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King George III sixpence, 1816, pierced

Date: 1816
Overall: 20 mm, 0.003 kg
Medium: Silver
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with the assistance of the Andrew Thyne Reid Trust
Classification:Coins and medals
Object Name: Coin
Object No: 00025102
Place Manufactured:England
Related Place:South Head,

User Terms

    This silver sixpence was minted in England in 1816. It features a portrait of King George III wearing a wreath in his hair. The reverseb features the shield in garter. This sixpnce was struck in the year of the Greta Recoinage in Britain.
    The French Revolutionary Wars from 1792 to 1802, and the Napoleonic Wars from 1803 to 1815 led to financial instability in Britain. The government needed to find a way to stabilise the currency and the Great Recoinage was the first step in this process.The main aims were the re-introduction of a silver coinage and a change in the gold coinage from the guinea to the slightly lighter sovereign. Part of the material from the historic shipwreck DUNBAR.
    The DUNBAR Collection was retrieved under the auspices of an amnesty enacted through the jurisdiction of the Historic Shipwrecks Act, 1976.
    SignificanceThis sixpence is representative of currency produced in England and used in the colony of New South Wales during the mid-19th century. It is also associated with the tragic loss of the DUNBAR on 20 August 1857, the worst peace-time merchant shipping tragedy in the history of New South Wales.
    HistoryOn the night of Thursday 20 August 1857, the clipper DUNBAR approached the heads of Sydney Harbour after a voyage of 81 days.
    Launched in 1853, the vessel was owned by Duncan Dunbar, and was the sister ship of the PHOEBE DUNBAR, the DUNBAR CASTLE and the DUNCAN DUNBAR.
    Under the command of Captain Green, the DUNBAR was on its second voyage to Sydney. Despite the treacherous weather conditions on the night, Captain Green and his crew attempted to enter Sydney Harbour that evening, rather than wait until morning.
    The DUNBAR was driven into the reef at the foot of South Head and began to break up immediately. In the hours that followed, all but one of the passengers and crew perished. The survivor, Able Seaman James Johnson clung to a ledge on the cliff face until he was rescued on the morning of 22 August, some 36 hours after the DUNBAR ran aground.
    When news of the wreck reached Sydney the following day, it immediately captured the attention of the public. In the days following, the media provided extensive coverage of the search for survivors and victims, and daily chronicled the progress of the inquest.
    Residents were drawn to the scene for the morbid task of identifying friends, relatives and business associates. Still only a relatively small town, Sydney was staggered by the enormity and proximity of the tragedy.
    A mass funeral for those who died and who, in most cases, could not be identified was held on 24 September. The interments took place at St. Stephen's Cemetery, Camperdown where there is still a monument to the victims.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: King George III sixpence, 1816, pierced

    (not entered): Dunbar Shipwreck

    Related Sites South Head

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