The Avro Lancaster is one of the most well-known heavy bombers that participated in the Second World War, and is iconic when thinking about the contribution it had towards the Allies achieving victory over tyranny and persecution.

Out of the thousands that were built during wartime, only two Avro Lancaster’s exist today that are still airworthy – one of which is the Avro Lancaster PA474.

Lancaster B1 PA474 28 May 1988 - The Avro Lancaster – a historic, aeronautical icon…
The Avro Lancaster PA474 in flight during Air Fete’88, at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk.

The Avro Lancaster PA474 was built in 1945 at the Vickers Armstrong Factory at Harwarden Airfield in Chester, and was originally used for strategic bombings in the Far East. After the war ended when Japan surrendered, the Lancaster PA474 was assigned to Photographic Reconnaissance duties in Africa, before being used as a pilotless drone, and even appeared in two iconic filmsThe Guns of Navarone and Operation Crossbow.

In 1973, this Lancaster was restored back to wartime standard and joined the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby (BBMF). The BBMF’s main purpose is to maintain the priceless artefacts of our national heritage in airworthy condition, in order to promote the modern day Air Force and to inspire future generations.

750px A flypast of three planes from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight during the International Air Day at RNAS Yeovilton. MOD 45145202 - The Avro Lancaster – a historic, aeronautical icon…
A flypast of three planes from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight during the International Air Day at RNAS Yeovilton. Photo credit: LA(PHOT) Paul A’Barrow./MOD

In 2015, the Avro Lancaster PA474 had an in-flight engine fire. The aluminium engine casing from this was then melted down, and sculpted into models of Lancaster planes, which you can now own in this historic commemorative…

The BRAND NEW Avro Lancaster Provenance Medal

Today, a small number of collectors have the chance to own a BRAND NEW Commemorative featuring an ACTUAL piece of the Avro Lancaster PA474 that flew during the war.

The Avro Lancaster PA474 Commemorative Product Images Lifestyle Commemorative Front 1 - The Avro Lancaster – a historic, aeronautical icon…

This incredible commemorative features an original piece of Avro Lancaster, hand-sculpted into the shape of a Lancaster and precision set into the deluxe SUPERSIZE 70mm Medal.

Just 250 lucky collectors will have the chance to own this special commemorative. The last Provenance medal featuring a piece of Hurricane SOLD OUT in a matter of weeks.

Click here to secure your Lancaster Commemorative while you still can!

We’ve all heard of the zodiac, and have probably on more than one occasion checked our daily horoscope in the hope it will reveal what the future holds. When I sat down to write this blog I was buoyant in the revelation that my day was going to be “filled with love and joy”.

But perhaps lesser known in Western culture is the Chinese Lunar Calendar and the 12 animals that represent it.

DY Year of the Rat Silver 1oz coin product page images 4 - What do a dragon, tiger and rat all have in common?
The Royal Mint UK 2020 Lunar Year of the Rat 1oz Silver Proof Coin

The Chinese Lunar Calendar

More commonly known as the Chinese Zodiac, it is believed the Chinese Lunar Calendar begun around 2600 B.C. and is related to the worship of animals in Chinese culture. Legend has it before departing to the next life, Buddha asked every animal on the planet to comfort him and the twelve animals (including the dragon, tiger and rat) that responded are now honoured in the lunar calendar that spans 12 years – one animal for every year.

Much like the Western Zodiac, your lunar animal sign depends when you’re born. And people born in specific lunar years are believed to have certain personality traits and characteristics related to their animal.

Turns out I was born in the Year of the Sheep – so I’m creative, compassionate and friendly. I’d say that’s fairly accurate, though I’m not sure I agree that I like to spend my money on fashionable things… you win some you lose some!

The incredible popularity of Lunar Coins

For over 40 years mints from around the world have celebrated Chinese New Year with Lunar Coins. These issues have turned in to something of an international phenomenon, to the point where the lunar theme is the largest ongoing coin programme on the planet.

