Final £2 Coin in Exploration Series Features the Antarctic

  • Bi-metal coin available in special color pack – only 2,022 available
  • Also produced in Proof Fine Silver with Goldclad® surround in a small issue limit of only 195

The Pobjoy Mint is delighted to announce the release of a brand new £2 celebrating 100 years since the end of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

The Antarctic was a Swedish Steamship built in Drammen, Norway in 1871. The ship was originally built and used for activities such as seal hunting across areas such as Greenland. However, Otto Nordenskjold purchased the Antarctic in 1900 for use in his exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula region.

The Swedish Antarctic Expedition, led by Nordenskjold, has often been distinguished by the sheer volume of its scientific findings and overcoming of substantial difficulties. The Antarctic and its 23 crew members set sail heading south from Gothenburg in Sweden to the Antarctic Peninsula on October 16, 1901, with the aim of establishing a station in Antarctica as far south as they could possibly travel prior to the arrival of the harsh winter months.

Due to pressing time as the result of excessive stops and detours to pick up various materials, supplies, and additional crew members, the expedition was forced to sail north abandoning their original plans of proceeding further south, and with winter drawing in, the crew set sight for land leading them to Snow Hill Island in Antarctica. Once Antarctic had arrived and the crew had disembarked on the island with their supplies and materials, the ship was then sailed to the Falkland Islands, not to return to Snow Hill Island until February the following year. It wasn’t long before it became very clear that the once idyllic settlement in the Antarctic station was in fact an incredibly exposed storm-prone island, which caused many challenges for the crew.

The crew remained busy with scientific studies of South Georgia and Tierra del Fuego throughout the winter. On South Georgia, one of the largest glaciers on the island was subsequently named after Nordenskjold in recognition of the contribution made by the explorer to the exploration and scientific understanding of the region.

After the winter, the crew of Antarctic had their sights set on the ice breaking up so the ship could return to Snow Hill Island and transport the shore party home. However, little did they know this would not be the case. As the months rolled by to January the ice was still yet to break up, then come February a devastating storm from the south re-froze the ice, sealing them in once again.

After a long wait, on November 8, 1903, the Antarctic set sail, manned by Captain Larsen and six fellow crew members, the ship finally returned to the island, much to the relief of Nordenskjold. The expedition group left Snow Hill and began their journey across the sea-ice to Uruguay. Not long into their voyage, tragedy struck when the pressure of the surrounding ice soon became too much for the Antarctic, slowly crushing the ship’s planks, causing substantial damage and holding the ship captive for days. This eventually led to its sinking on February 12, 1903.

Nordenskjold and his party were yet again forced to winter in the Peninsula, until November 1903 when the team was rescued by an Argentine vessel.

The Antarctic remains one of the many sailing ships to have sunk off the coast of the northeastern end of the Antarctic Peninsula, and to this day Nordenskjold’s ship remains intact laying on the bed of the Weddell Sea floor. The coin features the Antarctic ship and its leader Otto Nordenskjold. Issued on behalf of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the coin has been produced in Bi-metal and Proof Fine Silver with Goldclad.

The obverse of the coin features an effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II produced exclusively by Pobjoy Mint.

Presentation

The Bi-Metal coin is presented in a special presentation pack. The Proof Fine Silver coin is presented in a red box complimented with a sleeve using the special design.

Coin Specifications

Metal: Fine Silver with Goldclad; Bimetallic
Diameter: 28.40 mm
Weight: 12.00 g
Issue Limit: Silver: 195; Bimetallic: 2,022

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