The German Ministry of Finance and Munze Deutschland have released (9th September) their latest set of cupro-nickel and polymer colour ring coins which are part of a five-year programme entitled “The Climates of the Earth.” The series concludes this year with the release of the Polar Zone coins which are the fifth and final in the five-coin set. The four other climates represented were Tropical (2017), Sub-Tropical (2018), Temperate (2019), and Sub-Polar (2020).
Climate change is having a particularly strong effect in the Arctic and Antarctic, and, from a combination of both cyclical (or natural) and man-made conditions, the ice on the polar caps is melting. Scientists have discovered that ice at the South Pole is melting six times faster as fast as it was in the 1980s. Calving, the breaking off of large ice masses from glaciers, explains about half of the current ice loss. The other half of the ice loss also occurs at the North Pole with the ice on the surfaces of Greenland melting and flowing away.
The polar zone remains a mystical place for humans due to the harsh freezing climate which has made both the zones hardly habitable. The long winters, for instance, last up to eight months, while the summers are short and cool and mostly below freezing point. The polar day during the summer is a special phenomenon, as, due to the planet’s axis, the Sun does not set during this period, so it never gets dark and lasts half a year each on the poles. Seasonably, while the North Pole experiences spring and summer, at the South Pole it’s a time for autumn and winter.
The regions consist mainly of ice deserts, with the north being an absolute floating mass of ice, and in the south (the actual ground), few plants can survive under the climatic conditions. In the case of animals, too, there are not many species in comparison to other climatic zones that can survive in this inhospitable environment. Most of them are dependent on the sea or live entirely in cold water. These include seals, leopard seals, and elephant seals, but exclusively at the North Pole, the majestic polar bear thrives and hunts seals from the Canadian and Alaskan coasts all the way to the furthest Siberian edges of the Arctic. There are also a large number of birds that feed on the sea, such as seagulls, cormorants, and puffins. Many species of whales and fish can be found in the polar waters. All of these animals are survivors who have optimally adapted to the difficult conditions of the polar zones.
The coins are produced by all five German Federal Mints: Berlin (A), Munich (D), Stuttgart (F), Karlsruhe (G), and Hamburg (J), and are designed by graphic artists Natalie Tekampe from Egenhofen (obverse) and Stefanie Radtke of Leipzig (reverse). From an underwater perspective, the coin depicts the coldness and expanse of the polar regions represented by three different motifs. First, a leopard seal is shown diving into the silence of the ocean just inside the edge of the pink polymer ring. Second, above the waterline, an iceberg shows only its top floating and hides the huge mass below the surface. Third, the landmass towards the left of the design with the crumbling glacier completes the picture. Just below the diving seal is the text POLARE ZONE along the outer edge.
The reverse side depicts a stylised eagle centred with one of the five mintmarks placed below the eagle. The eagle is placed within the centre of the pink polymer ring. The denomination of 5 EURO along with the year of issue and the text BUNDESREPUBLIK DEUTSCHLAND are placed around the outside of the ring along with 12 five-pointed stars. Each coin includes an incused edge inscription that reads KLIMAZONEN DER ERDE (“Climate zones of Earth”).
|Five euro x five||
|9 g||27.5 mm||Proof||
The Proof-quality collector’s edition is available as a separate purchase by individual mint or as a set, which can be ordered by visiting the website of Munze Deutschland.