Most prestigious mints have a lunar series, including Australia, Canada, and of course our own Royal Mint. With each selling millions of ounces of gold and silver coins each year inscribed with the year’s relevant lunar animal.

Collectors will snap these coins up for a variety of reasons. Some collect their own lunar animal, because they like the personal connection, others will collect a particular specification because it’s especially limited. Personally, I find they also make great birthday gifts for obvious reasons – my friends love them. 

The Year of the Rat

The 25th January 2020 will mark the Chinese New Year, and with it the next lunar animal will be celebrated – the Rat.  

Rat Blog Image - What do a dragon, tiger and rat all have in common?

The Rat is in fact the first animal in the Chinese Zodiac, and people who are born under the sign of the Rat are thought to be intelligent and quick-witted with rich imaginations.

If this sounds like you the odds are you’re born under the sign of the Rat. And this year your lunar animal will be celebrated on lunar coins around the world.

What’s more, The Royal Mint has just released their brand new Year of the Rat range, including what’s perhaps the most sought-after specification of all – the 1oz Silver Proof Coin.

Apparently Rats are known for taking good advantage of opportunities presented to them – so what are you waiting for, make sure you snap up your lunar coin today!

If you’re interested…

You can own the BRAND NEW Royal Mint Lunar Coin TODAY – the 1oz Silver Proof Year of the Rat coin.

This coin is sure to be the most sought-after yet because not only is the 1oz Silver Proof a key specification for collectors, it’s also got the lowest edition limit yet!

DY Year of the Rat Silver 1oz coin product page images 3 - What do a dragon, tiger and rat all have in common?

Click here to find out more and secure one for your collection today >>>

mint editions blog banner21 - All 9 Red Arrow pilots put their names to the ultimate Silver tribute...and we've just presented it to them!

Today, we had the honour of meeting all 9 Red Arrows pilots at the Bournemouth Air Festival to present them with a very special gift…

red arrows presented with medals at bournemouth air festival - All 9 Red Arrow pilots put their names to the ultimate Silver tribute...and we've just presented it to them!

Red Arrows with the official 2017 Red Arrows Display Season Medals

Karen & Alex had the pleasure of personally presenting them with a 5oz of Pure Silver commemorative medal featuring each of their 9 signatures carefully engraved onto it.

red arrows 2017 display season 5oz silver commemorative in hand1 - All 9 Red Arrow pilots put their names to the ultimate Silver tribute...and we've just presented it to them!

The Official 2017 Red Arrows Signature 5oz Silver Medal

Officially licensed and approved by the Royal Air Force and the team who helped us create this superb piece, just 450 have been issued worldwide and we reserved issue number 1 of 450 of these pieces to present to them today (and, so they didn’t have to share, we also presented them with a Red Arrows 2017 Display Season Medal each).

Each signature  on the 5oz Silver Medal is meticulously engraved above their team number. Then to complete the piece, each member’s iconic Hawk jet with the RAF roundel at the centre is highlighted in vivid colour, surrounded by an altimeter inspired pattern – the most fitting piece to present to the Reds today. (Details below on how you can own one.)

It’s not the first time The Westminster Collection has had the chance to chat to one of the Red Arrows – in fact you can find out if being a Red Arrow is just like being in Top Gun straight from Red 9 himself in our previous blog here >>


red arrows 2017 display season 5oz silver commemorative in display case1 - All 9 Red Arrow pilots put their names to the ultimate Silver tribute...and we've just presented it to them!

The Official 2017 Red Arrows Signature 5oz Silver Medal

If you are interested…

You have the opportunity to own the official Red Arrows Signature 5oz Silver Medal. This is a rare chance to own an item so closely and personally linked to the Red Arrows themselves and we only have a few remaining so you’ll have to act quickly to secure yours.  Click here for more information and to order yours now  >>