The Battle of the Atlantic was a pivotal campaign during the Second World War, spanning from 1939 to 1945. It was the longest-lasting battle of the entire conflict, and 2023 marks the 80th anniversary of a crucial turning point known as ‘Black May.’ During this period, 25 percent of the German U-boat fleet was destroyed, signalling a significant shift in the tide of the war. To honour this historic event, a special three-coin Brilliant Uncirculated £2 set has been released.
Use the interactive image below to explore this brand new set and witness a Battle in the Atlantic.
Three Unique Designs
Renowned coin artist David Lawrence has crafted three distinct designs for this special set, each depicting a crucial moment from the Battle of the Atlantic. These designs not only serve as a testament to the bravery and sacrifices made by those who participated but also as an educational tool, reminding us of the importance of this historical event. Each coin tells a story.
Merchant ships are being targeted by a U-boat. You can see the periscope viewfinder as part of the design. By May 1945, in the Atlantic alone, over 2,200 British and Allied merchant ships had been sunk, totalling well over 13 million tons, as well as 100 Allied naval vessels and 600 RAF Coastal Command aircraft. Of these ships, no less than 2003 had been sunk by U-boats.
This design shows a map of the shipping lane main routes. There are silhouettes of the ships and U-boats; it also shows the key action zones during the ongoing battle.
The third coin depicts a scene of destruction where a U-boat has succeeded. A lifeboat is picking up survivors from the wreck as the burning ship sinks in the background.
The coins in this set have been struck to a superior Brilliant Uncirculated quality. This means they are in pristine condition, free from the wear and tear found on circulating coins.
To preserve the quality of these commemorative coins for generations to come, they are presented in a stunning presentation pack. This protective housing not only adds to their visual appeal but also safeguards them from potential damage.
By owning this set, you not only possess a piece of history but also contribute to preserving the memory of those who fought valiantly during this critical campaign of World War II. Don’t miss the opportunity to reserve yours today and honour the heroes of the Battle of the Atlantic.
On 14th June, Ben, our Concept Development Manager, had the opportunity to see the famous RAF Avro Lancaster up close and personal.
Here’s what Ben has to say about his experience retracing the steps of the legendary Dambusters and having the brand new £5 coins carried on board an original WWII Lancaster Bomber…
To mark the 80th anniversary of Operation Chastise – the legendary Dambusters Raid, I wanted to capture some of that history and somehow apply it to some of the superb coins issued for the anniversary.
Following is my story of how our one day in Lincolnshire panned out. A story that makes each of these coins – in my opinion – uniquely collectable. Here’s how it went…
I have come to rural Lincolnshire to a private museum and airstrip at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre in East Kirkby, to take some of the Dambusters 80th Anniversary Coins on a ride of a lifetime.
But before that happened, it was an overnighter in a remarkable hotel, few know about. This part of the English countryside is awash with airfields, aircraft museums and RAF bases.
It was central to RAF and Bomber Command’s missions and in 1944 the skies would have been buzzing with Spitfires, Hurricanes and of course, Lancaster Bombers. And that’s why the hotel I stayed in has some fascinating Dambusters links.
The Petwood Hotel was where Wing Commander Guy Gibson and the hand picked 617 Squadron had billeted during the war.
The squadron bar is now a museum shrine to the history of the squadron featuring artwork, photos and cabinets full of authentic 617 memorabilia. This is the exact room where Guy Gibson would have had a pint with his colleagues, as they discussed their missions past and present.
There is even a genuine prototype Bouncing Bomb in the garden…
It’s a remarkable feeling to know you’re sat at the very bar they did.
After an evening at the bar, it was up bright and early to head to the Lancaster Aviation Heritage Centre. And it was here as I drove through the gates, I got my first glimpse of ‘Just Jane’, one of only FOUR operational Lancaster bombers in the entire world.
Technically known as Avro Lancaster B. VII NX611, she was one of 150 Lancasters built in early 1945 for operations in the Far East.
She’s had a varied history. In the 1970s she stood as the Gate Guardian at RAF Scampton (home of Vulcan bombers and more recently, The Red Arrows) before being sold privately and moved to her current home in 1987. She is now a fantastic piece of aviation history, and the ongoing restoration program means hopefully soon we will see her take to the skies once more.
It was a beautiful sunny day, as I arrived at the airfield early in the morning to get the coins onboard. She was still in her hangar alongside the De Havilland Mosquito and a B25 Mitchell.
