The Charlotte medal in silver is believed to have been engraved on board the First Fleet transport Charlotte as she lay at anchor in Botany Bay before sailing into Port Jackson and unloading her cargo of convicts at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788.
Inscribed with an account of the voyage from England and an image of the Charlotte, it is acclaimed as Australia’s first colonial work of art, and furthermore, as a unique record of the arrival of the settlers who founded modern Australia.
The 74mm wide medal is believed to have been made from a surgical dish by convicted thief Thomas Barrett at the behest of John White, the ship’s surgeon. White wanted a memento of the historic landing and chose Barrett for the task after he’d displayed remarkable skill at forging coins during the arduous sea voyage.
Alas, Barrett lasted little more than a month in the convict colony, meeting his fate at the end of a hangman’s rope for stealing beef and peas. Not only was he responsible for the historic silver medal, but also a smaller copper version, thought to have been commissioned by White’s personal servant, William Broughton.
Material for the second medal could have come from copper sheathing used to protect the ship’s hull. The finished piece measured 47mm in diameter and featured an abridged form of the inscription on the silver medal, but no ship.
Sailed the Charlotte of London from spit head the 13 of May 1787. Bound for Botany Bay in the Island of new holland Arriv’d at Teneriff the 4th June in Lat 28.13N Long 16.23 W depart’d it 10 Dec arriv’d at rio janeiro 6 of Aug in Lat 22.54 S Long 42.38 W depart’d it the 5 of Sept arriv’d at the Cape of good hope the 14 Octr in Lat 34.29 S Lon S 18.29 E depart’d it th 13 of Nov and made the South Cape of New Holland the ‘8 of Jany 1788 in Lat 43.32 S Long 146.56E arrived Botany Bay the 20 of Jany the Charlotte in Co in Lat 34.00 South Long 151.00 East distance from Great Britain miles 13106.
The silver Charlotte medal belonging to surgeon John White, who returned to England, remained unknown until it appeared in the famous collection of the Marquess of Milford Haven. Details were published in 1919 in the first volume covering his collection of naval medals.
William Broughton remained in the colony, rising to become an official of significant stature in the Government of New South Wales. His copper Charlotte medal was discovered during the 1940s on the site of a farm in Camden with which he was associated.
According to rare coin specialist Noble Numismatics, if the silver Charlotte medal is one of the most significant and rare items associated with the First Fleet, then the copper Charlotte medal must rank as equal in rarity and significance.
Where are the Charlotte medals now?
The Australian National Maritime Museum (with help from the National Cultural Heritage Account) made the winning bid at auction of $750,000 for the silver Charlotte medal in 2008. It is can be seen on display in the Museum, which is located in Sydney’s Darling Harbour.
The copper Charlotte medal is currently for sale via Noble Numismatics.
Capture the spirit of Christmas this festive season with a 2013 Christmas Coin.
Struck from 1/2oz of 99.9% pure silver in proof quality, the coin is issued as Australian legal tender. The reverse of the coloured coin portrays a Christmas tree decorated with festive ornaments against a backdrop of stars with the inscription ‘Merry Christmas’.
With a mintage of 5,000, each coin is presented in a classic display case and beautifully illustrated shipper and is accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.
For your chance to win this stunning coin, simply rearrange the following letters to solve the anagram.
Clue: A popular Christmas carol How to enter: Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org marking your reply ‘December 2013 Anagram Competition’ in the subject line. Please include your name, address and telephone number. Entries close on 6 January 2014. Eligible entrants will be included in the free draw and the winner will be notified by telephone or email.
Last month’s winner: Congratulations Andrew Mckechnie of Queensland.
The 2014 Lunar Good Fortune set is laden with Chinese symbolism for those celebrating the Year of the Horse.
The Wisdom design depicts a horse with a traditional ink stone and brushes, said to signify patience and sagacity.
The Wealth coin portrays a rearing horse wearing a ceremonial saddle and a money tree heavy with gold coins representing increasing prosperity.
Both designs are encircled by a horse shoe, denoting luck.
Each coin is struck from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver and no more than 1,500 of these two coins sets will be released.
We’ve been delving into the tradition of decorated Christmas trees like the one portrayed on our 2013 Christmas coin.
In the past, evergreen shrubs and trees held special meaning for people during the depths of the northern winter. Pine, spruce and yew were used to brighten dwellings around the time of the winter solstice. Some people believed an evergreen sprig above the door would ward off evil spirits.
The first Christmas tree lit with candles is thought to have been the creation of religious reformer Martin Luther. It’s said he was inspired by the vision of stars twinkling among the evergreens on a winter’s night. Erected in Strasbourg Cathedral in 1539, his tree must have been a spectacular sight.
When Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz moved to Britain to marry King George III in 1761, she took with her the German custom of adorning Christmas trees with wax tapers, coloured papers, fruit, trinkets and gifts. This ritual became popular with members of the British court and nobility.
It was not until the middle of the 19th century, however, that the practice became more widespread. Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s German-born husband, was particularly instrumental in popularising Christmas trees.
He used glass ornaments, coloured beads and paper baskets with sugared almonds for decoration. In 1848, an engraving of the Royal Family celebrating Christmas at Windsor beneath their dressed tree sparked extensive interest.
Early settlers in the Australian colonies were keen to remind themselves of home at Christmas – but had to make do with native flora. From the 1850s, branches of eucalypt, pink-coloured Christmas bush or scarlet Christmas Bells were used to decorate the house, roof, or veranda.
These days, local cultivation of traditional Christmas trees means that Australians tend to follow the original German custom more closely, using a mesmerising display of tinsel, baubles and glittering lights for decoration.
The following collector releases are now sold out at The Perth Mint.
|2014 Year of the Horse 1 Kilo Silver Proof Coin
Mintage Limit: 500 sold out
|2014 Year of the Horse Silver Typeset Collection
Issue Limit: 1,500 sold out