The government and Treasury of the British Indian Ocean Territory have issued (15th March) two new crown coins, their first-ever produced in coloured titanium. The coins, befittingly, feature one of the territory’s most familiar reptilian residents, the green turtle. Also known by its scientific name, Chelonia mydas, this large sea turtle takes its name not from its shell, which is brown to black in colour, but from the color of the fat found beneath its carapace. These migratory herbivores often inhabit shallow lagoons but also travel long distances between feeding and nesting grounds. One of the places green turtles can be found nesting is on the beaches of the Chagos Islands, specifically Diego Garcia, which is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory.
Between 400 and 800 of these majestic animals nest annually throughout the Chagos and are well protected. This protection is most evident in Diego Garcia, where approximately 50 percent of the whole island is a protected nature reserve. It is here that the adult females can lay their eggs without the threat of human intervention. The green turtle’s diet changes as it grows. As juveniles they are carnivorous, but as they mature their diet changes to include more and more vegetation. Fully mature adults are often strict herbivores. The turtles’ feeding trips usually last about 5 minutes, but they can actually hold their breath underwater for up to 5 hours.
The coins are produced by the Pobjoy Mint, United Kingdom, on behalf of the government and Treasury of the British Indian Ocean Territory. The reverse design, which is shared by both the green-shaded titanium and the cupro-nickel versions, depicts a pair of turtles swimming in unison with the sun warming their shells.
The obverse features the Pobjoy Mint’s exclusive effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II, along with the year of issue.
|£2||Titanium||10 g||38.1 mm||Brilliant Unc.||7,500|
|£2||Cupro-nickel||28.2 g||38.6 mm||Brilliant Unc.||10,000|
As titanium reacts differently with every strike, each Green Turtle coin is technically different from all others and varies slightly in colour. There is also a lined effect present on the coins that is unique to this metal. The minting process has managed to capture a high level of detail on the shells of the turtles—a feat that is especially difficult on titanium coins, due to the hardness of the metal.
The cupro-nickel coin is shipped in a Pobjoy Mint branded blue presentation pouch. The titanium coin is shipped encapsulated in an acrylic capsule for protection and housed in a stunning red box with a certificate of authenticity. For additional information on this and other coins issued by the government and Treasury of the British Indian Ocean Territory, please visit the website of the Pobjoy Mint. ❑