Ducati honoured by Italian Mint
I have visited Italy many times and that has often given me reason to compare how the Italians cherish and nurture their industrial base with pride, in comparison to our general lack of interest in manufacturing anything in this country.
One particular case in point is the Lingotto building in Via Nizza. This building was built more than 100 years ago, and for much of its life served as a factory for Fiat. At one time, this facility was the largest car factory in the world. Eventually, modern production methods saw Fiat have to move to new premises.
The old Fiat building, which I have had the honour of pulling wheelies on the roof of, was repurposed. One half now serves as the Automotive Engineering faculty of the Polytechnic University of Turin, while the remainder was rebuilt into a modern complex, with concert halls, theatre, a convention centre, shopping arcades and a hotel. The whole facility is a delight in the way modern design and utility has been built into the old factory.
Where on the event of Ford and General Motors Holden effectively ceasing production in Australia and closing their manufacturing plants there was no real vision to repurpose these facilities, the Italians had already shown what could be done decades earlier. What did we do here with old Ford and Holden plants, well pretty much nothing… Oh wait, one did get turned into a mushroom farm…
Why do I mention this here, well it is a case in point that illustrates the way Italy really values their industrial manufacturing base. Thus, when the news broke overnight that the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance are honouring Ducati with their 2024 Numismatic Collection minting silver coins dedicated to Ducati, it hardly came as a surprise.
Curated by artist Antonio Vecchio, the commemorative silver triptych consists of three 5-euro coins showing on the front sides a historical view of the Ducati factory in Borgo Panigale (Bologna), on the right the brand logo, and around the scene the inscription “Repubblica Italiana”.
The reverse of the coins alternates between three distinct designs, offering an overview of the Italian motorcycle manufacturer’s evolution through its most significant motorcycles.
Specifically, the first shows the 1949 Ducati 60, the first Ducati motorcycle entirely produced in Borgo Panigale. The second has as its subject the Ducati 916, the masterpiece created in 1994 by designer Massimo Tamburini that, even today, is considered as the symbol of beauty applied to two wheels. Lastly, the third reverse portrays the iconic Panigale V4, which represents the most technological and sophisticated superbike in Ducati’s range. In the triptych version each of the three bikes is painted in Red, Ducati’s signature colour. Coins sold individually, instead, will have the colouring on the obverse, which means on the Ducati logo.
The coins feature the year of issue 2024 on the right. At the bottom are placed the numerical value of 5 Euro and the identifier of the Rome Mint, represented by the letter “R”. On the left side, in the lap of the coins, is placed the signature of the artist “A. Vecchio”, while at the top, in a curvilinear way, is engraved the inscription “Ducati.”
The coins will be issued on June 20 and will be available for purchase starting March 5. And yes, I know we have had Ford and Holden commemorative coins minted in Australia, and I guess the Mint is one of few manufacturing facilities left in this country…