One of the most well known and well respected explorers in history, Captain James Cook has had a fair amount of representation in the numismatic world of late. This is helped in no small amount by his history of voyages to Australasia and the amount of mints currently issuing from the reason, but even up here in his homeland, the occasion is marked.
The Royal Mint have just issued the third and last annual £2 coin is a programme that started in 2018. Each issue in the set has a common artistic style, one which is quite distinctive in its own right. In addition, each is part of a larger image which collectors can now finally hold in their hands after a long wait. You can see the three issues in the image above.
These are bi-metallic coins like all that carry the £2 denomination. Originally meant to make counterfeiting the circulating currency more difficult, we’re of the opinion here that it’s detrimental to the look of the precious metal coins, with the change in colour jarring unless the design takes it into account at an early stage. Whatever our view, these aren’t going to change, so here we are. These remain nice coins, utilising quite atmospheric looking work by Gary Breeze (perfect name for a sailing ship coin…!).
Two precious metal variants on offer. A sterling silver coin with a gilded border is the cheapest and most numerous offering, with a 22kt gold version (red gold border and a yellow gold pill) of half ounce weight making up the high-end. The edge has an inscription again, this time ‘‘OCEANI INVESTIGATOR ACERRIMVS’, which translates into the very cool title ‘The most intrepid investigator of the seas’. Available from today, the silver maintains its £67.50 price, but the gold has climbed from £845.00 to a staggering £1,055.00. That’s down to the huge rise in the price of gold, so don’t blame the mint this time. Subscribers to the series should finally get to fill the collectors box that came free with it.
Today, The Royal Mint has launched the final of the three coins marking the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s great voyage.
The son of a farm hand, Captain James Cook grew up in the historic port of Whitby in North Yorkshire, England. In August 1768, Cook and his crew set sail on HM Bark Endeavour, commencing what would become a three-year voyage of discovery.After exploring Tahiti and observing the Transit of Venus, Cook opened his sealed orders and set sail due south. The third and final leg of Captain Cook’s voyage of discovery involved exploring and charting New Zealand, before sailing 1,200 miles across the Tasman Sea to Australia.
Clare Maclennan Divisional Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint said, “This year concludes the exciting commemorative coin series marking the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyage. This coin is the final piece in the puzzle of this three-coin series and offers collectors a fantastic way to celebrate Cook’s legacy of scientific discovery and exploration.”
Artist Gary Breeze commemorates Captain Cook’s exploration of Australasia with a design featuring a Maori canoe in close proximity to the bow of the HM Bark Endeavour. Charts of New Zealand and Botany Bay can be seen in the background as well as a swirling pattern that is inspired by the decorative paddles that the Maori gave as gifts.
Gary, commented on the inspiration behind the design “I didn’t tackle the three coins separately – I wanted to create a design that would work when the three coins were united. I was inspired by UK’s definitive circulating coins with the puzzle style design that unites to make the shield of the Royal Arms; I think that was a brilliant idea for collectors to enjoy.”
This is a commemorative coin and will not be entering general circulation, so this is the only way to own this special coin.
|DENOMINATION||£2 UKP||£2 UKP|
|COMPOSITION||0.925 silver||0.9167 gold|
|WEIGHT||12.0 grams||15.97 grams|
|DIMENSIONS||28.4 mm||28.4 mm|
|MODIFICATIONS||Part gilded||Red and Yellow gold|
|MINTAGE||5,000 (4,795 solo packaged)||350 (340 solo packaged)|
|BOX / C.O.A.||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes|
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