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  • Commemorating the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyage of discovery

  • .925 Solid Silver proof coin with 24 carat gold accenting

  • Worldwide edition limit of 199 - Exclusive to the Bradford Mint​

Captain Cook –

250th Anniversary

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The discoveries of Captain James Cook are of particular interest to Australians and New Zealanders. Parts of the region had previously been discovered piecemeal by European explorers between 1606 and his arrival in Australia on 22 August 1770 where he charted many of its waters, correcting previous errors and oversights, including the idea that Australia and New Guinea were one land mass. He named the area ‘New South Wales’.

Some fifty European ships (many Dutch and French) had already landed on parts of the huge continent, mostly finding it a huge, empty land peopled by indigenous natives whose response, not surprisingly, ranged from curious to cautious to hostile.

Australia, what was known of it at the time, was called Terra Australis Incognita: the unknown southern land. Its existence had long been the subject of speculation going back as far as the ancient Greeks and Romans.

England’s King George III was highly intrigued — so much so that when Cook, an expert astronomer, set out on his 1768 voyage to Tahiti to observe the path of Venus between the earth and the sun, he carried secret orders to discover the rumoured ‘continent or land of great extent’ and take possession of it for the Crown. That he most certainly did.

His expedition arrived in Stingray Bay (later to be named Botany Bay) in the Endeavour, a former collier that was neither fast or large but durable and sturdy, well able to carry substantial supplies. Cook and his crew found Australia an amazing place with unique animals and plants, not least of which were the kangaroo, koala, wombat and platypus. The ship’s scientists, including botanist Joseph Banks, were similarly fascinated by countless plants that were completely new to them.

Cook had outstanding navigation, map-making and astronomical skills. His sextant has intangible significance, being an iconic symbol of one of history’s greatest navigators and explorers. He charted over 8,000km of coastline, not only in Australia but in New Zealand and many of the Pacific Islands. Today, we tend to honour him as the discoverer of Australia, but his real achievements included establishing the British presence and filling in enormous amounts of detail overlooked, misunderstood or inaccurately recorded by previous visitors.

His many voyages and explorations are accurately recorded in his journals, the manuscripts being extremely orderly and detailed. Cook was also noted for the measures he took to prevent scurvy, leading by example in eating citrus fruits and sauerkraut for their high Vitamin C content, a key preventative. Cook’s death befitted an adventurous explorer, being at the hands of Hawaiian natives on 14 February 1779.

Lieutenant James Cook’s voyage to Australia departed Plymouth-Dock (Davenport) in August 1768, to celebrate this commemorated 250th anniversary, The Bradford Mint has exclusively minted a solid .925 Silver Anniversary Dollar. Decorated on the reverse with a silver etching of the Endeavour, New Zealand and Indonesia, its 24 carat gold highlights include a portrait of Cook, a sextant and a gold rope border. The obverse features the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

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