Perth Mint marks Captain Cook’s 250th anniversary of his visit to Oz with a new coin trio

One of the world’s most epic voyages of discovery, Captain James Cook’s jaunt around the Southern Hemisphere has become the stuff of legend, and now 250 years after he dropped by the West Coast of Australia for a pint of Fosters, the Perth Mint is issuing a trio of numismatics in commemoration.

First up is one of this mints quirky two-ounce antiqued silver coins with a window. Filled with something related to the subject, this one contains a gilded ships wheel, bordered by a gilded band around said window. The reverse side surround depicts a small image of the man himself, along with five other circular depictions of items associated with the voyage, including his ship, The Endeavour. The obverse has a nautical compass motif. We’ve always had a soft spot for these and this one is no exception. A little gimmicky perhaps, but not coming across as being so just for the sake of it.

Next up are a pair of cleanly struck proof coins and these are really nice, in our view. Featuring an image of this ship sailing out of a silhouette of Australia, it is framed by a ‘sea area’ filled with images of Australian flora and navigational equipment. This is a very attractive design which we’d love to have seen on a bullion coin, especially instead of the dull ‘Nuggets’ series addition we also got today. A one-ounce silver and a quarter-ounce gold constitute the two-coin range.

All three of these new issues are very nicely presented in boxes that make display easy. All are available today, with the antique coin retailing at $240 AUD, the gold at $970 AUD, and the silver proof at $105.00 AUD.


This special anniversary release celebrates the 250th anniversary of the British Royal Navy’s research vessel Endeavour reaching Australia in 1770. HM Bark Endeavour, captained by James Cook, embarked on its Pacific voyage on 26 August 1768 with instructions to chart the transit of Venus across the sun at the equator. Subsequently charting New Zealand in 1769, the British expedition sighted the east coast of Australia at Point Hicks on 20 April 1770.

As Endeavour sailed north, Cook charted the coast before making first landfall at a wide, shallow bay south of present-day Sydney on 29 April 1770. Naturalist Joseph Banks recorded so many previously unknown botanical specimens at this location that Cook named the area ‘Botany Bay’.

The ship also stopped at what has since become known as the Town of 1770 before Endeavour struck the Great Barrier Reef and ran aground near Cooktown on 11 June. The voyage was delayed while repairs were carried out. The ship then rounded Cape York, stopping at Possession Island in the Torres Strait on 22 August. Endeavour’s exploration of the Pacific Ocean had a tremendous impact on navigation leading to the first large scale hydrographic surveys and advancements in the measurement of longitude

REVERSE: The coin’s reverse design features a representation of HM Bark Endeavour against an outline of the east coast of Australia. Depicted in the background are various flora including Banksia, named after Joseph Banks, and wattle. Also included in the design is a representation of a compass, the inscription ‘ENDEAVOUR 1770-2020’ and The Perth Mint’s ‘P’ mintmark.

OBVERSE: The obverse of the coin bears the Jody Clark effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the 2020-year date, weight and purity, and monetary denomination.


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)

DENOMINATION $2 Australia $25 Australia $1 Australia
COMPOSITION 0.9999 silver 0.9999 gold 0.9999 silver
WEIGHT 62.213 grams 7.777 grams 31.107 grams
DIMENSIONS 45.5 mm 20.60 mm 40.9 mm
FINISH Antique Proof Proof
MODIFICATIONS Gilding, window None None
MINTAGE 1,770 750 5,000
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes