Obverse. Photo © Pobjoy Mint
  • 50 Pence 2018, British Antarctic Territory, Elizabeth II, Boaty McBoatface
  • 50 Pence 2018, British Antarctic Territory, Elizabeth II, Boaty McBoatface

The government and treasury of the British Antarctic Territory have issued their first 50-pence coin whose reverse design features a somewhat quirky, tongue-in-cheek name of one of the newest underwater research vessels of the National Oceanography Centre, which is located in Southampton, U.K.

The somewhat comedic story began in March 2016 when the Natural Environment Research Council launched a campaign to find a name for the UK’s next world-class polar research ship. One “name” in particular by former BBC Radio Jersey presenter James Hand captured the nation’s imagination when his suggestion of “Boaty McBoatface” went viral on social media and was soon trending on Twitter, being discussed all over the world. Boaty McBoatface smashed the online poll – amassing 27,000 votes and crashing the servers in the process.

The autonomous underwater vehicle was initially named with another popular choice, “Sir David Attenborough,” but the popularity of Boaty could not be ignored, and so one of the National Oceanography Centre’s auto-sub long-range autonomous vehicles was renamed and now proudly carries the name. It will serve with the RRS (Royal Research Ship) Sir David Attenborough.

Today, Boaty and two other autosub long-range vehicles have been developed at the National Oceanography Centre and are able to travel thousands of kilometres on missions lasting several months at a time. The ability to travel under ice and reach depths of 6,000 metres will enable Boaty and friends to explore 95% of the ocean.


Depicts an effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II, wearing the George IV State Diadem and drop earrings, which is an exclusive design to the Pobjoy Mint. The year of issue is included in the legend placed around the Queen’s portrait.

The George IV State Diadem, officially the Diamond Diadem, is a type of crown that was made in 1820 for King George IV. The diadem is worn by queens and queens consort in procession to coronations and State Openings of Parliament. The piece of jewellery has been featured in paintings and on stamps and currency. It can be seen in the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace.



Depicts Boaty McBoatface submerged in the Antarctic Ocean with the research ship RRS James Clark Ross shown above sitting among the icebergs which make up the Antarctic. Penguins can be seen swimming around Boaty McBoatface and also on the icebergs above.

Boaty McBoatface is the lead boat of the Autosub Long Range-class of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) used for scientific research that will be carried on the research vessel RRS Sir David Attenborough owned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and operated by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Because of her complexity and her extended range, NERC is classing her as an autosub long range autonomous vehicle.

Boaty McBoatface


50 Pence

Boaty McBoatface

Type Commemorative Issue (Non-circulating)
Material Cupronickel
Weight 8 g
Diameter 27.3 mm
Thickness -
Shape polygon
Sides 7
Alignment Medal
Pobjoy Mint (PM)

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