Though the story of the Gairsoppa is tragic, it is also a tale of survival. For just as the one remaining crew member, Richard Ayres, battled the terrible seas to reach home, so the Gairsoppa’s cargo has at last reached its destination. In a record-breaking mission – for Gairsoppa lay at a depth of some 2.9 miles, deeper even than the Titanic – almost all her silver was recovered. Some of those ingots were finally delivered to The Royal Mint. Her story now comes full circle as we strike Gairsoppa’s silver into Quarter-Ounce Britannia coins – bearing the stirring image of Britannia, the Queen of the Seas, defender of Britain’s shores.
Each precious coin is part of a story to treasure, presented in a specially designed pack that brings Gairsoppa’s last journey, the bravery of Richard Ayres and the wonder of the salvage mission to life. The pack also includes a DVD of the three-episode TV series following the recovery, Silver Rush. This is such an extraordinary issue of coins and interest is already extremely high. If you wish to honour one of the most poignant tales of the Second World War, you should act with haste.
The story of the SS Gairsoppa is a tragic one. Of the 85 crew members on board, most were lost with their ship. Some men gained the safety of the only surviving lifeboat. All but seven of them would perish in the cold and difficult weeks to follow. When their rudderless lifeboat finally glimpsed land, the fierce waves would see only one man, Second Mate Richard Ayres, reach the shore alive.
Each coin has been struck to bullion standard – fitting for a treasure reborn from the deep. The beautiful portrait of Britannia standing as Britain’s guardian by Philip Nathan features on the coins, each with the ship’s name as an edge inscription in a lasting tribute to Gairsoppa and her crew. This is a limited presentation of 20,000 coins, for of course only a small quantity of Gairsoppa’s silver will ever be minted.