By Devoy White
IN CELEBRATION of the fiftieth and sixtieth anniversaries of the end of World War II, many governments have issued commemorative coins; Winston Churchill is on over a dozen.
Recent anniversaries of the end of World War II contributed additional commemorative coinage featuring the image of Sir Winston. Some are in gold, all of which are NCLT (non-circulating legal tender) intended for collectors and issued in small quantities. The status of most others is unclear until a record of the size of the issue is published in annual catalogs. Until then, only some silver and all cupro-nickel coins should be considered LT (legal tender). But while some may be used as LT, their quality of production suggests that they were probably intended as NCLT.
The interesting thing about this group is the individual beauty and imagination that went into each coin. Commemoratives usually contain a relatively simple bust portrait of the honored individual on the reverse (see the Benelux example), but many of these new issues are miniature works of art.
Consider these examples: Churchill and the Queen Mother walk through the ruins of Buckingham Palace. Churchill and the King wave to the crowds on VE Day from the palace balcony. Churchill, decorated with a carnation, stands before the ornate gates of Ten Downing Street. Churchill, with cigar, before an aerial dogfight and a falling German aircraft with London in the background. Churchill announces the liberation of the Channel Islands in Parliament. Many are small copies in precious metal of previously published pictures, and all are remarkable for their depth and clarity.
In 2005 the Isle of Man also issued a new 1 Crown Churchill/WW2 commemorative in silver and cupro-nickel using the same artwork on the £5 coin pictured below.
Over one hundred Churchill commemorative coins are currently known to the author, in addition to hundreds of medals and medallions. In addition, a number of “facsimile” paper currency items are now being offered for sale on eBay. Since no paper currency was ever issued with Churchill’s portrait, these are curiosity items with no historical or monetary value.
All coins listed here are from my personal collection and are in addition to those reported in FH #120. Photography is by the Fleming Color, Sacramento, California.
1. Alderney, 2005, gold, £5. Liberation of Channel Islands. Buckingham Palace. ()bverse: Queen Elizabeth II. Vlso £10 silver. NCLT.
2. Isle of Man, 1995, gold, £5. Fiftieth anniversary of the end of WW2. Churchill giving his famous V-sign. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II. Also in silver and cupronickel. The cupro-nickel version may be legal tender but this is at the present time unclear.
3. East Caribbean States, 2003, gold-plated silver, $2.
4. Bailiwick of Guernsey, 2005, gold, £5. Sixtieth anniversary of the end of WW2. Churchill with the King. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II. Part of Channel Islands Liberation set. Also in silver. NCLT.
5. Gibraltar, 2004, silver, £5. Churchill at the gates of Number Ten Downing Street, wearing a carnation. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II.
6. Isle of man, 2005 gold, 1/5th Crown. Sixtieth anniversary of the end of WW2. Produced ten years after the £5 gold piece, this carries a similar though not identical facial portrait and a more distant perspective, with a more accurate bow tie. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II. Also in silver & cupro-nickel.
7. Solomon Islands, 2000, silver, $10. Queen Mother’s Centenary. Churchill and The Queen Mother walking in wreckage of the bombed Buckingham Palace after a bombing attack in 1930. Obverse: Queen Elizabeth II.
8. Mauru, 1996, silver, Queen Mother’s Centenary (same art- work as above). After the bombing the then-Queen famously exclaimed, “Now we can look the East End in the face.” Obverse: The Great Seal of Nauru.
9. Georgia, 1995, gold, 500 Lari. Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill and de Gaulle in profile. This is certainly the only coin bearing these four images; Stalin of course was a Georgian. Obverse: date, value, and Republic of Georgia inscription.
10. Benelux [Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg], 2005, copper, 2 Probe-cent. Sixtieth anniversary of the end ofWW2. Churchill giving V-sign. Obverse: value, goddess with lamp. Part of Liberation Pattern set including Churchill, Roosevelt and de Gaulle coins. Also one Probe-cent. Stated NCLT.
Finest Hour is saddened to record the death last December of our good friend and Churchilliana contributor, Devoy White. Always cheerful, always supportive, ever ready to help, never a scold, even when we had it coming: these were part of Devoy’s character. We shall miss him greatly; his last article attests to that. —Ed.
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