Tuvalu may be thousands of miles from America, but a new collector
coin from that far-flung land celebrates an object that was
instrumental in American history.
The Perth Mint on Nov. 1 released a Proof .999 fine silver dollar
depicting the Mayflower, the cargo ship that transported the
English separatists or pilgrims, from a site near the Mayflower Steps
in Plymouth, England, to Plymouth, Mass., in 1620.
The coin is the third in a series dubbed Ships That Changed the World.
The Mayflower has an iconic place in American history as
a symbol of European colonization. At a time when most countries
(including England) had an official state religion, and religious
dissent was punished severely (sometimes by death), the Pilgrims
journeyed to the New World seeking, above all else, religious freedom.
Early settlers were a small party of dissenting Puritans who came to
the new world to escape religious oppression and to practice their
faith in freedom.
Exact details of the Mayflower’s dimensions are unknown,
but estimates based on its load, weight and the typical size of
merchant ships of its day suggest an estimated length of 90 to 110
feet and a width of approximately 25 feet, according to the Perth Mint.
The original voyage of the Mayflower included 102
passengers, of which only half were Puritans. Among the others were
hired hands, servants or farmers recruited by London merchants for the
originally intended destination of the mouth of the Hudson River, and
the ships crew numbering 25 to 30 people.
The Mayflower blew off course and never reached the
Hudson River. With winter approaching and with few options, the ship
anchored in Cape Cod Bay. During the harsh winter, the passengers and
crew suffered an outbreak of a contagious disease described as a
mixture of scurvy, pneumonia and tuberculosis. By spring, only 53
passengers and half the crew were left alive.
In March 1621, the surviving passengers left the
Mayflower and eventually settled at Plymouth. These were the
earliest permanent European settlers to New England. It is believed
that in November of that year, the Mayflower survivors
celebrated a harvest festival to give thanks for their salvation, thus
launching the tradition of Thanksgiving in the United States.
The Mayflower, a privately commissioned vessel, returned
to England in 1623. It is believed it was eventually dismantled for
scrap lumber in Rotherhithe, London.
The reverse of the coin, which was designed by Tom Vaughan, shows
the Mayflower in full sail, set against a colored globe map,
with the inscription MAYFLOWER.
The obverse depicts the Raphael Maklouf effigy of Queen Elizabeth
II, the date 2012 and the denomination.
The coin weighs 31.135 grams, measures 40.6 millimeters in
diameter and has a mintage limit of 5,000 pieces.
The coins are available for $99.95 from distributor Talisman
Coins. To order the coins, visit the firm’s website,
www.talismancoins.com, telephone the company at 888-552-2646 or
fax the business at 314-968-3801. ■