- New 50 Pence coin commemorates the Centenary of Shackleton with the ship from his final expedition, Quest.
- Produced in Unc. Cupro Nickel Diamond Finish with a low issue limit of only 2,750 and presented in special color pack
- Also available in Proof Sterling Silver with an exceptionally low issue limit of only 175
The Pobjoy Mint series of 50 pence coins featuring historical ships has proven to be extremely popular and we are therefore delighted to announce the release of a further coin in the series on behalf of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
The coin features the schooner-rigged steamship Quest, which sailed from 1917 until sinking in 1962. Quest is best known as the polar exploration vessel of the Shackleton-Rowlett Expedition of 1921-1922. It was aboard this vessel that Sir Ernest Shackleton undertook his last expedition.
Originally built in Norway as the wooden-hulled sealer Foca I in 1917, Shackleton purchased the ship in January 1921 together with other equipment and began the process of hiring a crew with the help of his old school-friend John Quiller Rowett, and by March 1921 it had been renamed Quest.
Shackleton’s final expedition originally intended to go to the Arctic to explore the Beaufort Sea, but this plan was abandoned and the target changed to a circumnavigation of the Antarctic, which would include exploration of the little known and sub-Antarctic islands. Sailing from London for the Southern Ocean on September 17, 1921, the crew included eight of Shackleton’s shipmates from the famous Endurance Expedition. Quest reached South Georgia on January 4, 1922. The following night, before the expedition’s work could properly begin, Shackleton unexpectedly passed away aboard the vessel while she was at anchor in Grytviken.
Shackleton was ultimately buried at the cemetery at Grytviken whaling station on March 5 and the ceremony was attended by hundreds of whalers and seamen. Today, visitors still flock to the site to pay their final respects to ‘The Boss’.
The major part of the subsequent attenuated expedition was a three-month cruise to the eastern Antarctic, under the leadership of the party’s second-in-command, Frank Wild. Quest carried out a desultory survey of the Weddell Sea area before returning to the South Atlantic.
Quest returned to service as a sealing vessel after 1930. During World War II, the wooden-hulled vessel was pressed into service as a minesweeper and light cargo vessel. The small ship returned to sealing duties in 1946 but on May 5, 1962, while on a seal-hunting expedition, Quest was holed by ice and sank off the north coast of Labrador. Parts of the former deckhouse, including Shackleton’s quarters in 1921–1922, survive and, as of 2021 are in the Athy Heritage Center Museum in Ireland.
The obverse of the coin features an effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II produced exclusively by Pobjoy Mint.
The Cupro Nickel Diamond Finish coin is available in a special pack. The Proof Sterling Silver Coin is presented in an acrylic box with a special presentation sleeve.
Make sure to visit the Pobjoy Mint’s CoinWeek Page for more product information and offers
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