The Monnaie de Paris has launched their latest coins in the series entitled “L’Histoire De L’Aviation” with a design this year featuring vintage aircraft made popular during the Second World War. Begun in 2017, this imaginative series on aviation and its history is designed as a tribute to the aircraft that have made the greatest impact in the history of aviation. From the Spirit of Saint Louis to the most modern aircraft, such as the A380, all eras and types of aircraft will be featured as the series progresses. Featured for 2023 is the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, a model which was America’s third most-produced fighter aircraft during World War II. It was first put into service for the first time in 1938 and became one of the most reliable fighter planes in large numbers in the American Air Force until 1943. It served with great distinction during most of the conflict, thanks to its low cost, its ease of maintenance, and its great robustness. The single-engine, single-seat, all-metal fighter, and ground-attack aircraft P-40 design was a modification of the previous Curtiss P-36 Hawk, which reduced development time and enabled a rapid entry into production and operational service. The P-40 earned a reputation in battle for extreme ruggedness and due to their reliability, almost 14,000 P-40s were built and served in the air forces of 28 nations. The P-40 gained greater attention in the Pacific theatre of conflict days after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbour. Pilot Lieutenant Boyd D. Wagner became the first American ace when he shot down six Japanese aircraft in the Philippines in mid-December 1941. However, by November 1944, production of the P-40 ceased at Curtiss-Wright Corporation’s main production facilities in Buffalo, New York.
The design of the new coins is the work of Romain Hugault, a recognised specialist both in the world of aviation and comic illustrations. His designs have been adapted and transitioned onto these gold and silver coins under the artistic direction of Monnaie de Paris Chief engraver and artisan Joaquin Jimenez. The obverse side depicts an F-40 Curtiss “Warhawk” in combat above a rice field and against a Japanese plane, symbolising the fighter plane’s involvement in the Pacific theatre during the Second World War. The design also features the artwork of a plane with “nose art” in the form of a shark’s face. The menacing teeth were painted on the P40 airplanes by the Flying Tigers, a group of American volunteers with the mission of defending China against Japanese forces. The shark-faced nose art of the P40 is arguably the most recognised nose art of WWII. Along the upper-right edge is the text in stylised lettering which reads CURTISS P–40. Below and towards the lower left edge is the text WARHAWK, and along the upper left edge is the year of release, 2023. The entire series shares a common reverse design which features the profiles of two pilots symbolising different eras, both civilian and military aviation. Below the pilots along the lower right edge is the name of the collector series L’HISTOIRE DE L’AVIATION. Several airplane models are represented in flight, also marking different eras and used as a tribute to the history of the airplane. The face value is shown at the bottom left as well as the initials RF, which represents REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE.
|22.2 g||37 mm||Proof||
|44.4 g||37 mm||Proof||
|7.78 g||22 mm||Proof||
Available from the 6th June, each gold and silver Proof coin is available as a separate purchase, encapsulated, and presented in a branded Monnaie de Paris custom case accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. For additional information, please click here for the 10-euro coin, here for the 20-euro coin, or here for the 50-euro coin.