Endorsed by Imperial War Museums, this coin honors the first pilots and observers that risked their lives in the First World War.
- Contains 0.4706 of actual Gold weight.
- Comes in a box and includes a certificate of authenticity.
- Maximum coin mintage of 634 proof coins.
- Features a Rose Gold-plated rim for a stunning two-tone effect.
- Obverse: Features the definitive portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, designed by Jody Clark.
- Reverse: Portrays a pilot and his observer performing a reconnaissance flight over an area of the battle Arras, in April 1917. The land below is shown as a map. The Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8. plane featured in the design was a commonly utilized reconnaissance aircraft of the time.
- Guaranteed by The Royal Mint.
Honor this historic point in the First World War and add this 2017 Great Britain £2 Proof Gold First World War Aviation coin to your cart today!
At the outbreak of the First World War, few people believed aircraft would play a major role in the conflict. Hot-air balloons had been used for observation and reconnaissance for almost 100 years and the Royal Flying Corps, a branch of the British army, began its life as an "eye in the air", reporting on the positioning of enemy forces. As the war developed into the bloodiest conflict ever seen, the race for superior air power began.
Pilots, observers and crew risked their lives testing the new technology. Deployed above the battlefields, often beyond the call of duty, they suffered the effects of altitude and freezing temperatures. From the "romanticism" of the air aces, dueling in the skies above the trenches, to the work of the reconnaissance and supply craft, these flyers were the first of their kind in their battle for supremacy in the air. In 1918, the Royal Air Corps became the Royal Air Force we know today and has defended the skies ever since.
The edge lettering of this coin pays tribute to the first aviators to sacrifice their lives in the race for the skies, remembering the days of the war when "The Sky Rained Heroes".
The minting of coins began in England around the end of the second century B.C. Around A.D. 650, coins were made by craftsmen called “moneyers” in London. In 886, during the reign of Alfred the Great, the London Mint was designated to be a single institution, though there were many other mints in operation around this time. In 1279 the London Mint was moved to the Tower of London where it remained for the next 500 years. Famed physicist Sir Isaac Newton was the Warden of the Mint in 1696 and as such was responsible for investigating cases of counterfeiting. Three years later he was made Master of the Mint, until his death in 1727, and was responsible for moving England from the Silver standard to the Gold standard in 1717.
The Royal Mint had outgrown its home in the Tower of London so during the 18th century the rickety wooden shacks the mint occupied were rebuilt to accommodate mechanized and rolling mills and coining presses and provide more space. Soon, however, the mint outgrew this new location and in 1809, the mint moved from the Tower of London to an adjacent site in East Smithfield called Tower Hill. By 1899, the Royal Mint was striking 100 million coins a year.
In 1967 it was announced that mint would move from its location at Tower Hill to Llantrisant, Wales, following Parliament’s decision to decimalize currency and in 1968 the first coins were officially struck by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the new location in Wales. In 1986, the Royal Mint celebrated 11 centuries of continuous minting. In 2009, the Royal Mint was vested into a government-owned company to provide greater operating and commercial freedom.
One unique aspect of the Royal Mint is a procedure known as the Trial of the Pyx, dates back to 1282 and ensures newly-minted coins meet required government standards. The trials have been held once a each year since their inception and have changed very little over time. These trials are presided over by a judge with a jury of expert assayers and were held at the Palace of Westminster before they were moved to the modern-day site at the Hall of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. The ceremony was so named after the boxwood chest in which coins were placed for presentation to the jury.