Shackleton ship Quest on new 50p


25 April 2022
Pobjoy Mint has issued a new 50p coin featuring the famous tall ship Quest on behalf of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

This new coin commemorates Sir Ernest Shackleton's Final Expedition. Quest is best known as the polar exploration vessel of the Shackleton-Rowlett Expedition of 1921-1922. The new coin is available in Cupro Nickel Diamond Finish and Proof Sterling Silver.

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. 

The coin features the schooner-rigged steamship Quest, which sailed from 1917 until sinking in 1962. Quest is best known as the polar exploration vessel of the Shackleton-Rowlett Expedition of 1921-1922. It was aboard this vessel that Sir Ernest Shackleton undertook his last expedition. 

Originally built in Norway as the wooden-hulled sealer Foca I in 1917, Shackleton purchased the ship in January 1921 together with other equipment, and began the process of hiring a crew, with the help of his old school-friend, John Quiller Rowett and by March 1921 it had been renamed Quest. 

Shackleton’s final expedition originally intended to go to the Arctic to explore the Beaufort Sea, but this plan was abandoned and the target changed to a circumnavigation of the Antarctic which would include exploration of the little known and sub-Antarctic islands.

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Sailing from London for the Southern Ocean on 17th September 1921, the crew included eight of Shackleton’s shipmates from the famous Endurance Expedition. Quest reached South Georgia on 4th January 1922.

The following night, before the expedition’s work could properly begin, Shackleton unexpectedly passed away aboard the vessel while she was at anchor in Grytviken. 

Shackleton was ultimately buried at the cemetery at Grytviken whaling station on 5th March and the ceremony was attended by hundreds of whalers and seamen. Today, visitors still flock to the site to pay their final respects to ‘The Boss’. 

The obverse of the coin features an effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II produced exclusively by Pobjoy Mint. 

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