The Istituto Poligrafico Zecca della Stato (IPZS) has unveiled new bi-metallic collector coins (1st August), which are dedicated to the centenary anniversary of the birth of the athlete whose accomplishments in the world of professional cycling remain legendary and are part of the cycling culture and records of accomplishment to this day. Fausti Coppi (1919–1960) was, simply, an unbeatable climber who won five editions of the Giro d’Italia. The Cima Coppi (now known as Coppi’s summit) is the title given to the highest peak in each edition of the Giro d’Italia
Born on the 15th September 1919 in the tiny town of Castellania in the Piedmont hills, as a young boy of 13, Coppi worked as an apprentice in a delicatessen, and one of his tasks was to deliver groceries to customers using his bicycle. Thus began the gruelling, or, to some, inspiration to international stardom and dominance in cycling.
Despite the fact that young Coppi seemed to have a frail and slim build, he had the physical characteristics that made him suitable for endurance under stress: Agile muscular, long, slender legs, and a cardio-respiratory system which was out of the ordinary due to his broad chest, lung capacity, and a very low heartbeat rate per minute. Fausto began amateur racing in 1937, becoming a professional in 1939, and early on he began to collect his first triumphs. In 1940, he joined the Legnano cycling team, which was headed by fellow cyclist Gino Bartali, and it was with this shirt that in June of 1940 he won his first Giro d’Italia. He was just 20 years old at the time and is the youngest winner of the Giro.
At what was considered the height of his abilities, Coppi was obliged to answer the call to fight for his country, who were at war since 1939. Coppi was sent to fight in North Africa, being taken prisoner by the British in 1942. He would not return to Italy until February 1945, and upon his return, he was presented with a new bicycle courtesy of the “Gazzetta dello Sport,” and at this time, he began to train once more for the cycling competition.
During his time in the competition, he won the Giro d’Italia an unprecedented five times in 1940, 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953. Coppi, who by now had gained the nickname “the Champion of Champions,” would go on to win the Tour de France twice in 1949 and 1952, and the World Championship in 1953.
Other notable accomplishments include winning the Milan–San Remo three times, in addition to wins at the Paris–Roubaix and La Flèche Wallonne. Coppi also set the hour-record by cycling 45.798 kilometres (28.45 miles) in 1942.
In December of 1959, Fausto and some friends travelled to Africa to participate in a competition in Ouagadougou, now the capital of Burkina Faso, and for a hunting expedition. When he returned, Coppi complained of a high fever, which turned to be a severe case of Malaria, but his doctors failed to diagnose and treat it. As a result of contracting malaria, Fausto Coppi died in the early morning hours of the 2nd January 1960; he was just 40 years old. Coppi was survived by his long term companion Giulia Occhini and their son, Faustino. Coppi was buried in his home town of Castellania alongside his younger brother Serse. In July 2000, at the Pordoi Pass in the Dolomites, a monument was dedicated to cyclist Fausto Coppi, which commemorates the world-famous Giro d’Italia tour.
The €5 bi-metallic coins include a right-facing profile portrait of Fausto, which is based on a composite of images of the cyclist. The image is surrounded by the text REPUBBLICA ITALIANA, and symbolically, a bicycle chain that is placed along the edge.
The reverse also includes a more familiar image of Coppi, as he was routinely seen on his bicycle during competition. The text FAUSTO COPPI 1919 2019 is placed along interval sections above the primary image. The denomination of 5 EURO is seen in front of Coppi and his bicycle. A script-type text is placed below the image of Coppi, which reads Rasa e la sua maglia (“Racer and his jersey.”)
|Five euro||Bi-metallic||9.5 g||27.5 mm||Brilliant Unc.||8,000|
The coin, which will be available from the 2nd September, will be presented in a coin-card format. For additional information about this coin and others available from the IPZS, please visit their website.