Before the Lanc was fired up – the main part of our mission started. We were given permission to board and get the coins securely stashed. This in itself was a privilege, reserved usually for visitors who book the tour and the ride, something that gets booked up a year in advance.
Despite its size, there is not a lot of room inside a Lancaster for boxes of coins!
There’s barely room for people, and only once you are inside do you contemplate how it must have felt when heading on a bombing mission. It’s dark, cramped, and once you are in position, there’s no moving. With the engines running I imagine it is exceptionally loud.
The coins were loaded in with help from the crew who work at the LAHC, and I had a short amount of time to photograph them inside the plane before she was moved outside and prepared for the day’s events.
Then the magic happened.
As the four huge Merlin engines spluttered into life, a deafening roar bellowed across the tarmac, debris flew across the airfield as the wind seemed to pick up as we stood in awe. Lancaster Bomber NX611 made her way along the tarmac and onto the grass airstrip, where the engines kicked up a few notches.
It really is a sight to behold. And there we had it, coins travelling on board a piece of aviation history in the anniversary year of the Lancaster’s most famous moment – adding to their own provenance forever.
As the Lanc returned, the coins having been onboard a few hours, I had a five-minute window between runs to get onboard, remove the coins and stack them up on the airfield.
She had another group of guests to take for a ride. She wasn’t going to wait for us, and I wasn’t going to get in her way. It was a day I shall never forget. And thankfully, these coins now act as a lasting reminder of this epic and historic occasion.
If you’re interested…
This year marks 40 years since the founding of the Douglas Bader Foundation. To celebrate the occasion a range of NEW commemoratives have been issued in partnership with the charity. But, before I go into any details about these new issues, I want to tell you about the fascinating life of the foundation’s namesake – Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader.
Sir Douglas Bader
Douglas Bader was born in London in 1910 and was commissioned into the Royal Air Force in 1930. Tragically, 18 months later he was in a plane crash in which he lost both legs.
Due to this accident, he was discharged from the RAF and was forced to find work elsewhere.
However, after the outbreak of the Second World War, Bader was able to rejoin the air force. He became a leading airman during WW2, flying Spitfires and Hurricanes at Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain. In 1941, he was shot down and held as a prisoner of war.
During his descent, Bader lost his right artificial limb. He persuaded his German captors to radio England to ask them to send over a replacement leg. On the night of 19 August 1941, during a normal bombing raid, his new leg was dropped from a Blenheim, along with some stump socks, tobacco, and chocolate.
Despite his disability, he made several escape attempts. Bader was eventually placed in Colditz until its liberation in 1945.
Douglas Bader was a charismatic and controversial character. After the war, he campaigned tirelessly on behalf of amputees and people with disabilities. He inspired millions with his example and was honoured with a knighthood in 1976. He is considered a national hero for both his war efforts and his work with the disabled which he was involved in up until he died in 1982.
The Douglas Bader Foundation
The Douglas Bader Foundation was established immediately following his death in 1982 by his friends and family, many of whom had flown by his side during the war.
For 40 years, the Douglas Bader Foundation has worked to help people with disabilities, supplying prosthetics, grants, and support to many people.
To support this fantastic charity, a donation from the sale of each of the brand-new commemoratives will go directly to the Douglas Bader Foundation.
So, let’s take a closer look at the new range ….
The Silver Spitfire Commemoratives
These incredible Silver Spitfire commemoratives feature a 3D Spitfire model crafted from a genuine piece of aluminium from a Spitfire AB910.
AB910 flew in The Dieppe Raid – one of the most significant air battles in history and flew cover patrols over Normandy beachheads on D-Day.
I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to Douglas Bader and the Douglas Bader Foundation. The daring airman flew Spitfires over Dunkirk and during the Battle of Britain.
These are available in both 1oz and 5oz silver specifications. With a small amount of this historic metal available, just a limited number of these commemoratives can be made.
Douglas Bader Medal Box Set
Strictly limited to JUST 250 worldwide, a spectacular box set has been released to honour the extraordinary life of Douglas Bader. This set brings together not one, but three full-coloured commemoratives designed by artist Adam Tooby.
Alongside these commemoratives also sits replicas of three of the many medals that Bader received during his astonishing military career.
As this set comes beautifully displayed in a presentation box with a numbered certificate of authenticity, it is the perfect collector’s piece.