World Coins

Pobjoy Mint commemorates Southern right whale

The Southern right whale appears on new coins issued by the Pobjoy Mint for the British Antarctic Territory.

Coin images courtesy of the Pobjoy Mint.

The Southern right whale is the latest subject of the Pobjoy Mint’s series of coins depicting wildlife.

The new copper-nickel and silver £2 coins are issued in the name of the British Antarctic Territory, since the whales inhabit the oceans surrounding the island. 

The Southern right whale or Eubalaena Australis spends the summer in the far Southern Ocean in proximity to Antarctica where it feeds. 

In winter the species migrates north, but some have been known to spend their winter in Sub-Antarctic regions. The total population of the species is estimated to be around 10,000 individuals.

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These whales grow to become very large in size — an adult female can measure up to 17 meters in length. They are distinguishable from other whale groups by their broad backs with no dorsal fins, their long, arching mouths, and the callouses on their heads.

The Southern right whale forms very strong maternal and family bonds; they follow patterned migration routes and return to birthing spots. They are also very inquisitive at the surface and often approach and investigate boats. One particularly interesting behavior, which is unique to these whales, is known as “tail sailing” where they elevate their tails from the water and curve them to catch the wind. They then remain in these vertical positions for extended periods of time, apparently just playing.

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The obverse features the exclusive Pobjoy Mint effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.

The reverse depicts a single whale in the ocean with an iceberg or land mass in the background.

Both coins weigh 28.28 grams and measure 38.6 millimeters in diameter.

The copper-nickel version has a mintage limit of 10,000 pieces and retails for $16.95.

The silver version is limited to a mintage of 2,000 pieces and retails for $65. 

To order, visit the Pobjoy Mint website

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