Some of the best of the huge range of annual lunar coins to be released are the ones issued for the Cook Islands and featuring a mother-of-pearl inlay. Along with the regular lunar coins, MDM have also issued a range of coins depicting a wide choice of subjects from railways, bicycles and a steamboat. The latest of these transport-themed coins is a celebration of 250 years since the commissioning of the iconic ship of exploration, HMS Endeavour.
Commissioned on 26 May 1768, although launched as ‘Earl of Pembroke’ some four years previously, Endeavour was a type of vessel called a Bark. Traditionally a sailing vessel with three or more masts, mainly rigged square, the Royal Navy used the term more loosely, denoting a Bark a ship as a non-descript vessel that didn’t easily fit into the more traditional categories. Endeavour weighed around 365 tons and was 30 metres in length. She was fully-rigged with almost 2,800 sq.m of sail and could make 7-8 knots at full speed. The crew complement was 94 and she carried 10 4-pdr guns.
The coin design makes no changes from those that have come before. A border holds all the inscriptions, just the coin name and the denomination, while the centre is filled with an image formed in a blue mother-of-pearl inlay. The image this time is one of the Endeavour at sea and under full sail. The colour and choice of design seem to fit the subject matter extremely well and we look forward to seeing one in the flesh. The obverse is the obligatory effigy of QEII as it’s issued for the Solomon Islands.
Two versions are available; a fine gold and a fine silver, both five ounces in weight with a 65 mm diameter. The coins come packaged in a wooden-chest style box of a high quality, with a ships helm on the top, and with a serialised certificate of authenticity. Mintages are set at a fairly healthy 750 for the silver, but just a tiny 25 units for the gold, although the latter being formed of five ounces of gold will automatically limit its audience. Available to pre-order now, they are expected to ship around September.
HMS Endeavour, also known as HM Bark Endeavour, was a British Royal Navy research vessel that Lieutenant James Cook commanded on his first voyage of discovery, to Australia and New Zealand, from 1769 to 1771.
She was launched in 1764 as the collier Earl of Pembroke, and the navy purchased her in 1768 for a scientific mission to the Pacific Ocean and to explore the seas for the surmised Terra Australis Incognita or “unknown southern land”. The navy renamed and commissioned her as His Majesty’s Bark the Endeavour. She departed Plymouth in August 1768, rounded Cape Horn, and reached Tahiti in time to observe the 1769 transit of Venus across the Sun. She then set sail into the largely uncharted ocean to the south, stopping at the Pacific islands of Huahine, Bora Bora, and Raiatea to allow Cook to claim them for Great Britain. In September 1769, she anchored off New Zealand, the first European vessel to reach the islands since Abel Tasman’s Heemskerck 127 years earlier.
In April 1770, Endeavour became the first ship to reach the east coast of Australia, when Cook went ashore at what is now known as Botany Bay. Endeavour then sailed north along the Australian coast. She narrowly avoided disaster after running aground on the Great Barrier Reef, and Cook had to throw her guns overboard to lighten her. He then beached her on the mainland for seven weeks to permit rudimentary repairs to her hull. On 10 October 1770, she limped into port in Batavia (now named Jakarta) in the Dutch East Indies for more substantial repairs, her crew sworn to secrecy about the lands they had visited. She resumed her westward journey on 26 December, rounded the Cape of Good Hope on 13 March 1771, and reached the English port of Dover on 12 July, having been at sea for nearly three years.
Largely forgotten after her epic voyage, Endeavour spent the next three years sailing to and from the Falkland Islands. Sold into private hands in 1775, and later renamed as Lord Sandwich, she was hired as a British troop transport during the American War of Independence and was scuttled in a blockade of Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, in 1778. As of 2016 her wreck had not been precisely located but was thought to be one of a cluster of five in Newport Harbor, and searching continued. Relics, including six of her cannon and an anchor, are displayed at maritime museums worldwide. A replica of Endeavour was launched in 1994 and is berthed alongside the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney Harbour. The US space shuttle Endeavour is named after the ship and she is depicted on the New Zealand fifty-cent coin. (Source: Wikipedia)
|NAME||2018 SILVER||2018 GOLD|
|DENOMINATION||$25 Solomon Islands||$200 Solomon Islands|
|COMPOSITION||0.999 silver||0.999 gold|
|WEIGHT||155.5 grams||155.5 g|
|DIAMETER||65.00 mm||65.00 mm|
|MODIFICATIONS||Mother of pearl inlay||Mother of pearl inlay|
|BOX / COA||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes|