World Coins

Sinking of Bismarck shown on Czech Mint coin

The Czech Mint kicks off a four-coin set featuring famous battles of 1941 with a 2016 Niue Island gold $5 coin marking the sinking of Germany’s Bismarck battleship.

Coin images courtesy of the Czech Mint.

After the Bismarck sank the pride of the Royal Navy, the HMS Hood, Sir Winston Churchill left no doubt as to what would be the Navy’s next most crucial challenge.

“Your mission is to sink the Bismarck,” he ordered. “Nothing is more important at this moment. I command you to take all steps to ensure, that this task is accomplished.”

The goal was achieved on May 26 and 27, off the coast of Brest, France, one of several major flashpoints of 1941.

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The Czech Mint marks those wartime moments with a series of 2016 noncirculating legal tender coins, starting with a coin featuring the Bismarck

Background of the Bismarck

Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the Bismarck and fellow ship Tirpitz were the largest battleships ever built by Germany, and two of the largest built by any European power.

At the Battle of the Denmark Strait, Bismarck engaged and destroyed the battlecruiser Hood, and forced the battleship HMS Prince of Wales to retreat. However, Britain’s Navy fought back, and Fairey Swordfish biplane torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal came after the Bismarck, with one plane scoring a hit that rendered the battleship’s steering gear inoperable.

The following morning, Bismarck, neutralized by a sustained bombardment from a British fleet, was scuttled by the ship’s crew and sank with heavy loss of life (of more than 2,000 German sailors, only 115 survived). 

Digging into the design

Medalist Asamat Baltaev designed all four coins in the War Year 1941 series from the Czech Mint and Niue. 

The reverse of the Bismarck coin shows the warship’s final moments, under fire of the British Navy and under relentless attacks of the Royal Air Force. The inscription DER UNTERGANG DER BISMARCK translates to “the destruction of the Bismarck.” 

The obverse carries the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, the face value, year date and issuer’s name. 

The other coins in the series are scheduled to mark the Siege of Leningrad, the Battle of Tobruk and the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Proof .986 fine gold $5 coin weighs 3.49 grams, measures 20 millimeters in diameter and has a mintage limited to 200 pieces.

It retails outside of the Czech Republic for 5,216 Czeck korona (about $213. U.S.)

To order the coin, visit the Czech Mint website.

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