Skip to main content
Publish date:

30 Years of Environmental Protection of the Antarctic

This British Antarctic Territory bi-metallic two pound celebrates twelve countries protecting one continent for 30 years through the Antarctic Treaty.

This British Antarctic Territory bi-metallic two pound celebrates twelve countries protecting one continent for 30 years through the Antarctic Treaty.

The Antarctic Treaty is recognized as one of the most successful international agreements, setting an example of peaceful cooperation for the benefit of all. 2021 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty which provides for the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment.

Pobjoy Mint is delighted to announce the release of two beautiful new £2 coins on behalf of the British Antarctic Territory to commemorate this anniversary. As you can see, the base metal bi-metallic strike is offered in special educational packaging, while the silver strike with gilding will come in a plush red box with a packing sleeve offering the same graphics as the card.

The Protocol on Environmental Protection is a purely 20th century document. The fact that nearly a dozen nations have agreed to its constraints is pretty amazing. It was signed in Madrid on Oct. 4, 1991 and entered into force in 1998. It designates Antarctica as a ‘natural reserve, devoted to peace and science’. Article 3 of the Protocol sets out basic principles applicable to human activities in Antarctica and Article 7 prohibits all activities relating to Antarctic mineral resources, except for scientific purposes.

The Ross Seal and its pup make an endearing image for the success of the Antarctic Treaty. 30 Years of Environmental Protect as the legend of this bi-metallic commemorative specifies.

The Ross Seal and its pup make an endearing image for the success of the Antarctic Treaty. 30 Years of Environmental Protect as the legend of this bi-metallic commemorative specifies.

Protection of native flora and fauna has been a concern for the Consultative Parties to the Antarctic Treaty since the beginning. Article 3.2 of the Environmental Protocol provides that activities to be undertaken in Antarctica shall be planned and conducted as to avoid ‘detrimental changes in the distribution, abundance or productivity of species or population of species of fauna & flora’ and ‘further jeopardy to endangered or threatened species or populations of such species’.

Annex II to the Protocol sets out specific measures to give effect to this and provides several different mechanisms to protect Antarctic species including: the prohibition of taking (removing) and of harmful interference, except in accordance with a permit; restrictions on the introduction of non-native species, except in accordance with a permit; and the designation of Specially Protected Species.

Appropriately these British Antarctic Territory two pound coins feature a Ross Seal and pup, a species which is specifically mentioned in Annex II (Flora & Fauna) of the Protocol and therefore a perfect choice to depict on the 30th Anniversary coins. The obverse of the coins feature an effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II produced exclusively by Pobjoy Mint.

Struck in bi-metallic base metal and fine silver proof, the 30th Anniversary of the Protocol on Environmental Protection coins are limited to mintages of 3,750 and 275 respectively. Pobjoy Mint’s recommended retail prices are set at about $25 for the packaged bi-metallic and roughly $75 for the silver proof.