The Treasury of the Isle of Man have launched (29th January) a new coin which features one of the least known but one of the rarest animals, that of the Kermode Bear. Also known as a ‘Spirit Bear’, this rare creamy white bear is often mistaken as a polar bear but is a sub species of the American Black Bear and lives in the central and north coast of British Columbia, Canada.
It was Manxman Francis Kermode, who was the second curator of the Provincial Museum of Victoria, British Columbia, and established the fact that this unusual bear was an American grizzly with a genetic defect. He did so after the first live specimen to be caught was entrusted to him. This led to the bear being known as Ursus Kermodia – or, the Kermode Bear. Because of their spirit-like appearance, these bears hold an important place in stories passed down from the Native Americans and Canadian First Nations which lived in the area. The population of the Kermode Bear is estimated at 400 to 1,000 individuals and it is thought they have survived due to the fact that they were known as ‘Spirit Bears’ and therefore the First Nations never hunted or mentioned them to fur trappers.
The coin, struck by the Pobjoy Mint, UK includes on the reverse, a depiction of an adult Kermode Bear sitting near water with her two playful cubs. Under the primary design, the coin’s face value of “1 CROWN” appears. The obverse includes a portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II as designed by Ian Rank-Broadley along with the year of issue “2013” included in the Queen’s legend.
Struck in both sterling silver (Proof quality) and cupro-nickel (FDC) the coin weighs 28 grams and has a diameter of 38.6 mm. A total of 10,000 pieces are authorized for the proof issue and no limit has been set for the FDC version. For more information on these and other coins offered by the Treasury Department, Isla of Man, please visit the website of Pobjoy Mint at: www.pobjoy.com