RCAF centenary coins


19 February 2024
Two new coins have been struck by the Royal Canadian Mint to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Airforce (RCAF). Available in two designs in either gold or silver, the coins pay tribute to the RCAF for 100 years of service at home and abroad.

With the creation of the RCAF on 1 April 1924, Canada gained its first permanent full-time air force, and its early fleet helped develop aviation in the country. Over time, the RCAF has evolved into a national institution that has played a pivotal role in the Canada’s history and in the skies above.

FREE 50p Checklist!

Claim your free 50p checklist, including values and mintage figures, when you sign up to receive the All About Coins newsletter. Sign up today!

Building on the foundations laid by Canadian pilots in World War I, the RCAF then distinguished itself through its civil air operations, pioneering the use of aircraft for fighting forest fires and contributing to the mapping of Canada. The RCAF then stepped onto the world’s stage in World War II.

Today, whether participating in air defence, Arctic patrols, NATO training, humanitarian flights, natural disaster relief, peacekeeping operations, search-and-rescue efforts or even providing space power support to the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCAF continues to defend Canada’s air space, saving lives, helping people at home and abroad, and serving Canada.

Canada’s annual fine silver proof dollar is the Royal Canadian Mint’s flagship collector coin and in 2024 marks the centenary of the RCAF. The collage on the coin’s reverse design is a close collaboration between the mint, the RCAF and the artist, Jason Bouwman, who also designed the 2009 Anniversary of Flight in Canada proof dollar.

The force’s history and fleet are represented by four significant aircraft:

  • the De Havilland DH-82C Tiger Moth symbolises the RCAF’s early years
  • the McDonnell Douglas CF-188 Hornet represents its fighter fleet
  • the Lockheed CC-130 Hercules represents its fixed-wing aircraft fleet
  • and the Boeing Vertol CH-147 Chinook, its helicopter fleet.

Three of the aircraft leave a contrail that begins to form the RCAF tartan, and all four aircraft appear within the RCAF roundel, which has a maple leaf in the centre.

Content continues after advertisements

Planets and orbit rings represent the RCAF’s future and space division. The stars in the design honour the RCAF’s current motto, Sic Itur ad Astra (‘Such is the pathway to the stars’). At the bottom, the flaming parrot tulip is one of four tulips selected to commemorate the RCAF’s centennial.

A total of 35,000 coins have been minted of this design.

While the silver dollar covers 100 years of history, the gold coin’s reverse design focuses on the RCAF’s early years. A product of a close collaboration between the mint, the RCAF and artist Neil Hamelin, the design features a De Havilland DH-82C Tiger Moth, which was adopted by the RCAF in 1938 and served as a basic trainer in about two-thirds of Canadian Elementary Flying Training Schools under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan during World War II, when the RCAF developed into the fourth largest Allied air force.

The trainer’s take-off within the RCAF roundel represents the ascent of the RCAF, while the motto Sic Itur ad Astra visually connects the RCAF of today with both its future and its past. A low mintage of only 1,500 coins is available for this design.

The obverse design on both coins features the effigy of His Majesty King Charles III by Canadian artist Steven Rosati.