Innovative Australian Shipwrecks bullion series wraps up with the tragic tale of the Zeewijk

We’re sad to say that the Royal Australian Mint’s very neat ‘Australian Shipwrecks’ series has wrapped up with its fourth and final release. The first triangular bullion coins we’ve seen to date, each coin tells the story of one of the many shipwrecks from the early period of colonial Australia. You know your luck sucks when of all the places to get shipwrecked, it’s in waters filled with a wildlife armed to the teeth with human-killing weapons…

This fourth coin depicts the Zeewijk, and follows the pattern of having the ship displayed in better times on the reverse, with a scene from the aftermath on the obverse. It’s fantastic to see a national mint like the RAM fully utilise both faces of the coin instead of just giving one over to Her Maj. More please.

The same trio of variants, this time all released simultaneously, although availability may vary. The 1oz 0.9999 gold and 1oz 0.999 silver are mint staples, with 1,000 silver coins also offered with a very attractive antique-finish – unusual for a bullion coin. Just 250 gold and 20,000 silver coins make up the production run. All are available from today at the exclusive distributors site, LPM in Hong Kong, We’ve updated our Bullion Coin Profile to cover this issue and it is now complete. Hopefully the RAM will bring us something equally interesting to buy.

THE ZEEWIJK (1727)

The Zeewijk left the Netherlands in 1726 for Batavia with 208 seamen and a rich cargo of more than 315,000 guilders in ten chests. Having lost 28 men by the time it reached the Cape of Good Hope in 1727, further disaster soon struck when the Zeewijk hit reef off the Western Australian coast.

Managing to set up camp on a nearby island and saving the chests of guilders, 11 of the survivors later launched the longboat to raise the alarm in Batavia. Tragically, these men were never seen again.

Meanwhile, the remaining crew salvaged material from the Zeewijk’s wreck and ingeniously built another boat, named ‘Sloepie,’ reinforced with local mangrove timber. More than ten months after being shipwrecked, the men and chests of guilders set sail in Sloepie. After just four weeks, 82 survivors victoriously landed at Batavia in their makeshift boat.

The Zeewijk was the last Dutch East Indiaman to be wrecked off the Western Australian coast and Sloepie was the first boat built by Europeans in Australia.

REVERSEOBVERSE
REVERSEOBVERSE
SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $1 Australia $100 Australia
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.9999 gold
WEIGHT 31.1 grams 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 33.9 mm 33.9 mm
FINISH Bullion Bullion
MODIFICATIONS None None
MINTAGE 20,000 (= 1,000 antiqued) 250
BOX / C.O.A. No / No No / No
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN MINT