It was thirty five years ago that Argentina landed forces on South Georgia and then shortly after, the Falkland Islands. Both British Overseas Territorries, the Argentine government believed that Britain would not, or could not retake them. Ruled by a military junta, Argentina was rife with domestic problems and the invasion was also seen as a way to distract the increasingly disgruntled population. They were wrong on all counts.
The invasion took place on 2 April 1982. Just three days later, a Task Force that eventually numbered over 120 vessels set sail for the islands. The conflict lasted 74 days and eventually led to the complete unconditional surrender of the Argentine forces on 14 June 1982. Losses on both sides during the air-land-sea conflict totalled 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel, and 3 Falkland Islanders. It marked the only time that a nuclear submarine had sunk a surface warship, when HMS Conqueror sank the light cruiser General Belgrano. It also led to the demise of General Galtieri’s military government. The islands remain a bone of contention between the two countries, but are firmly under British influence now.
The coin is another of Pobjoy’s limited run reverse-proof silver bullion coins, much like the Pegasus and JFK coins, amongst others. This one combines a popular Pobjoy theme with one of the client countries they issue for. The Falkland Islands Britannia is issued for the invaded state and depicts an icon that is as British as Walking Liberty is American – Britannia. Wearing the traditional headgear and robe, carrying the trident and with stormy waves in the background, it’s a classic depiction and potentially a fine one (the release images are pretty poor). We look forward to seeing the finished item.
The obverse has Pobjoy’s own effigy of Queen Elizabeth II surrounded by a border holding the issuer and date inscriptions. The denomination and composition are inscribed on the reverse face, along with the classic patriotic text ‘BRITANNIA RULES THE WAVES’. Struck in an ounce of fine 0.999 silver, the reverse-proof style coin has a mintage limited to 50,000 pieces. Individual coins are supplied in a heat-sealed pack, although we suspect that some dealers will put them in capsules. They should be available from tomorrow.