WMF20: Captain Cooks epic voyages mapped on a extra large silver foil from Downies

While the fledgling silver foil market has mainly focused on the ever increasing media franchise presence in the numismatic world, the early issues were more interesting and innovative in nature. First amongst these was a superb reproduction of a 1507-penned map by regarded cartographer, Martin Waldseemuller, by CIT.

That was a 30g silver foil of an expansive 200 x 150mm in size, complete with tattered edge to replicate its age. A clever issue and one that looked great in hand. CIT never did issue a follow on to that foil, but Downies have taken up the challenge with a homage to the voyages of famed explorer, Captain James Cook.

In most respects this is identical to the 2017-issued Waldseemuller foil. The same size, weight, and presentation hint that CIT have produced this for Downies, although we’ve yet to see confirmation of that. The issuance for Cook Islands is another telling sign. Irrespective of that, this release must stand on its own two feet and does so with ease. We’ve always had a soft spot for old maps and their continuing relevance to the understanding of our own past achievements, but a coin isn’t the ideal canvas for depicting them. Foils certainly are.

Nicely presented in a themed card sleeve, we can’t imagine anyone with a penchant for cartography not getting pleasure from an icon of the field being reproduced in such a classy way. The mintage is set at 1,770 pieces, in a nod to the period of the voyages, and except for a price that seems quite high compared to the CIT original, would get a solid recommendation from me. Available now for $299.00 AUD direct from Downies.


The map celebrated by this prestigious legal tender issue charts the three voyages undertaken by Captain James Cook from 1768 to 1780. First published in 1849, the map was entitled ‘The World on Mercator’s Projection showing the voyages of Captain Cook around the World’.

The original map was engraved by the brilliant John Rapkin, and published by renowned cartographer John Tallis. Tallis’ maps are considered the last of the ornate, elaborately decorated maps of the 19th century. As much a work of art as a study in geography, this famous map forms the perfect subject matter for the innovative Captain Cook’s Voyages of Discovery 2020 $5 Silver-foil Prooflike Coin.

REVERSE: A masterwork of numismatic innovation, each coin features a stunning
depiction of a map showing Cook’s three Voyages of Discovery from 1768
to 1780.

OBVERSE: Bearing the Ian Rank-Broadley portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, as well as a guarantee of the specifications, this unusual map-shaped issue is an official, genuine legal tender coin. Appropriately enough, it has been issued by the Cook Islands – visited by Captain Cook in 1773 and 1777, and named in his honour in the 1820s.

DENOMINATION $5 CID (Cook Islands)
COMPOSITION 0.9999 silver
WEIGHT 30.0 grams
DIMENSIONS 200.0 x 150.0 mm
FINISH Prooflike
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes