Australia 2013 Weddell Seal Coloured 1 Dollar
The Weddell Seal is one of the last coloured dollar coins in the Royal Australian Mint's 6 coin Polar Animals series. The third release (June 2013) features 2 coins, this Seal and the Atlantic Puffin.
These cute characters were discovered and named by the English explorer, naturalist, geographer and sealer James Weddell in the 1820's during his three Antarctic expeditions through the Weddell Sea (near the south pole).
The seals are fairly large mammals with both male and female about 3 metres long, weighing around 400-500kg and having a mostly white underbelly with dabbled grey and black colouring on their backs. The seals were hunted for their pelts, with their meat providing nutrition for dog teams stationed in Antarctica. Commercial sealing ceased in the 1950's with the seals now a flourishing population.
The Weddell Seal is the most southerly located seal and they're quite territorial remaining within a few miles from their birthplace, although juveniles have been recorded to occasionally migrate a few hundred kilometres.
They live and swim in groups well below the Antarctic ice packs, only venturing onto the ice to rest, moult and pup. Living predominantly in the water and being mammals, they've had to develop techniques to get air to breathe. This is done by using the gaps and cracks in the ice pack. During the winter months when openings freeze over, they use their canine and incisor teeth to cut through new ice, keeping the precious cracks open.
Besides being used for breathing, ice cracks also play a part during fishing - the seals blow air into the cracks surprising small fish. And the seals also dive below the fish and push them into the ice cracks, in turn causing the fish to be backlit and silhouetted. The seals can remain underwater for up to an hour at a time while hunting.
It's in their most iconic pose that the Weddell Seal is depicted on the Royal Australian Mint coin - with icebergs floating past in the distance and it's head popping up through the ice, looking really cute with their big brown mournful eyes and almost smiling mouth. Who couldn't help but fall in love with this superb acrobat of the sea?
The Weddell Seal coin is released as a standard 9 gram 25 millimetre aluminium bronze one dollar coin. The reverse frosted uncirculated finish is a design by Aaron Baggio, with the obverse portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley. This coin is one of six NCLT (non-circulating legal tender) coins in this series -previously released coins depicting the Polar Bear, Rockhopper Penguin, the Humpback Whale and the Walrus. The Polar Animals series follows the successful coloured Animals of the Zoo Series of 2012 and the Air, Land and Ocean series of previous years popular with young collectors.
As with previously issued coloured coins in this series, the Weddell Seal coin retails at $15 and is presented in a colourful collector's card. Mintage is unlimited at this time and will be determined by collector demand. See the 2013 issues and mintages table for the most up to date information.
Posted by harrisk at July 17, 2013 6:56 PM
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