World Coins

Pobjoy Mint coins honor age of Antarctic exploration

The third release in the Pobjoy Mint’s series marking the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration shows the “James Caird.” The gold-clad silver £2 version appears here.

Images courtesy of the Pobjoy Mint.

The Pobjoy Mint presents its newest £2 coin release in a series in honor of the “Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration,” the 2022 coins showing the lifeboat used in Sir Ernest Shackleton’s rescue of himself and his men.

The Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration began at the end of the 19th century and ended after World War I. During this heroic age, Antarctica was the focus of international efforts that resulted in intensive scientific and geographic exploration, as many expeditions were launched from several countries.

The common factor in these expeditions was the limited nature of resources available to the explorers, and each expedition was therefore a feat of endurance. The “heroic” label recognizes the adversities these pioneers withstood.

Setting the story

In 1914 Shackleton set sail from South Georgia for his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition aboard the Endurance.

He sailed into the Weddell Sea with the aim of landing the expedition party near Vahsel Bay, from where they would commence their trans-Antarctic crossing.

The Endurance became stuck in the pack ice of the Weddell Sea, drifting north throughout the Antarctic winter before the ship was eventually crushed and sank.

The 28-man crew spent months in makeshift camps on the ice, before taking to lifeboats to reach Elephant Island. With no hope of rescue, Shackleton made the decision to seek help on the island of South Georgia, some 800 miles away.

Of the three lifeboats taken from Endurance, the James Caird was thought most likely to survive the journey. Shackleton had named it after Sir James Key Caird, a Dundee philanthropist who helped finance the expedition.

The James Caird was brought back from the Antarctic to England in 1919, aboard the whaler Woodville, and it is now on display at Dulwich College in London.

Coinage details

The program’s Uncirculated ringed-bimetallic coin and a Proof gold-clad silver version are issued on behalf of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

Their reverses show the moment the James Caird arrived on South Georgia, marking the beginning of the final portion of the successful rescue mission to save the rest of the crew of Endurance.

The obverses features an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II produced exclusively by Pobjoy Mint.

Both coins weigh 12 grams and measure 28.4 millimeters in diameter.

The base metal £2 coin has a mintage limit of 2,022 pieces, and retails for $19.95.

The silver £2 coin is limited to 195 pieces and retails for $69.95

To order, visit the Pobjoy Mint website,

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