a look at the images and you’ll see that a single stylised Royal British Legion poppy, proudly sits on top of this coin. Multiple poppies have then been engraved into the surface of the coin, resulting in an exceptional 3 dimensional effect.
But the incredibly rare facet of this year’s poppy coin is that it’s been crafted from a genuine piece of Spitfire.
Expertly crafted from a Spitfire with a remarkable story to tell
Incredibly, this year, the silver poppy that adorns the reverse of each of these coins has been made from a piece of Spitfire PM631 – ensuring each coin is uniquely different and features a piece of tangible aerial history.
Originally built in late 1945, the Spitfire PM631 saw service with the Battle of Britain memorial flight for nearly FIFTY years between 1957 and 2006. You may also remember that it had a starring role in a famous WWII Movie – Battle of Britain, made in 1969.
Once the Spitfire piece has been melted down and poured into a shaped mould, it is cooled and cleaned to create the high-relief poppy. After this, it is laser engraved with the official Spitfire plane from which the metal was taken – PM631. Check out the images below to see the process the Spitfire metal goes through to come a Masterpiece poppy…
But even then, it is important to remember, this is NOT a cast piece. The surface of the coin has actually been struck in sterling silver and has then expertly plated in 24ct gold. The finish is a stunning matte appearance achieved using a technique called ‘Sandblasting’. This means it has all of the detail that you expect from a commemorative coin but allows you to touch the coin and hold a genuine, iconic piece of history in the palm of your hand.
As I am sure you can appreciate, given all of the individual elements that have to be carefully curated for each individual coin, the edition limit as a consequence is incredibly low. In fact, only 300 of these coins have been produced, with number one fittingly being donated to The Royal British Legion themselves. Which means only 299 coins remain for collectors.
We do not expect these coins to be around for long. And remember, for each coin sold a donation will go straight to The Royal British Legion in support of all their work.
Available now – with a donation to The Royal British Legion
The 2020 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 £59.50 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 and through the sales of commemorative Remembrance and Poppy-themed coins, collectors have helped raise an incredible £1.1 Million for The Royal British Legion!
This is an achievement that everyone is immensely proud of, and we are hugely thankful to collectors for helping raise such an amazing amount.
If you’d like to find out more about the fantastic work that The Royal British Legion do and why we are so proud of this milestone £1.1 Million that has been raised for the charity, then click here to read more…