Contemporary medal "Capt. James Cook: Courage and Perseverance" COOK: DEATH.
Contemporary medal "Capt. James Cook: Courage and Perseverance".

"Capt. James Cook: Courage and Perseverance".
Contemporary medal "Capt. James Cook: Courage and Perseverance".

London: circa 1780.

Bronze medal, 37 mm.

Exceptionally rare medal, an early commemoration of Cook's death

Extremely rare: the "Courage and Perseverance" medal, struck soon after news of Cook's death reached England. News of Cook's death was first published in Büsching's Wöchentlichte Nachrichten (Berlin, 1780) in early January 1780, via the despatches sent back by Clerke and King from Kamchatka. The news quickly appeared in England, and the two "Pallas letters" remained the only source for information on the events at Kealakekua Bay almost until the return of Resolution and Discovery in September 1780. As a result, this medal belongs to the important phase after the news of Cook's death had reached Europe, but before any detailed description of events was available.

Extremely rare: the "Courage and Perseverance" medal, struck soon after news of Cook's death reached England. News of Cook's death was first published in Büsching's Wöchentlichte Nachrichten (Berlin, 1780) in early January 1780, via the despatches sent back by Clerke and King from Kamchatka. The news quickly appeared in England, and the two "Pallas letters" remained the only source for information on the events at Kealakekua Bay almost until the return of Resolution and Discovery in September 1780. As a result, this medal belongs to the important phase after the news of Cook's death had reached Europe, but before any detailed description of events was available.

This, and the similar and equally rare "Kill'd by the Indians at O'why'hee" medal, are the earliest artefacts made in commemoration of Cook's death. The medal features a portrait of Cook in naval uniform facing half-right and the caption "CAPT. JAMES COOK". The reverse reads: "COURAGE / AND / PERSEVERANCE / Born 1728 Died 1779". There is debate about which of the medals, either the "Courage and Perseverance" or the "Kill'd by the Indians", has priority, but it is commonly agreed that the present medal is the superior medal in terms of lettering and balance (see Mira, James Cook, His Coins and Medals).

Provenance: Private collection (U.S.A.).

Beddie, 2833, 2834, 2835; British Historical Medals, 218; C.W. Betts, American Colonial History Illustrated by Contemporary Medals, 555; Gullick, Australian medals and badges, Sydney, 1915, p.140; Klenman, Faces of Captain Cook, K3; Marquess of Milford Haven, 'British and Foreign Naval Medals', 375; Mira, James Cook, His Coins & Medals, pp.38-9; Nan Kivell and Spence, p. 79.

Price (AUD): $12,000.00  other currencies Ref: #4102433

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