The Royal Mint has launched (21st May) the precious metal versions of the second of three coins commemorating the 250th anniversary of the momentous voyage begun by Captain James Cook and the ultimate discovery of a vast continent at the bottom of the globe: Australia.
Captain James Cook grew up in the historic port of Whitby in North Yorkshire, England, until the age of 17. In August 1768, Cook set sail on HM Bark Endeavour, commencing what would become a three-year voyage of discovery.
The second leg of Cook’s voyage of discovery took him into the Pacific Ocean, some 3,000 miles further from Rio de Janeiro. By the time he sighted Tahiti on the 22nd April 1769, he had sailed a further 5,000 miles. After exploring the islands we know today as Tahiti and observing the transit of Venus, Cook opened his second sealed orders and set sail due south.
The Endeavour was the ship that carried Captain James Cook through his daring expedition, and the term “bark” (sometimes spelt “barc” or “barque”) describes a sailing vessel with three masts. By November 1768, Cook had crossed the equator and reached Rio de Janeiro. Captain Cook’s primary objective was to sail to Tahiti to observe the transit of Venus across the Sun — a rare astronomical event. However, there were rumours of a “great southern continent” hidden at the bottom of the globe, and he also carried a second set of orders that were to remain sealed. During his distinguished career, Captain James Cook charted more of the planet than any other person, establishing Britain’s reputation as a nation with a spirit of adventure.
Designed by artist Gary Breeze, the second coin in what will be a three-coin set focuses on his discoveries in 1769 with a design featuring the mast of the HM Bark Endeavour. Above the sails is a celestial image of the transit of Venus. Around the coin’s primary design is the inscription 1769 – 2019 CAPTAIN JAMES COOK. The font used for the inscription on the circumference of the coins is a special design created by Mr Breeze and is in contrast to the text that highlights the key locations in the expedition, such as OTAHEITE. The second design, as with the first coin in this series, is intended to depict a greater overall design when the three coins are united.
The obverse side includes the fifth effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II, introduced onto British coins in 2015. The denomination of 2 POUNDS is included in the legend around the Queen’s effigy.
|Two pounds||Bi-metallic||12 g||28.4 mm||Brilliant Unc.||Unlimited|
|Two pounds||.925 Silver||12 g||28.4 mm||Proof||4,795|
|Two pounds||.9167 Gold||15.97 g||28.4 mm||Proof||340|
These commemorative coins will not be entering general circulation, so the only way to own this special coin is to subscribe for the three-coin series or purchase them individually.
Presented in a Royal Mint custom case to accommodate the gold and silver options, each Proof coin will be issued in a low mintage. Those who have ordered all three coins in the series by subscription will receive the 2020 coin in a custom three-coin case. The Brilliant Uncirculated base metal versions will receive a specially produced folder to accommodate all three coins. For additional information about this coin and others available from the Royal Mint, please visit their website.