- Museum number
Bronze medal. (whole)
Laureate head of George III right. (obverse)
Two frigates viewed from astern. (reverse)
- Production date
Diameter: 42.000 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Brown 1980 states:
The second voyage was intended to begin in March 1772 as indicated on the medal but encountered numerous delays and the expedition in fact set sail on 13th July; it was to last three years and eighteen days. During this time only four men were lost, one of them from sickness. Cook, promoted to Commander for the voyage, sailed in the 'Resolution' with a complement of 110 men. Captain Tobias Furneaux sailed in the 'Adventure' with a complement of 80 men. The intention of the voyage was to determine the existence of an antarctic continent and to explore the high southern latitudes.
A quantity of mounted bronze or brass gilt specimens of this medal were taken on the voyage and were intended for presentation to the natives. The mount is comprised of a small, screw-threaded hole bored into the edge above head on the obverse and into this is screwed a pin with a moveable loop pierced through it horizontally. Mounted specimens are very rare and almost always in poor condition. Most have been found in New Zealand, presumably having been presented to Maoris at the time of the voyage. There are records extant for the striking of these medals and it would seem that two specimens were struck in gold, 106 in silver and 2,000 in bronze. The Admiralty paid Boulton for the bronze specimens and had them delivered to Cook. The two gold and 106 silver were sent, with invoices, to Joseph Banks who was to act as Botanist on the voyage and who was a man of considerable private means. Banks later withdrew from the voyage and one must suppose that the gold and silver medals were a purely private venture on his part. Probably he sold them or gave them to interested people. An example in gold is in the British Museum and this came from the collection of Banks' sister. The whereabouts of the other specimen is not known. Most of the bronze medals are unmounted and there must be some doubt as to whether these pieces were actually taken on the voyage. Possibly they, too, were sold or given to interested parties. There is a uniface iron trial striking of the obverse in the Hunterian Coin Cabinet. Two reverse dies were used for the bronze medals. One, which was also used for the silver specimens, has the anchor in a horizontal position. The other die, used only for the bronze, shows the anchor in a vertical position.
See Arthur Westwood. 'Matthew Boulton's 'Otaheite' Medal'. Birmingham Assay Office, 1926. In this publication it is suggested that the medal was engraved by John Westwood, the author having seen an obverse cliché signed WESTWOOD on the truncation of the bust. In these circumstances the letters B : F which normally appear in this position can be taken to mean BOULTON FECIT.
Bibliography: Betts, C. Wyllys, 'American Colonial History illustrated by contemporary medals', New York, 1894, 552; Grueber, H. A., English Personal Medals for 1760, 'Numismatic Chronicle', third series vol. X 1890/72; Fiala, E. 'Münzen und Medaillen der Welfischen Lande', Prague, 1915, 393/94; Forrer, L. 'Biographical Dictionary of Medallists, etc.', Vol. VII London, Reprinted 1980, 50; G. 519; Hocking, W. J. 'Catalogue of the coins, tokens, medals, dies and seals in the museum of the Royal Mint', Vol. II, London, 1910, 229/83 (this is not AV as stated); Milford Haven, Admiral the Marquis of. 'British Naval Medals', London, 1919, 373; Sandwich, The Rt. Hon. the Earl of. 'British and Foreign medals relating to naval and maritime affairs', 2nd ed., London, 1950, 00/8.
- Not on display
- Associated events
- Commemoration of: Captain Cook's Second Voyage to the Pacific, 1772
- Acquisition date
- Coins and Medals
- Registration number
- C&M catalogue number
MB3 (Brown 1) (38) (165)