The Istituto Poligrafico Zecca Della Stato (IPZS) has issued its latest collector coin as part of the current EUROPA star coin program. This year the focus is on 20th century Europe and those who have made memorable contributions during this period.
The Italian addition to this series for 2016 features the Italian automotive industry, famed the world over for its stylish and fast cars. One particular name stands out in this milieu for its uniquely coveted automobiles: Ferrari.
The founder of this internationally-known brand was Enzo Ferrari (1898 – 1988), who is credited with helping the Italian automotive industry achieve a heightened profile with his brand and design. His interest in racing cars developed early; at the age of 10 his father, Alfredo Sr., took the young Enzo and his brother, Alfredo Jr., to an automobile race in Bologna. Having attended these, as well as a number of other races in his early years, Enzo decided that he too wanted to become a race car driver. However, in 1916 a double tragedy would befall the family and haunt Ferrari for the remainder of his life: the deaths of his beloved father and brother sadly occurred in the same year.
He spent much of World War I working as a blacksmith, shoeing mules and the like, but the world-wide pandemic influenza of 1918 brought upon his discharge and at the same time almost ended his life. Together with his liking and inclination for the automotive industry, he applied for a job at Fiat, then the largest and most successful car makers in Italy, only to be turned down. Ferrari nearly starved for lack of work, something that would remain a great part of his consciousness. Eventually he was hired at Lancia, which at the time was a small car maker involved with converting war surplus.
Luckily, part of Enzo’s duties included test driving the converted cars, further feeding his desire to become a race car driver. Enzo’s path to driver began when on a visit to Milan he met Ugo Sivocci, a test driver for Costruzioni Mecchanice Nazionali, whom he would later join in the 1919 Targa Florio.
The duo drove with distinction during the Targa Florio and were offered a job with Alfa Romeo, who in turn entered some modified production cars in the 1920 Targa Florio. With Ferrari driving one of these cars, the company managed to finish second and first in class. While driving for Alfa Romeo, Enzo caught the attention of Giorgio Rimini, who was aide to Nicola Romeo, founder of the brand.
In 1923, while racing at the Circuit of Sivocci at Ravenna, Ferrari met a man who would eventually but unknowingly play a great part in the design of the internationally recognized Ferrari brand logo. The man was the father of the legendary Italian World War I ace Francesco Baracca; he was enamoured with the courage and audacity of the young Ferrari and presented the young driver with his son’s squadron badge, the design of which featured an upstanding horse on a yellow shield.
In 1929 Ferrari started his own firm, the Scuderia Ferrari, which was sponsored by the Ferrara-based Caniano brothers, Augusto and Alfredo, heirs to a textile fortune. The purpose of the firm was initially to organize a team of race cars produced by Alfa Romeo, who took eventual control of the enterprise in 1938, contrary to the wishes of Enzo, who eventually left their association. As part of Ferrari’s agreement to leave Alfa Romeo, he was barred from designing race cars under his own name for a period of four years.
Despite the onset of the Second World War and his contractual restrictions, Ferrari did manage to manufacture two car models in time for the 1940 Mille Miglia. With the outbreak of further fighting in 1943, Ferrari’s new factory was commandeered to undertake war production for Mussolini’s fascist government. After Allied bombing of the factory, Ferrari relocated from Modena to Maranello, a small township just a few miles away from their initial manufacturing hub.
With the end of the conflict and the need to rebuild Italian manufacturing, Ferrari decided to start making cars bearing his name and founded Ferrari S.p.A. in 1947. The newly formed Scuderia Ferrari won its first F1 Grand Prix in 1951, and the World Championship in 1952 and 1953 with the great driver Alberto Ascari. Since then, Enzo Ferrari and his cars have been winning the hearts of sportsmen to become icons of excellence in the field of innovation and design worldwide.
The company’s re-formed Scuderia Ferrari is now the oldest surviving and most successful Formula One team, having competed in every world championship since the 1950 Formula One season. Enzo Ferrari, despite his place in the limelight of formula one racing, maintained a rather low profile regarding his personal life. He was married in 1923 to Laura Dominica Garello (1900–1978) until her death. Their only son Alfredo (1932–1956) died at the age of 24 from muscular dystrophy. Piero Ferrari, a second son from an extra-marital relationship was named as Enzo’s successor after the death of Laura Ferrari. Enzo died in August of 1988 at the age of 90 and was posthumously inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1994 and into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2000.
The obverse side of the coin is designed by Maria Carmela Colaneri. The included three-quarter portrait of Ferrari facing to the left is based on a contemporary photo. To the left of the portrait is the logo of the brand, a standing horse along with the vertical text ENZO FERRARI in two lines. To the right of the portrait is the year of issue, 2016, and below is the denomination of 10 EURO.
The reverse side incorporates both the EUROPA-wide motif and a national design. In the case of Italy, a stylized allegorical face encircled by a five-pointed star is featured, with details from the coat of arms of the Italian Republic, including a cogwheel, oak, and olive branches, placed inside. Above and between two points of the star is a towered crown. Positioned to the left is the text REPUBBLICA ITALIANA. Below the primary design is the logo of the Europa Star program and the name of the designer, COLANERI. In the field toward the right is the mint mark, “R”, identifying the Mint of Rome.
The coin is minted in Proof quality and is available directly from the Istituto Poligrafico Zecca Della Stato. Due to the featured subject, it is expected that there will be high demand for this coin.
For additional information on this and other coins offered from the IPZS, please visit their Web site. International orders dispatched where applicable. For additional information on the founder of this extraordinary automotive brand and its racing heritage, please visit the Web site of Ferrari.