World Coins

Royal Mint begins coin series for Capt. James Cook

Explorer Capt. James Cook’s 1768 voyage of discovery was only his first. 

To mark the 250th anniversary of Cook’s initial epic voyage of discovery, aboard HMS Endeavour, the Royal Mint has embarked upon a new three-year series of commemorative coins. 

The son of a farmhand, from the age of 17 Cook lived in the historic port town of Whitby. 

1806 Mint reportInside Coin World: About those 1805 silver dollars Although an 1806 Mint document claims 321 silver dollar were made in 1805, no such coins are known today. It took a later book to explain the reference.

In August 1768, the then 39-year-old Cook and his crew set sail on the Endeavour. It was the first of three lengthy journeys for the intrepid pioneer, during which he would circumnavigate the world twice. His spirit of adventure helped to fill in the blanks on the world map and improve our knowledge of new places, peoples, plants and even other planets. 


Cook’s ship was originally a coal ship, or collier, called Earl of Pembroke

It was purchased by the Navy and refitted for the voyage. It was robust but shallow of draught, able to withstand the power of the sea but navigate shallow waters, which was perfect for the journey it would take. 

Cook’s life ended, however, when he was murdered Feb. 14, 1779, by natives in Hawaii, while trying to kidnap a chief.

The Royal Mint has unveiled designs for the first £2 coin in the series, all of which bear reverses designed by Gary Breeze and form a “puzzle design,” the Royal Mint said, that “builds over three years to tell Captain Cook’s story.”

The reverse of the first coin in the series depicts part of the ship set against Plymouth Sound, from whence it departed. 

Cook’s facsimile signature and name appear below the scene, and the anniversary  dates 1768–2018 appear above.

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The Brilliant Uncirculated ringed-bimetallic version has a copper-nickel core surrounded by a nickel-brass ring.

The Proof .925 fine silver version features .9167 fine gold plating to mimic the ring of the ringed-bimetallic coin.

The Proof gold coin features a .999 fine yellow gold center with a .9167 fine red gold ring. 

The Jody Clark effigy of Queen Elizabeth II appears on all three versions of the 2018 coin. 

All of the coins measure 28.4 millimeters in diameter. 

The BU coin weighs 12 grams and has an unlimited mintage. This version comes packaged in a colorful, informative pack for £10. 

The silver coin weighs 12 grams and is limited to a mintage of 7,500 coins. The gold coin weighs 15.87 grams and has a mintage limit of 1,000 pieces. 

Both precious metal versions are packaged in a capsule inside a display box with certificate of authenticity. The silver coin retails for £67.50 and the gold coin is priced at £845.

Purchasers can lock in a subscription for all three coins in the series at the Royal Mint website

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