World Coins

British Royal Mail ship featured in Pobjoy Mint series

The RMS “Rhone” is the latest subject of a commemorative dollar from British Virgin Islands and the Pobjoy Mint.

All images courtesy of the Pobjoy Mint.

The latest dollar coin in the Pobjoy Mint’s series featuring ships connected to the British Virgin Islands is now available.

The fourth coin in the collection features the mailing ship RMS Rhone, a British Royal Mail ship owned by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company.

The reverse of the coin shows the ship sailing in the foreground with the map of the British Virgin Islands in the background. The obverse of the coin features an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II produced exclusively by Pobjoy Mint.

Ship’s history

In June 1863 RMSP ordered the build of the RMS Rhone from the Millwall Iron Works on the Isle of Dogs, London, and its sister ship Douro from Caird & Company in Greenock. The pair were similar but not identical. Both were handsome ships, but Rhone was considered to have slightly finer lines, according to the Pobjoy Mint.

RMS Rhone was a sail-steamer ship, rigged as a two-masted brig but was also an innovative ship. It had a bronze propeller, which was only the second ever made of this alloy at the time. The Rhone also had a surface condenser, to save and re-use water in its boilers and steam engine. The Rhone was the first ship so equipped to visit Brazil, so in port in 1865 the Emperor of Brazil, Pedro II, came aboard and visited its engine room to see it, Pobjoy said.

RMSP ships carried mail, passengers, horses and other cargo on regular scheduled routes. RMS Rhone’s first services had been between Southampton and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil until January 1867, when it was transferred to the Caribbean route, which at the time was more lucrative and prestigious.

After only 10 months of service in the Caribbean, RMS Rhone wrecked off the coast of Salt Island in the British Virgin Islands on Oct. 29, 1867, in a hurricane.

The wreck is now a popular diving site, and the area around the wreck was turned into a national park in 1980.

Rhone National Park has received a number of citations and awards over the years as one of the top recreational wreck dives in the Caribbean, both for its historical interest and teeming marine life, and also because of the open and relatively safe nature of the wreckage.


The coin is available in virenium, an alloy developed by Pobjoy Mint, which is light gold in color.

The Uncirculated coin weighs 8 grams and measures 28.4 millimeters in diameter. It has an issue limit of 1,950 pieces and retails for $14.95 each, with varying packaging options available.

To order, visit the Pobjoy Mint’s website,

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