An extremely successful bullion coin debut last year, the Perth Mint’s first pirate-themed ‘Black Flag’ coin depicted the pirate Blackbeard’s famous Queen Annes Revenge under full sail. A decent looking coin, it made a nice change from the numerous animal themed bullion that emanates from the Western Australian coin producer.

Helped along by a 15,000 mintage, the 1oz 0.9999 silver coin was a quick seller, as was the 1oz gold with its tiny 100 mintage. The gold comes boxed with a certificate of authenticity (you can see the packaging of the first coin lower down). A couple of months later, a 5oz silver version with a 500 mintage was added and also sold well. For this second issue, all three variants are available at launch, although the gold is already sold out.

The subject this time is The Royal Fortune, the ship(s) captained by the infamous Black Bart himslef, Bartholomew Roberts The design is similar to the first coin, but better, in our view at least. The sea is rendered better, and the skull, while lacking the subtlety of the first issue, is neat enough. The same skull and crossbones adorned title border remains. The obverse is a typical QEII effigy – as you would expect with a Tuvalu issue. It still uses the older Ian Rank Broadley effigy, surprisingly enough, as we expected the Jody Clark replacement to have appeared this year. A very cool coin and an interesting series. As before, this is an APMEXclusive, although others like LPM also have them.

BLACK BART AND THE MANY ROYAL FORTUNES

Bartholomew Roberts (17 May 1682 – 10 February 1722), born John Roberts, was a Welsh pirate who raided ships off the Americas and West Africa between 1719 and 1722. He was the most successful pirate of the Golden Age of Piracy as measured by vessels captured, taking over 400 prizes in his career. He is also known as Black Bart (Welsh: Barti Ddu), but this name was never used in his lifetime.It was in early June 1720 that Roberts, in his sloop Fortune, went raiding along the Newfoundland coast, eventually capturing 22 merchant vessels in the harbour of Trepassey. One of the captured ships, a brig from Bristol was taken over by the pirates and fitted with 16 cannon and was used to replace the Fortune. In July, he captured a small fleet of French ships and moved his flag to one of them after fitting it out with 26 guns. She became known as the Good Fortune, but after repair and refitting, she was renamed Royal Fortune. Roberts had a passion for the name and this wasn’t the last ship of his to carry it.

Next was a 52-gun French warship which headed over to Africa for new raiding grounds. In April 1721 at Cape Verde, the latest Royal Fortune was found to be unsound, so Roberts moved to Sea King, which was promptly renamed, yes you guessed it, Royal Fortune. The fourth vessel to carry the name was the former HMS Onslow, captured off the coast of Liberia.

This was to be the ship that the legendary Black Bart was to die on. Along with his two other ships, he was spotted by the HMS Swallow, with her veteran captain, Chaloner Ogle. Drawing one of Roberts ships away on a ruse, then destroying it, the Swallow returned and battered the Royal Fortune into submission. The pirates were captured aand met various fates from prison to death. Captain Chaloner Ogle became the only man in the Royal Navy to get a knighthood for action against pirates. Bartholomew Rooberts was buried at sea by his crew as per his wishes. A legend had ended.

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SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $100 TVD (Tuvalu) $1 TVD (Tuvalu) $5 TVD (Tuvalu)
COMPOSITION 0.9999 gold 0.9999 silver 0.9999 silver
WEIGHT 31.1 grams 31.1 grams 155.5 grams
DIMENSIONS 32.6 mm 40.6 mm 65.0 mm
FINISH Bullion Bullion Bullion
MODIFICATIONS None None None
MINTAGE 100 15,000 500
BOX / COA Yes / Yes No / No No / No