The skull & crossbones returns with Anne Bonny, the first of the Royal Australian Mint’s ‘Pirate Queens’

Just like the movie industry, it seems what’s in vogue comes in waves, and one of the current subjects that seem to crop up in the bullion coin market has been the world of pirates and old sailing vessels. The Nautical Ounce has been a popular issue for the last few years, recently seeing its 2021 release, ‘Australian Shipwrecks’ has recently ended, the blockbuster movie series ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ has seen a release, and the APMEX released, Perth Mint series ‘Black Flag’ is firmly based in the pirate world.

The first in that list, ‘Australian Shipwrecks’ was issued by the Royal Australian Mint, and it seems to have been successful enough to warrant immediately heading back into the nautical realm with ‘Pirate Queens’. If this debut coin is a good indicator, it will be one to watch. The series title is pretty clear as to the subject, but it’s a limited field to choose from. The Chinese pirate queen Ching Shih’ is well known and has already featured in the Black Flag series, there’s the Irishwoman Grace O’Malley, and the American Rachel Wall, but the two big names are Anne Bonny and Mary Read, the former the choice to launch the series.

A very nice coin indeed, the depiction of the ship is first class and the way the sea caresses the classic skull & crossbones at the bottom is quite excellent. As a pirate coin, we love it, but it isn’t really an Anne Bonny coin as she is completely absent as an individual and there’s nothing to suggest the ship is hers. A small point, but worth mentioning. The silver coin has the ship sailing forward, while the rare gold coin has it sailing away from us. Despite that, they remain very close in overall layout and appearance.

Two formats make up the range, both an ounce in weight. The 0.999 silver coin has a mintage of just 10,000 pieces, while the 0.9999 gold coin, which comes boxed with a C.O.A., tops out at a miniscule 100 units. It’s issued for the Solomon Islands, rare for the RAM, but the effigy of QEII is still in residence. All told, an attractive debut. It’s exclusively distributed by German dealer EMK and is available to order now.


The motive of the silver Premium Bullion Coin features the pirate ship of Anne Bonny and John Rackham with a hoisted flag from the front. Below the ship is the typical pirate sign – a skull with two crossed infantry swords. The inscription “ANNE BONNY” and the weight and fineness complete the design. The reverse shows the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, the monetary denomination and the year of issue.

Born in Kinsale, Ireland, in the late 1690s, Anne Bonny was the daughter of Mary Brennan, a maid, and William Cormac, a lawyer. When the affair became public, Cormac, Mary and Anne emigrated to the United States. There, Anne was to be married to a respected merchant before her 20th birthday – but she met and married the sailor John Bonny. Through him she gained her first insights into piracy and was deeply fascinated by the new world that revealed itself to her. When she finally met the pirate John Rackham in today’s Nassau (Bahamas), she left John Bonny to make the seas unsafe together with Rackham.

They were later joined by the equally famous female pirate Mary Read. In 1720, the pirate crew was ambushed and overpowered. Rackham was executed, whereas Anne Bonny and Mary Read were initially imprisoned due to alleged pregnancies. Mary Read died there of a fever – the fate of Anne Bonny remains uncertain to this day.

DENOMINATION $2 (Solomon Islands) $100 (Solomon Islands)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.9999 gold
WEIGHT 31.1 grams 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 40.0 mm 38.74 mm
MINTAGE 10,000 100
BOX / C.O.A. No /No Yes / Yes