Spitsbergen 5-RUBLES (X#Tn14) Blue whale
Although the artist took some liberties with the body shape, I am reasonably certain this is a Blue whale, due to the shape of the head and placement of the mouth. A chunky Blue whale, with one wicked grin. I love it!
Blue whales are severely endangered and are the largest mammal on the planet. They prefer cold water but tend to hang out more in the southern hemisphere, with some in the North Atlantic. Back in the day (before we killed most of them), there were probably a lot more in the Arctic Ocean.
There were three series of Spitsbergen coins minted in 1946, 1993, and this series in 1998. While the first two series apparently did circulate among the workers of the Arktikugol mining company, this 1998 series probably did not. The 1998 coins were previously listed in the regular Krause catalogue, but were subsequently removed, probably because it was determined they were never intended for circulation. (They are listed in Krause's "Unusual World Coins" book.) However, they are too cool to leave out of the Coin Zoo.
The inscription over the whale reads 'Spitsbergen'. This coin is the thickest of the Spitsbergen set, at 2.15 mm.
- Diameter: 20 mm
- Composition: Copper-Nickel
- CAT#: X#Tn14