Australian Antarctic Skua Coin Unveiled: 2008 Polar Series Coins Mark 4th International Polar Year

by on February 6, 2008 · 0 comments

The Royal Australian Mint has announced the start of the 2008 Polar Series coins, which mark the 4th International Polar Year – a large scientific programme focused on the Arctic and the Antarctic.

This 2008 $5 Polar Antarctic Territory Silver Proof Coin is the first in a series of three $5 proof coins in the Polar Series, marking the 4th International Polar Year.

The first in a series of three $5 silver proof coins was revealed in Hobart on Feb. 1, 2008, at the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), an agency of the Department of the Environment and Water Resources that ensures Australia’s Antarctic interests are advanced. The first coin looks stunning, making for a promising series of coins.

Antarctic Skua coin design features

The obverse or tails of the coin portrays the Antarctic Skua in flight. These large heavily built birds are closely related to members of the gull family and have a reputation of being fiercely predatory, earning the nickname "raptor of the south". The Skua on the coin is said to symbolise,


"the need for strong survival instincts in order to live in the harsh Antarctic environment"


Behind the Skua is an image showing the Australian Antarctic Territory and several points reflecting Australian scientific research stations.


Official ceremony, attendees and coin comments

Senator Nick Sherry, the Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law and responsible for the Royal Australian Mint, introduced the coin and commented:


“The Polar Series of coins marks The 4th International Polar Year 2007-2008. Australia has a proud history of exploration and ongoing involvement in Antarctica, and it is fantastic that the Royal Australian Mint, working with The Royal Society of Victoria, has produced Australia’s coins as part of an international program where a number of countries have issued silver proof coins commemorating the International Polar Year.”

“The series of IPY coins is a fitting means by which the Australian community can commemorate the International Polar Year 2007-2008 and the hard work and dedication of the many Australians who have explored and studied Antarctica”


Joining Minister Sherry at the ceremony was Captain Bill McAuley, Vice President of The RSV, Mr David Dodd, The Society’s IPY (International Polar Year) Science Programme Advisor, Ms Virginia Mudie, Acting Director of the AAD and Professor Michael Stoddart, Chief Scientist at the AAD and Ms Janine Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Australian Mint.

Captain McAuley is the Leader of The RSV’s polar expedition (RSV – INTREPID) which is planned to depart for The Antarctic in December. Professor Stoddart is the leader of another major IPY project – the Census of Antarctic Marine Life.

Specifications, price and order information for 2008 $5 Silver Proof Skua coin:

The Proof Skua coin is available for:

  • GST Price: $65 (AUD)
  • International Price: 59.09 (AUD)

The coins may be ordered online through the Royal Australian Mint page:

2008 $5 Silver Proof Coin

The coin specifications are listed as:

Denomination $5
Metal Ag 99.9%
Mass 1 Troy oz
Diameter 38.74mm
Finish Proof
Mintage 12,500
Designer W. Pietranik


About the Royal Australian Mint

His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, officially opened the Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, on Monday 22nd February 1965. The Mint was commissioned to produce Australia’s decimal coinage, which was to be introduced into circulation on 14th February 1966. The Royal Australian Mint holds a place in history as the first mint in Australia not to be a branch of the Royal Mint, London.

Since opening in 1965 the Mint has produced over eleven billion circulating coins and has the capacity to produce over two million coins per day, or over six hundred million coins per year.

The Royal Australian Mint has struck coins for a number of South Pacific nations. Export coins were first struck in 1969 for New Zealand and, since then, coins have been produced for Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Western Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, Bangladesh, Israel and Tokelau.


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