To celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation – the first sovereigns with a sand-blasted finish using sand from the beaches of Dunkirk
This year we mark the 80th anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation, the remarkable rescue of Allied troops from the beaches of Northern France that has become known as ‘the miracle of Dunkirk’.
In May 1940, as the advancing German army cornered British, French, Canadian and Belgian troops near Dunkirk, with almost all escape routes to the English Channel cut off, disaster seemed inevitable. Winston Churchill swiftly launched ‘Operation Dynamo’, sending out destroyers and transport ships, aided by civilian ‘little ships’, to evacuate the men trapped at Dunkirk. In spite of heavy aerial bombardment by the Luftwaffe, between 27th May and 4th June over 338,000 men were rescued and brought back to Britain by approximately 800 vessels, in what Churchill would go on to describe as a “miracle of deliverance”.
It’s a sad fact that there are few alive today who remember that momentous event. But in Britain the ‘Dunkirk spirit’ lives on, showing itself in times of adversity – such as the public response to the current Covid-19 crisis. The 80th anniversary of Dunkirk offers us an opportunity to celebrate how that spirit saved Britain from potential disaster back in 1940, in the same way it is saving the nation again today.
That’s why, as part of the 80th anniversary commemorations, an exceptional gold sovereign set has been minted: the first sovereigns produced with a sandblasted finish using sand from the beaches of Dunkirk, and featuring designs that celebrates the most remarkable ship and boat that took part in the Dunkirk evacuation.
New gold sovereigns celebrate the sea vessels that took part in the Dunkirk rescue
The quarter sovereign coin features a design that pays tribute to the MV Royal Daffodil, a passenger vessel that undertook no fewer than seven trips to the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940 and rescued up to 9,500 troops. On the final trip, a bomb went right through her hull and exploded beneath her; the hole was plugged with a mattress and she made it home. After the War she was refitted and proudly bore a plaque that commemorated her as a ‘Dunkirk Little Ship’.
The destroyer HMS Malcolm is featured on the half sovereign. This Royal Navy ship made a total of eight trips to Dunkirk and brought home up to 6,400 troops, including three crossings in one 24-hour period in which she rescued 3,000 soldiers. After her seventh trip, with the last of the BEF evacuated, the crew of the Malcolm had planned a festive dinner to celebrate the end of the operation – but at the last moment, they were called upon to make a final, perilous journey on the night of 3/4 June to embark part of the French rearguard which had been the final line of defence holding the Germans at the Dunkirk perimeter. The crew of HMS Malcolm completed this final rescue in formal evening dress and bow ties!
The sovereign coin features a design that pays tribute to PS Whippingham, a paddle steamer originally serving as a passenger ferry who rescued 2,700 troops on her only crossing to Dunkirk. Heavily overloaded, she set sail from Dunkirk for Ramsgate. During the passage, the ship narrowly missed being hit by shell fire which led to panic among the evacuees, who fled en masse to the port side of the vessel. The ship listed 20 degrees and was dangerously close to overturning but for the quick thinking of Chief Mechanician Ford who moved the troops back towards the starboard side. For his actions, Ford was later awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. The design on this exceptional commemorative sovereign has been rendered with meticulous precision, bringing to life this wonderful boat whose perilous journey across the English Channel to Dunkirk saved so many lives
Authorised by Tristan Da Cunha, and approved by both the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Buckingham Palace, it is a wonderful celebration – and a world first one at that – the first sovereigns with a sand-blasted finish using sand from the beaches of Dunkirk!
Benefit from the SELL OUT GUARANTEE
The new 2020 Dunkirk 80th Anniversary Gold Sovereign Prestige Set is limited to just 1,940 sets, but this set is subject to our new SELL OUT GUARANTEE. What this means is that availability of this set will end on 31st October 2020. At that time, any sets that are unsold will be melted down and verified to that effect.
At that point, we will issue to owners of this set a new certificate stating the final mintage which may be lower, or possibly considerably lower, than 1,940. If the mintage remains at 1,940 then this means the set sold out entirely to keen customers, and if not you may have secured for yourself a low mintage rarity.
Either way, there will be little or no surplus of this set on the secondary market and so the set you own will be a rarity in the gold sovereign series.
Why not have a look at the entire 2020 Dunkirk 80th Anniversary Gold Sovereign range available here.