2022 Canada $30 The Red Knight Fine Silver (No Tax)
Before the Snowbirds, there was the Red Knight! From 1958 until 1969, the Red Knight delighted spectators across Canada and the United States with awe-inspiring aerobatic displays. The Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) solo jet-aerobatic performer was equipped with the T-33 Silver Star (or “T-Bird”, CT-133) and later, the CT-114 Tutor, which were decked out in a bright colour scheme, iconic red. These aircraft, along with the distinctive knight’s helmet emblem they bore, have been colourfully recreated on this 99.99% pure silver tribute to the legendary (and much loved) Red Knight, whose show-stopping manoeuvres inspired a generation of air enthusiasts and enriched Canada’s aviation heritage.
A forerunner of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, the Red Knight originated in Trenton, Ontario, and was active from 1958 to 1969. Although it was originally authorized to perform in just three air shows, the Royal Canadian Air Force Training Command’s solo aerobatic performer proved to be a hit with spectators and went on to make more than 600 air show appearances throughout its 12-year run. Its ability to perform manoeuvres within the confines of an airfield made it well suited for air shows in small communities and venues that could not accommodate larger display teams.
For the first three years, the Red Knight consisted of a single aircraft, a pilot and a support technician. Ultimately, a total of 17 pilots and two aircraft types—the T-33 from 1958 to mid-1968 and the Tutor in 1968 and 1969—took up the mantle of the Red Knight. The base of operations moved to RCAF Station Saskatoon in 1959, RCAF Station Portage la Prairie in 1961 and RCAF Station Moose Jaw in 1964 before returning to CFB Portage la Prairie in 1967. At the end of that air show season, the Red Knight was awarded the Centennial Medal for its “valuable service to the nation” after completing more than 100 performances, including fly-pasts and air shows alongside the Canadian Armed Forces Golden Centennaires during Expo 67.
Budget cuts and a fatal accident resulted in the program’s untimely cancellation in early 1970. But the Red Knight will always hold a special place in Canadian aviation history as a prolific performer and one of the longest-running military aerobatic displays—in fact, its total number of performances is third only to today’s Snowbirds and CF-18 solo aerobatic displays which have been ongoing since 1971 and 1983 respectively.
The coin’s reverse was designed by artist David Oram and pays tribute to the Red Knight, the Royal Canadian Air Force Training Command’s famous aerobatic performer from 1958 to 1969. Historical liaison was provided by authors J.C. Corrigan and D.V. Dempsey. To represent that timespan, the Canadair-built T-33 Silver Star is shown performing a manoeuvre alongside its eventual replacement, the Canadair-designed and built CT-114 Tutor (background). Accompanied by the red, gold and white Red Knight emblem, both aircraft are painted in their distinctive red colour schemes of the 1960s and set against the RCAF Roundel’s (pre-1965) maple leaf. The obverse features the repeating laser-engraved Red Knight emblem and the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.
Item Number: 205231
Composition: 99.99% pure silver
Weight: 62.69 g
Diameter: 50 mm
Face Value: $30
Artist: David Oram (reverse), Susanna Blunt (Obverse)
• A salute to the Red Knight! A legend among aviation enthusiasts and air show spectators, the Red Knight (1958-1969) is best remembered for incredible solo performances in the skies above large and small communities across Canada and the United States. This coin pays tribute to the Red Knight’s legacy, and to its outstanding contribution to the RCAF and Canadian aviation history.
• The Royal Canadian Mint's first Red Knight Coin! The stories of Canadian aerobatic display teams—including the Snowbirds and Golden Hawks featured on previous coins—are connected to one another. This coin shines the spotlight on the Red Knight, which has never been depicted on a Canadian coin... until now!
• Vintage colours! The Red Knight’s bright paint scheme and markings made it easy to spot, and its distinctive red colour has been recreated on this selectively coloured coin which has been crafted in 2 oz. of 99.99% fine silver.
• Includes Red Knight emblem! The emblem of the Red Knight is also featured on this coin! The Red Knight’s helmet with golden plume was displayed on the aircraft’s nose from 1961 to 1969. The emblem is also subtly laser-engraved on the coin’s obverse, where this repeating element catches the light when the coin is tipped.
• A mix of frostings! The colour-over-engraved elements make a vivid impression on the coin’s reverse, where they’re set against the maple leaf backdrop and surrounded by a mirror finish. For an extra touch of drama, a more matte frosting sets the Red Knight’s white smoke trails apart!
• Loaded with History! Why are two planes featured on this tribute to the RCAF’s solo performer? The aircraft on your coin’s reverse represent the two aircraft types that each served as the mount of the Red Knight: the T-33 from 1958 to 1968, and the Tutor in 1968 and 1969. The maple leaf backdrop is also historic: it is based on the pre-1965 RCAF Roundel, which can be seen on the T-33’s fuselage and wings in this design.
• Low mintage! If you missed out on the Royal Canadian Mint's 2021 Snowbirds and Avro Arrow coins, or if you’re looking for another aviation-themed piece to include in your collection, this is the coin to get in 2022! But mintage is limited to just 6,500 coins, so don’t wait—order today!
The coin comes encapsulated and presented in a black Royal Canadian Mint-branded clamshell with a black beauty box.
Paint scheme and aircraft markings of the Red Knight T-33 and Tutor used with the permission of the Department of National Defence.