World Coins

Pobjoy Mint marks ship visit to island on 50-penny coin

The SMS Moltke’s visit to South Georgia 140 years ago is the subject of new 50-penny coins from the Pobjoy Mint.

Images courtesy of the Pobjoy Mint.

The Pobjoy Mint continues its series of 50-penny coins featuring historical ships on behalf of the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands.

The 2022 issue features the wind-assisted steam-powered SMS Moltke, launched in 1877, built for the German Imperial Navy.

Uncirculated copper-nickel and Proof .925 fine silver versions are available for pre-order now, with delivery beginning mid-February.

Ship history

SMS Moltke was a corvette of the Bismarck class that was originally designed to serve as a fleet scout and to go on extended tours of Germany’s colonial empire. In 1882, it was deployed to carry the first German expedition for the International Polar Year to South Georgia.

This expedition, led by Karl Schrader, aimed to spend a year on South Georgia Island making scientific observations on a range of phenomena, including geology, zoology and disturbances in the geomagnetic field. On Aug. 21, 1882, after navigating heavy seas and icebergs, they found a suitable landing site at what is now known as Moltke Harbour near Royal Bay.

German scientists spent 13 months in South Georgia as part of the International Polar Year between 1882 and 1883 where they set up the island’s first scientific research station.

The expedition was supplied with special equipment to enable the crew to obverse the Transit of Venus, which would occur Dec. 6, 1882. This enabled the distance between Earth and the sun to be measured while Venus passed between them.

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


Both coins weigh 8 grams and measure 27.3 millimeters in diameter.

The copper-nickel coin has a mintage limit of 2,750 pieces and retails for $19.95.

The silver coin has a mintage limit of 175 pieces and retails for $69.95.

To order, visit the Pobjoy Mint website,

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