2015 Compass Rose Geocoins

2015 COMPASS ROSE GEOCOINS

In the year 1596, cartographer and navigator Willem Barents was selected as the leader of an expedition to find the Northeastern Passage to China. Two ships were readied for this voyage, with two captains commissioned for the journey; Jacob van Heemskerck and Jan Corneliszoon Rijp. They set sail in May.


In July, the expedition had discovered Spitsbergen and Bear Island, named after they had sighted a bear swimming by in the arctic waters. It was here that Barents and Heemskerck opted to continue sailing eastward, towards previously discovered Novaya Zemlya. Captain Rijp refused to follow, insisting that the northern regions of Novaya Zemlya were far too dangerous for sailing, and returned to Holland with his ship.

The Design:

The compass rose design on the front side of the 2015 Compass Rose Geocoin is inspired by the design of a snowflake to represent to cold, snowy weather the explorers had to endure. Textures have been added to give it an icy appearance, and the directional elements have been given a sharp, harsh feel to their design. The 17 large dots, looking somewhat out of place among the sharp edges of the compass rose, represent the 17 men who were stuck in the icy cold weather of Novaya Zemlya, with the center dot representing Willem Barents himself. The 8 smaller dots represent the nearly eight months the men spent trying to survive in the bitter conditions.

Featured on the back is the ship being imprisoned and lifted up by ice floes, with the crewmen scrambling on board, alarmed by their situation. Surrounding this image are four animals in 3D; a polar bear to the North, a walrus to the South, an arctic fox to the East, and a seal to the West, with monstrous and dangerous waves among these.

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