British Indian Ocean Territory: Impressive coconut crab features on new titanium crown coin

Background photo by Brocken Inaglory.

The government and treasury of the British Indian Ocean Territory have issued (16th January) a new crown coin produced in both titanium and cupro-nickel which focuses on one of the most curious indigenous animals that are widely found in the region: The coconut crab.

One the world’s largest land arthropods, coconut crabs are famous for their massive size, weighing over four kilograms (nearly nine pounds) and with a leg span that can reach over one metre (just over three feet). This makes these crabs the largest land-living arthropods in the world. They are found throughout Indonesia, the Indian Ocean, and parts of the Pacific. Although their name suggests that they primarily feed on coconuts, this is not the case, and coconuts make up only a small portion of their diet. They can, however, be found climbing the coconut palms and occasionally using broken coconut shells as protection.

Recent footage has shown a coconut crab hunting a seabird, and once it gets a hold of the bird, its powerful claws easily break the bird’s wings. When more crabs smell the kill, they descend on the defenceless bird. Unfortunately, coconut crabs have themselves been extensively hunted on islands where there is a human population, as their flesh is considered both a delicacy and an aphrodisiac. When the tables are turned and they manage to pinch a human, they can cause considerable pain and will not release their grip for some time. One technique used to free someone from their powerful grip is to actually attempt to tickle their underbelly.

Brilliant Uncirculated cupro-nickel coin. Hover to zoom.

Brilliant Uncirculated golden brown titanium coin.

The coin is produced by the Pobjoy Mint on behalf of the treasury of the British Indian Ocean Territory. The reverse design shows two large coconut crabs, one on the ground feasting on the flesh of a coconut and the other climbing a coconut palm tree. The denomination is shown as £2, which is placed below the primary design.

Brilliant Uncirculated cupro-nickel coin.

Brilliant Uncirculated golden brown titanium coin.

The obverse features an exceptionally detailed effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II, which is an exclusive design of the Pobjoy Mint. The issuing authority of the British Indian Ocean Territory is included in the legend placed around the Queen’s portrait along with the year of issue.



Weight Diameter Quality

Maximum Mintage

2 pounds


10 g 36.1 mm Brilliant Unc.


2 pounds


28 g 38.6 mm Brilliant Unc.


The new collector’s coin is struck in both cupro-nickel and golden brown titanium. As titanium reacts differently with every strike, a lined effect is present on the coins (which is unique to this metal), making each of these coins technically different and possess a slight variation in colour. The titanium coin is encapsulated and presented in a custom case along with a certificate of authenticity. The cupro-nickel coin is housed in a soft-material pouch. For additional information on these and other coins issued from the treasury of the British Indian Ocean Territory, please visit the website of the Pobjoy Mint. A deep blue titanium manta ray coin is also available from the Pobjoy Mint at this time.

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