Silver and gold coins were issued Wednesday by Ireland’s Central Bank to commemorate the adventurous feats by Antarctic explorers Earnest Shackleton and Tom Crean, and celebrate the International Polar Year.
The proof collector €5 and €100 coins feature the two historic Irish explorers with their ship ‘The Endurance’ backdropped within the steel grips of Antarctic ice.
Shackleton and Crean ‘The Endurance’ Expedition Background
In a remarkable story, in 1915 the pair set off to cross the Antarctica via the South Pole on an expedition that soon became a near hopeless battle for survival.
During the journey, The Endurance became wedged. The vessel could not shake the clutches of the South Pole ice, and eventually sank 10 months later.
Shackleton, Crean and crew were forced onto floating ice where they lived for many months until conditions improved where they could use three small boats to make their way to Elephant Island. The pair and four others then took one of the boats and crossed 800 miles (1,280 km) of treacherous seas in 16 days to reach South Georgia and help for the rest of the crew. No one in the expedition died.
Silver and Gold Antarctic Explorer Coin Information
The following coin information was provided in a release statement by Ireland’s Central Bank:
This is the first time the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland has issued a half troy ounce (15.55 grams in weight) gold coin denominated in Euro, with a legal tender denomination of €100.
In keeping with tradition, the national side of the coin depicts the 14 string Irish harp modelled on the ‘Brian Boru’ harp in Trinity College, Dublin. As an addition to the national side of the coin, a laurel wreath, a traditional symbol of excellence and integrity, surrounds the harp. The coins have been designed by renowned Irish artist, designer and medallist Thomas Ryan, RHA.
Coin Specifications and Order Details
|Composition:||Sterling Silver (.925 Ag)||.999 fine gold (1/2 troy ounce)|
*There is a special two-coin set with a limited edition of 1,000. Each is priced at €440.
An official order form for the coins is available from the Central Bank by phoning 1890 307 607 or from the website, www.centralbank.ie. .
About Coin Designer Thomas Ryan
Trained at the Limerick School of Art and the National College of Art in Dublin, Thomas Ryan has become a prominent figure in the Irish art world. He first exhibited work at the RHA in 1957, became an associate member in 1968 and was President from 1982-1993. He is well known for his portraits and his sensitive still life paintings. In the world of numismatics his work includes the Irish £1 coin featuring a red deer, which was introduced in 1990 to replace the £1 note and the 1988 Dublin Millennium 50p coin.
About International Polar Year
The International Polar Year (IPY) is a large interdisciplinary scientific research program focused on the polar regions of the Artic and the Antarctic. IPY will involve over 200 projects, with thousands of scientists from over 63 nations examining a wide range of physical, biological and social research topics.
They will explore the icy frontiers, undergo extreme conditions, learn about the earth system and monitor how the poles are changing. IPY offers an unprecedented opportunity to raise public awareness of the Polar Regions and develop a better understanding of global climate change and its potential impacts on the planet.
About the Central Bank of Ireland
The Central Bank of Ireland, which came into being in 1943, was re-structured and re-named as the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland (CBFSAI) on 1 May 2003. This body carries out all of the activities formerly carried out by the Central Bank of Ireland and additional regulatory and consumer protection functions for the financial services sector.
The Central Bank became part of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in Europe in 1999. The national central banks of the euro area together with the European Central Bank (ECB) form the Eurosystem.