The last of the six new releases from the Pobjoy Mint to be covered in our week long series, we’re heading back to the South Atlantic island group of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. There’s more about the islands in our earlier post, but this coin marks the 30th anniversary of the islands receiving their Coat of Arms. Granted in 1985 when they stopped being a dependency of the Falkland Islands and became an entity in their own right, the islands are now officially a British Overseas Territory.
Most of us think of a Coat-of-Arms in medieval European terms, full of weapons, armour and wild animals. Most depict an idealistic desire to present an image of strength and power. The one for South Georgia is a different animal, belonging to the realistic school, and it’s a fine example of the type. When you think of the islands, obviously post-1982 before which everyone thought it was in Eastern Europe, you think of Antarctic conditions, penguins and whales etc. The arms incorporate much of this and offers a view that strengthens what little we all admit to knowing about the place. The penguin, seal and reindeer are archetypical polar environmental icons. The lion rampant on the shield shouts Britain, while the motto states firmly that it will remain so, no doubt a message felt necessary after the Argentine invasion and subsequent war just three years previously.
The coin is a straightforward affair and depicts the subject outright. Seems to work well and we’re glad they resisted the urge to cover the coin in ink by colouring it. Proof struck in one standard ounce of sterling silver, it sells for £58.29 plus tax, but a cupro-nickel version with an unlimited mintage is also available for £12.46 + tax.