World Coins

Coins celebrate Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s successful Endurance expedition, so named for the ship it started with, is considered by some to be the last major expedition of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

The official name is the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The Pobjoy Mint has struck coins honoring the expedition for South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands. 

By 1914 both North and South Poles had been reached, so Shackleton set his sights on being the first to traverse Antarctica. 

He arrived at South Georgia on Nov. 5, 1914, and after a month-long stop at Grytviken whaling station the expedition sailed into the Weddell Sea, aiming to cross the Antarctic continent to the Ross Sea, where they would be met by the Ross Sea party aboard the Aurora. Eighteen months later Shackleton returned to South Georgia, albeit in very different circumstances.

The Endurance had been lost in the ice and its 28-man complement had spent months in makeshift camps before taking lifeboats to reach Elephant Island. From there, Shackleton and five companions made a 1,300-kilometer boat journey aboard the James Caird to King Haakon Bay, South Georgia.

After a short period of recuperation Shackleton, Tom Crean and Frank Worsley crossed South Georgia on foot to Stromness whaling station, arriving May 20. 

Shackleton then began his ultimately successful efforts to rescue his men on Elephant Island. After four attempts in different vessels, Shackleton was able to rescue the men waiting on Elephant Island who were brought home aboard the Chilean steamer Yelcho without loss of life.

Uncirculated copper-nickel and Proof .925 fine silver £2 coins carry a common design honoring the Endurance and Shackleton. The reverse shows Endurance stuck in the ice in the background with the crew pulling a sled on the ice pack in the foreground.

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

Both coins weigh 28.28 grams and measure 38.6 millimeters in diameter. The copper-nickel coin is shipped in a blue presentation pouch. 

The silver coin is shipped encapsulated in an acrylic capsule for protection and housed in a red box with a certificate of authenticity.The copper-nickel coin has a mintage limit of 10,000 pieces and retails for $16.95.

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

To order, visit the Pobjoy Mint website

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