Spitsbergen 50-KOPEKS (X#Tn11) Walrus
Although Spitsbergen is a Norwegian territory, the Spitsbergen coins were minted in St. Petersburg for Russian coal miners working on the island. The walrus on top of the world looks a little grumpy, but who wouldn't be grumpy in a place where night lasts for almost 6 months.
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 on the obverse reads 'Spitsbergen' over top of the walrus, and the smaller word underneath is 'Arktikugol' (Arctic Coal).
- Diameter: 25 mm
- Composition: Aluminum
- CAT#: X#Tn11