One of the worlds foremost explorers, Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy is famed for making three epic voyages to the Pacific Ocean. Credited with the first recorded European contact with the Hawaiian Islands and the east coast of Australia, as well as the first circumnavigation of New Zealand, Cook sailed and mapped previously uncharted regions of the globe before finally meeting his end at the hands of a Hawaiian chief in early 1779.
Having undertaken so many feats in the Australian region, it’s no surprise that the very active Antipodean numismatic scene finds his exploits worthy of commemoration. Downies latest releases ranks amongst the finest of them. A three-coin fine silver set, each weighing an ounce, depict elements of Captain Cook’s first voyage and does so using the current favourite numismatic trend – ultra high relief.
The first depicts the HM Bark Endeavour, Cooks ship, under full sail. The second is a more complex affair, depicting Cook looking through telescope with the Endeavour at anchor offshore of a palm laden beach. Titled ‘The Transit of Venus’, this refers to the passage of Venus across the Sun, like a less dramatic version of the lunar eclipse, and was the reason Cook was sent to the area. The third coin features a portrait of Cook against a map background and is titled ‘Charting the Southern Oceans’.
All three coins are packed full of detail and the quality and depth of relief looks close to CIT SmartMinting levels. The obverse design is based around an old nautical compass and at its centre carries an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. In a nice touch, the series is issued for the Cook Islands and makes a highly coherent package. Packaging looks to be of a high quality. A rectangular wooden box holds the trio and a themed certificate of authenticity, and the whole is wrapped up in a similarly themed shipper
Available to order now, the set sells for $449.00 AUD and is limited to 500 units. As this one is subtitled ‘First Voyage 1768-1771’ and Cook undertook two others to the region, it’s possible that if this set is successful there may be two others. On this evidence we think that’s a good thing.