British Overseas Territories South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands have issued a series of coloured titanium coins highlighting the fin whale. The coins are produced y Pobjoy Mint.
The fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) is the second-largest animal in the world after the blue whale. It is the fasting swimming of all the large whales and is often called the ‘greyhound of the seas’. The streamlined shape of this mammal enables it to swim up to speeds of 30 km/h. The species is widely distributed in both hemispheres but is more common in temperate waters, and the Arctic and Antarctic where it feeds during spring and summer before migrating towards temperate waters in the winter where it mates and calves.
Heavily hunted during the industrial whaling period in the first half of the 20th century, fin whales were severely depleted across the world. With an end to commercial whaling, fin whale populations are thought to be in recovery, and the species is now considered vulnerable by the IUCN. However, there is a lack of information on population size, especially at mid-latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, which highlights the need for more research and detailed surveys on this magnificent creature.
The whale is listed under Appendix I and II of the Convention of Migratory Species, which is an environmental treaty that provides a global platform for the conservation of migratory species throughout their ranges. Through sustained international conservation and research efforts, hopefully, the recovery of whale populations will continue and they will be safe for many years to come.
Available in dark blue titanium with the whale itself remaining the natural colour of the titanium metal to replicate the grey colour of the species, the design shows a fin whale swimming in Antarctic waters. The coin is also available in Uncirculated cupro-nickel.
The obverse of the coin carries the exclusive Pobjoy Mint effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.
Due to the difficulty of striking Titanium coins and the fact that titanium reacts differently with every strike, each coin is technically different from all others making each coin one-of-a-kind. There is also a lined effect that is present on the coins that are unique to this metal.