The government and treasury of the British Indian Ocean Territory have issued (24th October) new crown coins which are in salute to the Unknown Soldier, as this year, we observe the centenary anniversary of the cessation of hostilities or armistice which brought an end to the fighting of the conflict the world once knew as the Great War. Later referred to as the First World War, it was a global armed conflict which originated in Europe that lasted from 28th July 1914, to 11th November 1918. The trigger for the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the massive and diverse Austro-Hungarian Empire, while on a visit to the city of Sarajevo in Bosnia-Hercegovina. This assassination by a Serbian nationalist set off a diplomatic crisis and had a major effect on international alliances which had formed over the previous decades. Within weeks, the major powers were at war and the conflict spread quickly around the world. The loss of life was immense with over nine million combatants and seven million civilians losing their lives as a result of the war. After more years of hard fighting, and with the introduction of what was termed “modern warfare, ”the two sides agreed to a cessation of hostilities on the eleventh hour, on the 11th November 1918. The cessation remained in place long enough for the two belligerent sides to formally agree to an end of the war with representatives meeting in Versailles for a final peace accord, formally ending the war on the 28th June 1919, with the signing of the treaty ending hostilities.
The coin is entitled “The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.” These tombs typically contain the remains of a soldier who has lost his life but is unable to be identified and therefore serves as a symbol for all of a country’s unknown dead, wherever they fell in the war. The anonymity of the soldier is the key symbolism as it represents anyone who fell in service of the nation and therefore symbolises all of the sacrifices that previously went unrecognised.
The coins are produced by the Pobjoy Mint at their facilities in Surrey on behalf of the treasury of the British Indian Ocean Territory. The reverse design features a solider standing in front of a cross with his head bowed. Soldiers can be seen climbing over the trenches in the background. Poppies feature in the foreground of the coin in remembrance of those who sacrificed their lives.
The obverse side of the coins features an effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which is an exclusive portrait of the Pobjoy Mint. The issuing authority and year are included on the obverse and in the legend around the coin’s portrait.
|Two pounds||Cupro-nickel||28.2 g||38.6 mm||Brilliant Unc.||10,000|
|Two pounds||Cupro-nickel||28.2 g||38.6 mm||Brilliant Unc. with applied colour||10,000|
|Two pounds||.925 Silver||28.2 g||38.6 mm||Proof||2,000|
|Two pounds||.925 Silver||28.2 g||38.6 mm||Proof with applied colour||2,000|
Both versions of this coin, the Brilliant Uncirculated cupro-nickel and Proof sterling silver, are also available with the poppies coloured red as a tribute to those who lost their lives. The fine silver coin is protected by an acrylic capsule and is packaged in a custom-branded case, which includes an individually numbered certificate of authenticity. The Brilliant Uncirculated cupro-nickel coins are presented in a cloth pouch. For additional information about these coins and others issued by the treasury of the British Indian Ocean Territory, please visit the website of the Pobjoy Mint.