Shetland Islands
Shetland Islands (Schetlandia) is a part of Scotland, UK with capital Lerwick. The Shetland archipelago comprises some 100 islands, 15 of them inhabited, and lies at the sub-Arctic latitude of 60o North and 1o West. The land area totals 567 square miles (1469 square kilometers), and the population approximately 23,000.

Shetland became the last part of the the geographical British Isles to leave the Kingdom of Norway (which was at that time ruled from Copenhagen), when the royal lands there were pawned without limit of time, as part of a Dano-Scottish royal marriage dowry, in the year 1469.

Despite the unilateral annexation by Scotland in 1472 (never formally recognized by Norway) Norse law remained in force until 1611. However, the Norn language was commonly spoken well into the eighteenth century. leaving vestiges right down to the present day, and Shetland has thus developed an individual character of its own.

All is now changing in Europe, and the advent of the Euro will shortly leave only Pound and Kroner; possibly only the latter, to remind us of a noble currency heritage.

The "Sheltand Kroner" commemorative coins present a unique and lasting tribute to Shetland's Scandinavian connection at an unprecedented time in European history, and the landmark 1999 Cutty Sark Tall Ships' Races visit to the islands.

Obverses: Route of the Tall Ships from 23rd July to 18th August 1999 with the flags of France, Scotland, United Kingdom, Shetland and Denmark. The ships' visit to Shetland, 9th to 12th August, coincides with the European total solar eclipse of August 11th, represented to the right.

Reverses: Ten different designs, representing in full color the largest "Class A" ships participating to Shetland, and their countries of origin, and the Scandinavian flags of the northern countries and regions, with Shetland's at center-left. Standard issue coins have milled edges, precious metal coins have plain edges, and both versions are marked "5" in keeping with "crown size" numismatic tradition.

The race would start from St. Malo (France) to Greenock (Scotland, UK) and then to to Lerwick (Shetland Islands), and then finally to Aalborg (Denmark). 10 Ships that were called for "Cutty Sark Tall Ships' Race", these were: 

  • Alexander von Humboldt - 54.2 meters (Germany)
  • Christian Radich - 62.8 meters (Norway)
  • Cuauhtemoc - 92.2 meters (Mexico)
  • Danmark - 74 meters (Denmark)
  • Eendracht - 55.5 meters (Netherlands)
  • Kruzenshtern - 104.2 meters (Russia)
  • Pogoria - 51.1 meters (Poland)
  • Statsraad Lehmkuhl - 78.9 meters (Norway)
  • Swan fan Makkum - 49.7 meters (Netherlands)
  • Sørlandet - 56.4 meters (Norway)

Specification: Standard issue in Cupro-Nickel (75% copper, 25% nickel) = 1000 pieces. Prestige issues Sterling Silver (92.5%) = 250 pieces and 22 carat gold on Sterling Silver issue = 250 pieces. All struck to proof quality with 38mm diameter crown size, at Tower Mint, London. Promoters of these coins were "Shetland Numismatics Ltd Skellister. South Nesting, Shetland, UK".

I purchased my Cupro-Nickel Christian Radich, Danmark and Sørlandet "Sheltand Kroner" coins from Leif Larsson ( He belongs from Sweden and when I asked him, which ship won the race, he told me that this race did not took place.
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