Vitus Jonassen Bering (1681-1741)
Born in Denmark in 1681, Vitus Jonassen Bering joined the Russian Navy in 1703, and served in the Great Northern War against Sweden and the Russo-Turkish War. In 1724, Tsar Peter the Great, driven by interest in finding a northeast passage to China around Siberia, and colonial expansion in North America, commissioned Bering to determine whether the continents of Asia and North America were connected.
Setting sail from the Siberian Peninsula Kamatchka in July of 1728, Bering passed through the strait that now bears his name and into the Antarctic Ocean. Bad weather prevented Bering from sighting the American coast, but, as the Asiatic coast went west, and as no land appeared to the north, he believed he had achieved his objective – making him the first known explorer to prove that Asia and North America were separate continents.
In 1731, he embarked on a much more ambitious project, playing a major role in what was ultimately known as Russia’s Great Northern Expedition. This mission of exploration was intended to map the Russian-Siberian coast, the western part of North America and even parts of Mexico, and it was during this time that Bering sighted the southern Alaskan coastline, making a landing in the area of Kayak Island. A second ship taking part in the expedition, commanded by Aleksei Chirikov, discovered the shores of northwestern America – the Aleksander Archipelago of present-day Alaska – after being separated from Bering’s vessel during a storm. More bad weather forced Bering to abandon the mission, and it was on the way home that he discovered some of the Aleutian Islands.
Bering never had the opportunity to enjoy his discoveries, nor the impact they had in enabling Russia to obtain a colonial foothold in North America. Growing increasingly ill as the expedition continued – possibly from scurvy – Bering was forced to give up command. Eventually, he and his crew had to seek refuge on an uninhabited island in the southwest Bering Sea, and it was here that Bering and many of his comrades died. The island, as with the Bering Sea, Bering Strait, Bering Glacier and Bering Land Bridge, was named in honour of his crucial contribution to Russian exploration.
Crafted from FIVE KILOS of pure silver…
Limited mintage just 350 coins!
A gigantic celebration of one of the key characters of the history of exploration, Downies is proud to present the limited edition 2011 $500 Vitus Bering Five Kilo Silver Proof!
Measuring an incredible 150mm in diameter, this majestic commemoration of Vitus Bering (1681-1741) is, however, defined by more than its awe-inspiring dimensions. A coin of superb Proof quality, immense beauty, spellbinding presentation and strictly limited availability, there is no doubt that the tiny mintage of this collectable colossus will be heavily over-subscribed.
A coin of immense stature…
A commemorative in keeping with the fame of Bering – who was the first known explorer to pass between Asia and North America, thus proving they were separate continents – the size and weight of this startling silver Proof will leave you mesmerized. Struck to the pinnacle of Proof quality, each official British Virgin Islands $500 is crafted from a mind-boggling FIVE KILOS of .999 fine silver. That’s over 160 troy ounces of pure precious metal! One of very issues to have been struck to this size (it spans 150mm in diameter) this new release is one of the largest, most impressive numismatic tributes that Downies has had the privilege to present to our clients.
A powerful theme…
Whilst sought after for the inherent quality and wealth of features of the actual coin, this masterpiece of collector coinage will also be in hot demand for the strong theme. Certain to be pursued by maritime collectors, the huge frame of this precious metal masterpiece is distinguished by a superb design of one of the vessels Bering used in his voyages of exploration – voyages which saw him become the first European to discover Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.
Official legal tender…
A unique piece of numismatic artistry, no effort has been spared in the creation of the 2011 $500 Bering Five Kilo Silver Proof. An official legal tender issue of the British Virgin Islands, bearing the Ian Rank-Broadley portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, this exclusive release not only features a beautifully sculpted design – it also features genuine miniature nautical instruments set within the massive 150mm diameter flan!
Presentation without equal…
Providing a most appropriate environment for a coin of this size and prestige, the 2011 $500 Bering Five Kilo Silver Proof is housed in a luxurious timber presentation case. Heavy and imposing, and complete with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity confirming the tiny mintage, the exquisite quality of this lavish case is the perfect finishing touch to a presentation that will dazzle the most discriminating collector.
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity…
The only thing tiny about this gargantuan collector coin is the mintage. Underestimating the demand from the ever-growing body of collectors interested in oversized coinage – and inadvertently enhancing the collector value of the coin – the British Virgin Islands has restricted the limited edition of the Bering Five Kilo Silver Proof to just 350. Given the increase in interest in large precious metal Proofs resulting from the dramatic recent rise soaring metal prices, there is no doubt that this mammoth Five Kilo Silver Proof will be available for a short time only.
We must urge immediate action, as, once this giant of numismatics is gone, it will be gone forever.
A supreme acquisition, this colossus of collector coinage is…
- comprised of a massive FIVE KILOGRAMS of .999 fine silver – more than 160 troy ounces!
- taken from a tiny worldwide mintage of just 350 – sell-out certain
- enriched with full-colour miniature nautical tools on the enormous, individually edge-numbered 150mm diameter flan
- an official legal tender issue of the British Virgin Islands, bearing the Rank-Broadley portrait of Queen Elizabeth II
- housed in a luxurious timber case with an official serial-numbered Certificate of Authenticity
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