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Pobjoy Mints the World’s First Inverted 50 Pence Coin

Pobjoy Mint has released a 50 pence coin to celebrate World Penguin Day. The coin has been issued on behalf of the British Antarctic Territory featuring the endemic Emperor Penguins and showcasing a unique inverted relief of the penguins for the first time in a 50 pence coin. It is the World’s First Inverted 50 Pence Coin available in Cupro-Nickel and Sterling Silver. The Cupro-Nickel issue is limited to 1,950 and the silver coins to 175.

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The coin shows two emperor penguins standing on the ice showcased in an extraordinary inverted relief.

The coin shows two emperor penguins standing on the ice showcased in an extraordinary inverted relief.

What is World Penguin Day?

World Penguin Day is celebrated on the 25th April each year, as this is roughly the date when this amazing creatures start their annual migration. Created as an educational initiative, this day encourages people to learn more about penguins, the dangers they encounter, their environment, and their contribution to the environment.

British Antarctic Territory / 50 pence / Cupro-Nickel / 8.00 g / 27.30 mm / Mintage: 1,950.

British Antarctic Territory / 50 pence / Cupro-Nickel / 8.00 g / 27.30 mm / Mintage: 1,950.

British Antarctic Territory / 50 pence / Silver 0.925 / 8.00 g / 27.30 mm / Mintage: 175.

British Antarctic Territory / 50 pence / Silver 0.925 / 8.00 g / 27.30 mm / Mintage: 175.

How the Emperor Penguins Live

The majority of the emperor penguin colonies are on winter fast ice that is frozen solid and attached to the land from autumn until it begins to break up in the spring (though some years it doesn’t break up at all). They are found all around the coasts of the Antarctic continent. They breed during the depths of the Antarctic winter and in some of the most desolate, coldest, windiest and downright grim places on the planet during the season of 24 hour darkness.

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The Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) is the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species and is unique to the Antarctic territory. It is also the only animal to inhabit the open ice of Antarctica during the winter, trekking 50-120 kilometers over the ice to breeding colonies. The male and female are similar in plumage and size with black dorsal sides and head, a white belly, pale yellow breast and bright yellow ear patches.

For the last 15 years, British Antarctic Survey (BAS) scientists have been looking for new colonies by searching satellite imagery for their guano stains on the ice. In 2021, BAS Scientists discovered a new emperor penguin colony in Antarctica making a total of 66 known colonies around the coastline, with exactly half been discovered by satellite imagery.

Two adult Emperor Penguins with a juvenile on Snow Hill Island, Antarctica. Image: Ian Duffy via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0.

Two adult Emperor Penguins with a juvenile on Snow Hill Island, Antarctica. Image: Ian Duffy via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0.

Why the Emperor Penguins Have Been Declared a Threatened Species

Despite this discovery, in October 2022, the Emperor penguin was officially declared a threatened species by the US Government due to the risk posed to the birds by the climate crisis. The penguins face almost complete eradication from the loss of sea ice over the course of this century, a situation which prompted the US Fish and Wildlife Service to place it on the endangered species list.

The waters around and beneath the sea ice are important as an area for feeding and the ice shelf itself is essential as a place to rest, to shelter and to escape from predators. The loss of sea ice due to global heating and ocean acidification is diminishing the supply of the penguins’ food source. The penguins’ very existence depends on strong action being taken now to cut climate-heating fossil fuels and prevent irreversible damage to the life of the Emperor penguin.

The design on the coin shows two Emperor penguins standing on the ice showcased in extraordinary inverted relief. Approved by Buckingham Palace this coin carries an effigy of His Majesty King Charles III produced exclusively by Pobjoy Mint.

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