Launched in 1901, the RRS Discovery was built for Antarctic research and was the last traditional wooden three-masted ship to be built in the United Kingdom. With Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton on board, her first mission was the British National Antarctic Expedition. This journey was the first by Scott and Shackleton and was known as the Discovery Expedition. RRS Discovery is therefore an important part of the heritage of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands and represents a turning point in the fortunes of some of the oceans most charismatic species. This coin is a fitting tribute to the 120th Anniversary of the launch of this important research vessel.
The Pobjoy Mint series of 50 pence coins featuring historical ships has proven to be extremely popular and we are therefore delighted to announce the release of a further coin in the series on behalf of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands. In 1923 Discovery was taken into the service of the British Government in order to carry out research in the Southern Ocean, becoming the first Royal Research Ship. The two year expedition the ship undertook was the start of the the Discovery Investigations which recorded valuable information on the oceans, marine life and carried out the first scientific investigations into whale populations. The work undertaken on RRS Discovery, and in the Discovery Investigations more generally, made a huge contribution to the knowledge of the whales, their feeding habits and the oceanography of their habitat. Ultimately, the Discovery Investigations led to the establishment of the International Whaling Commission and the ban on commercial whaling activities which has undoubtedly saved many whale species from extinction. The obverse of the coin features an effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II produced exclusively by Pobjoy Mint.