South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands: Blue Whale Features on Latest Titanium “Marine Life” Coin

The government and treasury of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands have issued three new coins in the ongoing Marine Life series, which features some the most amazing wildlife found in and around the South Atlantic Ocean. The territory issued a similar design featuring the Blue Whale on a 2013 crown coin, which sold out its entire mintage in all options.

Blue whales are the largest animals ever known to have lived on Earth. At up to 100 feet in length and weighing upwards of 200 tons, these magnificent marine mammals rule the oceans. Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant, and their hearts, as much as an automobile. They have a broad, flat head and a long, tapered body that ends in wide, triangular flukes. They reach their mind-boggling dimensions on a diet composed nearly exclusively of tiny shrimplike animals called “krill.” This is probably fortunate for the blue whale—although their mouths are large enough to hold up to 90 metric tons of food and water, they cannot swallow anything larger than a beach ball. During certain times of the year, a single adult blue whale consumes about 4 tons of krill a day.

The blue whale’s color appears true blue underwater, but when they rise to the surface their coloring is more a mottled blue-gray. Their underbellies take on a yellowish hue from the millions of microorganisms that take up residence in their skin. Blue whales live in all the world’s oceans, occasionally swimming in small groups but usually living alone or in pairs. They often spend summers feeding in polar waters and undertake lengthy migrations toward the Equator as winter arrives. They are the loudest animals on Earth and are even louder than a jet engine. Their calls reach 188 decibels, while a jet reaches 140 decibels. Their low-frequency whistle can be heard for hundreds of miles and is probably used to attract other blue whales.

The largest blue whale ever measured was a female found near Grytviken in South Georgia in 1909. She was 33.85 meters (111 feet) long. According to information published by the World Wildlife Fund, blue whales, like other large whales, are threatened by environmental change, including habitat loss and toxics. Blue whales can also be harmed by ship strikes and by becoming entangled in fishing gear. Although commercial whaling no longer represents a threat, climate change and its impact on krill, blue whales’ major prey, makes their predominant food source particularly vulnerable.

The coin is produced in three versions by the Pobjoy Mint, U.K., on behalf of the government and treasury of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The reverse design shows an adult blue whale with her calf swimming in the sea surrounded by small fish, with the sea bed below and the water line above. The adult whale’s tail fin appears above the water line in front of the rising sun.

The obverse of the coin features an effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II that is an exclusive design of the Pobjoy Mint.

Denom.

Metal

Weight

Diameter

Quality

Mintage Limit

£2

Titanium

10 g

36.1 mm

Uncirculated

7,500

£2

Cupro-nickel

28.2 g

38.6 mm

Brilliant Uncirculated

10,000

£2

.925 silver

28.2 g

38.6 mm

Proof

2,000



The coin is produced in cupro-nickel (Brilliant Uncirculated), sterling silver (Proof), and titanium (Uncirculated). Titanium reacts differently with every strike, producing a lined effect that is unique to this metal. As a result, each Blue Whale coin is technically different from every other one.

The sterling silver and titanium coins are 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 treasury of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, please visit the website of the Pobjoy Mint, which is currently the only manufacturer of titanium coins.  ❑

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