In 1994, to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Allied invasion of Europe, the Royal Mint is releasing a Limited Issue D-Day Landings Piedfort 50p Fifty Pence Silver Proof Coin.
Plans to liberate Europe began in earnest in the Spring of 1943. Under the Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D Eisenhower, the air, sea and land might of Britain, the Commonwealth and the United States, as well as units from virtually every occupied country in Europe, were to form the largest invasion force ever seen.
By the Spring of 1944 more than three million men had gathered in Southern England in readiness for the Normandy Landings.
It was realised that an invasion was likely in the Summer of 1944 but the exact date and location remained one of the best kept secrets of the War. Thus Operation Overlord, one of the most difficult military operations ever undertaken, was able to begin just after midnight on 6th June 1944 – in the first hour of the day that would forever be known as D-Day.
The Allied Invasion force filling the sea and sky and heading for Normandy on 6th June vividly captured on this splendid commemorative coin.
The design was created by award winning sculptor John Mills and was inspired by his boyhood recollections of that historic day. Looking up at the sky he saw it filled with distinctively marked planes and realised tha the invasion of France was underway.
Raphael Maklouf’s much acclaimed portrait of Her Majesty, the Queen graces the obverse.
Piedforts are coins which have been specially struck on thicker than normal blanks.
As their name suggests they are closely associated with France, where from the twelfth century they were apparently issued by the Kings as presentation pieces.
In Britain the practise of striking piedforts is later and less frequent, but medieval and Tudor examples are known.
These legal tender coins have been struck to proof quality using specially prepared dies and highly polished blanks.