The Colossal Squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) has long been a creature from a sailor’s nightmare.
Appearing in folklore throughout time, these massive sea creatures are often likened to the Kraken—a mighty beast notorious for dragging unwary men to their doom and emitting a foul stench that escapes from its lungs with each breath.
In reality, the Colossal Squid is not as foul as the reputation that precedes it, but there is some truth to the legends. A feud exists between the Colossal Squid and the Sperm Whale who battle on an epic scale in the deep blue. Sperm whales are found covered in scars on their backs from the beaks of these squid and the beaks are found in large quantities inside the whale’s stomachs.
These squid are incredibly elusive and little known to science. They can reach an estimated 14 metres in length and weigh up to 750 kilograms, but only a handful of juveniles have ever been formally recorded. A five-metre specimen was caught on a longline off the coast of South Georgia at a depth of 1625 metres, but it was so heavy it couldn’t be brought aboard. They also have the largest documented eye in the animal kingdom (and that was from an immature female) with a diameter of more than 30 centimetres.
Pobjoy Mint has celebrated the life of this unusual marvel of nature with the release of a commemorative coin in blue titanium. The coin’s design shows a colossal squid swimming in the sea surrounded by an eddy of water. Part of the squid’s mantle appears above the water line. The obverse of the coin features an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II exclusively by Pobjoy.
Due to the difficulty of striking titanium coins, and because titanium reacts differently with every strike, each Blue Squid coin is different. There is also a lined effect that is present on the coins, and this is unique to this metal. The coin has also been produced in uncirculated cupro-nickel.
The £2 blue titanium coin has a diameter of 36.10 mm; a weight of 10 grams; and a mintage of 7,500 pieces. The £1 uncirculated cupro-nickel coin has a diameter of 38.60 mm; a weight of 28.28 grams; and a mintage of 10,000 pieces.