World Coins

Crabeater seal latest creature on colorful coins

The British Antarctic Territory and the Pobjoy Mint have issued another colorful titanium £2 coin, showing the crabeater seal. A copper-nickel version, left, is also available.

Coin images courtesy of the Pobjoy Mint.

The Pobjoy Mint’s colorful titanium animal coin series continues with a new coin for the crabeater seal.

This £2 coin is issued on behalf of the British Antarctic Territory and features a mother seal and her pup resting on the pack ice while the father leaves to hunt.

The crabeater seal or Lobodon carcinophaga is found in a circumpolar distribution around the coast of Antarctica and is a mammal that, despite its name, does not feed on crabs. 

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Its diet includes other crustaceans such as krill, which the seal, with their specially adapted sieve like teeth, are very proficient at hunting. The crabeater seal is by far the world’s most abundant seal and there are more than 7 million animals.

Crabeaters move in a fashion similar to snakes and can reach speeds of  26 kilometers per hour (16 miles per hour) on land over short distances. In the water they can swim at speeds of up to 12 kilometers per hour  and cover more than 60 kilometers in a day. They congregate on the ice in groups of up to 1,000 individuals and in the water can be found swimming in unison in groups of several hundred.

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The crabeater pups are large babies and at birth they weigh 20 to 30 kilograms and measure about 120 centimeters in length. During their nursing period they grow at an incredibly fast rate of up to 4 kilograms per day and can weigh more than 100 kilograms by the time they are just two to three weeks old. 

The pups are also an important part of the diet of the leopard seal and 80 percent of all pups share this fate. Seals of all ages are also hunted by killer whales; this normally occurs in open water but occasions have also been documented where the killer whales coordinate an attack, creating waves of water to knock the seals off of floating ice.

Because titanium reacts differently with every strike, each titanium coin is different and varies slightly in color.

In addition to the titanium coin, the Pobjoy Mint has issued a copper-nickel version.

The .990 fine titanium version weighs 10 grams and measures 36.1 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage limit of 7,500 pieces and retails for $59.

The copper-nickel coin weighs 28.28 grams and measures 38.6 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage limit of 10,000 pieces and retails for $16.95.

To order, or for more information, visit the Pobjoy Mint website

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