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Royal Society Captain Cook commemorative medal

Date: 1784
Overall: 0.05 kg
Medium: Silver
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Coins and medals
Object Name: Medal
Object No: 00004508
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    This commemorative medal by the Royal Society was designed by their chief engraver Lewis Pingo and released four years after Captain James Cook was killed at Hawaii. On the reverse is the draped female figure of Fortune representing navigation and leaning against an ornamented pillar with a sceptre in her left hand and her right hand placing a rudder upon a globe. This medal was commissioned by the Royal Society, of which Cook was a Fellow and is one of an estimated 320 silver medals struck.
    SignificanceThis commemorative silver medal is representative of the respect felt towards Captain James Cook by the Royal Society and the British public.
    HistoryFollowing the death of Captain James Cook at Tahiti in 1779 the Royal Society under the Presidency of Cook's ENDEAVOUR companion Sir Joseph Banks resolved to strike a commemorative medal in Cook's honour. Banks was instrumental in the commissioning and production of the medal. Not having sufficient funding themselves the Royal Society sought the finances from public subscriptions.

    British engraver Lewis Pingo was granted the commission to design the work after competing with a number of other entrants. He received a payment of £84 for the two dies he created. The medal celebrated Cook's achievements in navigation and journeys through the depiction of the female figure Fortune holding a rudder over the globe.

    Only 20 medals were struck in gold, around 320 in silver and 574 in bronze. They were then sold to the subscribers of the Royal Society and a small number were also given to a few select prominent people. Elizabeth Cook was one of those gifted with a limited edition gold medal in honour of her late husband.

    The medal's obverse is inscribed with:
    IAC COOK OCEANI INVESTIGATOR ACERRIMUS (The Most Intrepid Investigator of the Seas)

    The reverse:
    NIL INTENTATUM NOSTRI LIQUERE (Our Men Have Left Nothing Unattempted).
    Related People
    Engraver: Lewis Pingo

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