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London Mint Office Commemorates Secret WWII Operation with Recreation of Operation Fish

Press Release   •   Aug 20, 2015 13:08 BST

The 75th Anniversary of one of WWII’s biggest, but top secret, naval operations, ‘Operation Fish’, has been commemorated by The London Mint Office by launching a commemorative coin set which has made the same epic 5,000 mile journey made by warships which moved gold and treasure from Europe to Canada for safekeeping. In the summer of 1940, Operation Fish saw naval convoys transport millions of pounds worth of gold, treasure and securities to Canada. They battled atrocious weather and the U-boat infested waters of the North Atlantic to move it out of danger and secure funding for the war in the case of invasion by Germany. Countries such as the UK, France and Norway were involved in these clandestine operations which only became public knowledge after the war.

The London Mint Office’s special two-coin Limited Edition Operation Fish set includes a commemorative pure gold coin featuring a map which shows the movement of gold from Europe to Canada with a maple leaf on the reverse and has been issued by the Royal Canadian Mint. The obverse depicts the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a portrait which is unique to Canadian coins. The second coin in the set is a genuine wartime George V sovereign which was in use during the 1940s - a coin that would be typical of those that were moved as part of the gold transports. Each of the 200 coin sets available for sale has undertaken the same journey as the original Operation Fish missions.

James Deeny, Managing Director of The London Mint Office, comments, “Operation Fish was the biggest transportation of wealth in history and yet it is still a little-known part of World War Two history. The Navy took considerable risks in order to ensure that the countries involved could safeguard their gold reserves and avoid the Germans landing a substantial windfall. In following in the wake of the Operation Fish missions by transporting gold on the same journey we clearly didn’t suffer the conditions of the brave sailors who completed these epic missions. However, for anyone passionate about the history of the War, these coin sets enable them to get closer to an amazing part of European history and remember those who took part 75 years ago.”

The original Operation Fish convoys travelled from Europe to Halifax, Nova Scotia, with gold and treasure being sent on to the Bank of Canada in Ottawa for safekeeping. In total, these missions moved nearly $29 billion at today’s exchange rates and weighed hundreds of tons.

In its recreation of Operation Fish, The London Mint Office’s journey started in Oslo when Jan-Eirik Hansen, CEO of the Mint of Norway, signed an official letter to confirm the coins’ arrival in Norway. From here the coins travelled onto Paris where Mme S Martin of the Société Française Des Monnaies officially confirmed their arrival. The coins were then transported onto Canada where John Moore, Vice President at the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa, officially greeted and signed for the coins. The coins were kept securely in a vault at the Mint before returning to the UK.

The Operation Fish sets will be on sale for £1,295 here or by phone on 0808 1782370. Each set includes an original signed letter from the Royal Canadian Mint proving that the coins were part of the London Mint Office’s Operation Fish mission and arrived safely in Canada. They are also accompanied by a coin passport booklet documenting every step of the journey the coins took and an extract from ‘Gold Run’ – a book written by Robert Pearson which documents Operation Fish from the Norwegian perspective including the escape of the Norwegian royal family following the Nazi invasion.

- ENDS –

Media contact:

Susan Perolls at Loudmouth PR, T 020 7981 9858, E susanp@loudmouthpr.co.uk

Journalists: For more information and access to visuals please visit: http://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/london-mint-office

About The London Mint Office: The London Mint Office is a trusted and respected partner for a large number of British coin collectors. Gold, silver and other precious metals have fascinated mankind for many centuries, making coin collecting a popular hobby the world over. The London Mint Office, part of the Samlerhuset Group, is at the centre of British numismatics, bringing the fascinating world of coin collecting to both existing and new collectors. Together with its sister organisations across Europe and China, The London Mint Office provides a wide range of coins from ancient to modern, originating from virtually every country in the world. It is also the official coin and medal partner for Waterloo 200, the organisation approved and supported by Government to oversee the commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Visit www.londonmintoffice.org for more information.

The London Mint Office was established in 2006 and since that time has become a UK market leader in the provision of collector coins and medals. The London Mint Office is a member of the Direct Marketing Association in the UK and is an official distributor for many national mints.

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