Kerguelen Islands
The Kerguelen Archipelago is situated at 49°20' South, 70°20' East, midway between Africa, Antarctica and Australia. Kerguelen is a French possession, lying some 13,000 km from France in the Southern Indian Ocean. The main island occupies measures roughly 120 km by 140 km, occupies 6,675 sq km and is surrounded by around 300 other smaller islands, islets, reefs and rocks, forming an archipelago of 7,215 sq km, located in the South Indian Ocean, approximately 5310 kilometres southeast of the southern tip of Africa. They were discovered in 1772 by the navigator C Y J de Kerguelen-Trémarec, as part of the search for the great southern continent. Scattered French possessions in the Southern Ocean contribute to it's position as the country with the largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world. Kerguelen Island itself is the largest of the island group, a sub-antarctic island of volcanic origin, also aptly known as Desolation Island. The archipelago is part of the Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises (TAAF) - the French Southern and Antarctic Territories - which also includes the Crozet Archipelago, the tiny islands of Amsterdam/St-Paul, and Terre Adélie (Adélieland) on the Antarctic mainland. The coast of Kerguelen is deeply indented with fjords, whilst the interior is heavily glaciated. The highest point is Mount Ross, at 1,850m, in the south of the island.
In 1981, Mr. Zinkann also struck an undated 25 Francs Kerguelen Islands coin, but both dies and the rim collar broke after only 3 had been made. He tried to produced them in 90% tungsten. This happened due to the extreme hardness of the experimental tungsten planchets. Reverse of the coin: Stylised Arrow Symbol, Obverse of the coin: Stylised snowflake.
In December 2003, Mr. Zinkann designed a new Kerguelen Islands coin in Tantalum 1/4oz as 20 Francs. 1/4 oz is described on the coin as "Quatrieme OZ" The quantity/patterns of this coin were produced in the following metals. Reverse of the coin: Enflamed Crown, Obverse of the coin: Field of Stars. These coins were minted by: Northwest Territory Mint.


Weight Diameter Edge
Silver (.999 Ag) 90 5.2 grams 22.00 mm Reeded
.995 Tantalum 09 8.4 grams 22.00 mm Reeded
.210 Gold (5 Karat) 05 4.9 grams 22.00 mm Reeded

In 2004, probably unhappy with the design produced in 2003, Mr. Zinkann made another slightly changed design of Kerguelen Islands in Tantalum 1/5 oz. It has the same design as the 1/4 oz coin, except "1/5 OZ" is written instead of "Quatrieme OZ" and empty field of drawings were filled up. The quantity/patterns of this coin as as follow. These coins were also minted by: Northwest Territory Mint.

Metal Pieces Weight Diameter Edge
Silver (.999 Ag) 108 6.50 grams 22.00 mm Reeded
.995 Tantalum 38 6.60 grams 22.00 mm Reeded
.210 Gold (5 Karat) 01 4.90 grams 22.00 mm Reeded
.750 Gold (18 Karat) 04 5.80 grams 22.00 mm Reeded

I purchased my 20 Francs 2003 reeded (segmented) edge 1/4 oz .995 Tantalum coin through Elizabeth A. Zinkann. She is the younger sister of Mr. Fred R. Zinkann.
Information on Tantalum:

Symbol: Ta, Atomic Number: 73, Atomic Weight: 180.9479, Density: 16.654 g/cc, Melting Point: 3017 degrees C.

Tantalum is an extremely hard, durable gray-colored metal which has excellent corrosion resistance. With the right lighting and surface texture Tantalum shows a definite pinkish tinge to its metallic color. The metal has many uses including electrolytic capacitors, in alloys to improve properties, and surgical and dental tools. It is a good crucible material due to its resistance to corrosive materials. Tantalum has an extremely high melting point, exceeded only by osmium, rhenium and tungsten, and is also very dense.

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