Relive the Golden Age of Aviation with these stunningly rendered portraits of famous air racers of the 1930s from the New Zealand Mint. This four-coin set comes with numbered Certificate of Authenticity in a beautiful wooden case, inside an art deco-style protective sleeve (seen in photo above.) Each $2 coin is made of 1 oz of 99.9% pure silver and measures 40.7mm in diameter. The four famous planes celebrated in this collection are (from left to right) :
- The Hughes H-1 Racer of 1935: Designed by the famous Howard Hughes and Richard Palmer to be the fastest airplane in the world, this revolutionary plane set the world landplane speed record in 1935- the last privately funded aircraft to do so. Hughes then broke the transcontinental air speed record by two hours in 1937.
- The “Granville Gee Bee” Model R of 1932: Perhaps the most famous of the classic 1930s air racers, the Model R gained worldwide fame after setting the landplane speed record and winning the Thompson Trophy at the hands of renowned pilot Jimmy Doolittle. This high performance craft gained an unfair reputation as a “pilot killer,” due to the reflexes needed to fly it. It actually is no more dangerous than the average high performance aircraft of today.
- The Supermarine S.6B Seaplane Racer of 1931: This iconic racer won the Schneider Cup for Great Britain in an era where the seaplane racers were faster than the landplane racers. Designed by R.J. Mitchell and his team, the S.6B was considered the product of the ultimate in aviation technology. The aerodynamic theories put to the test in the S.6B were later used in the design of the Spitfire fighter of WWII, hero of the Battle of Britain.
- The Polikarpov I-16 of 1935: This extremely maneuverable Soviet fighter was the first combat aircraft to use the advances in aviation pioneered by the famous racing planes of the day, a heritage that can be seen in its shape. The “Rata” was a formidable foe until the advent of the “F” model of the German Me109 fighter in 1941.