The government and Treasury of the British Virgin Islands have issued (17th January) a new $5 coin, struck in titanium, that features one of the sea’s more distinctive and beautiful inhabitants: the blue marlin. The Atlantic blue marlin, or Makaira nigricans, to be more accurate, is a species of marlin endemic to the Atlantic Ocean. One of the open ocean’s fastest, strongest predators, it is also one of the most highly sought-after game fish. They are able to both swim close to the surface and dive to the great depths while in search of food.
Known for the distinctive long bill that grows from the front of its head, the blue marlin uses this bill to stun its target by slashing and dicing it with a side-to-side motion. This knocks the potential prey unconscious, making it easier to catch. Blue marlins are known to reach weights of 1,800 pounds (820 kilograms) and lengths of more than 16 feet (5 metres), and as such, they are one of the largest species of bony fishes. Blue marlins undergo an amazing transformation in size. Each begins as a tiny egg about a millimetre in length; the emerging young live and feed among plankton, and grow as much as 16 millimetres a day. In two years they mature into the largest of the Atlantic marlins, and one of the largest open-ocean predators. They eat a wide variety of prey throughout their lifetimes, with the size of their prey increasing as they grow. Luckily, the adult blue marlin is not eaten by anything other than large open-ocean shark species. The female blue marlin will spawn sometimes four times in one season, releasing as many as seven million eggs each time. Although they are not currently an endangered species, there is some concern that unless they are fished in a sustainable way the Atlantic marlin may experience scarcity in the coming years.
The Blue Marlin coins are produced in two versions by the Pobjoy Mint, United Kingdom, on behalf of the government and Treasury of the British Virgin Islands. The reverse design shows a blue marlin frolicking in the tropical waters, with the denomination positioned to the right in the field and the rays of the sun above.
The obverse of the coin features an effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II that is an exclusive design of the Pobjoy Mint.
|$1||Cupro-nickel||28 g||38.6 mm||Brilliant Unc.||10,000|
|$5||Titanium||10 g||36.1 mm||Uncirculated||7,500|
The issue coincides with the 225th anniversary of the discovery of the metal titanium. The $1 coin is produced in Uncirculated cupro-nickel, while the $5 coin is produced in blue-tinted titanium to mimic the cobalt-blue of the fish’s body colour. Titanium reacts differently with every strike, producing a lined effect that is unique to this metal. As a result, each Blue Marlin coin is technically different from every other one.
The cupro-nickel coin is presented in a branded blue presentation pouch. The titanium coin is enclosed in an acrylic capsule for protection and housed in a stunning red box with a certificate of authenticity. For more information on this and other coins issued by the government and Treasury of the British Virgin Islands, please visit the website of the Pobjoy Mint, currently the only manufacturer of titanium coins. ❑