The Royal Society Medal, in commemoration of Captain Cook. Obverse: Uniformed bust of James Cook. Reverse: Fortune leaning upon a column, holding a rudder on a globe. COOK: COMMEMORATIVE, Lewis PINGO.
The Royal Society Medal, in commemoration of Captain Cook. Obverse: Uniformed bust of James Cook. Reverse: Fortune leaning upon a column, holding a rudder on a globe.

The Royal Society Medal, in commemoration of Captain Cook…
The Royal Society Medal, in commemoration of Captain Cook. Obverse: Uniformed bust of James Cook. Reverse: Fortune leaning upon a column, holding a rudder on a globe.

London, Royal Society, 1784.

Bronze medal, 43 mm. diameter, relief bust of Captain Cook on recto, full-length relief portrait of Fortune leaning on a column while resting her hand upon a rudder which is affixed to a globe on verso.

The Royal Society's formal memorial to the great navigator: one of 577 bronze specimens. Fellows of the Royal Society were entitled to a free bronze medal, while silver and gold issues were available by subscription only; some were reserved for presentation. L. Richard Smith (The Royal Society Cook Medal, Sydney, 1982) has suggested a probable final minting figure of 22 gold, 322 silver and 577 bronze medals. An engraving of the medal was printed on the title-page of the second and third editions (and some copies of the first) of the official account.

The Royal Society's formal memorial to the great navigator: one of 577 bronze specimens. Fellows of the Royal Society were entitled to a free bronze medal, while silver and gold issues were available by subscription only; some were reserved for presentation. L. Richard Smith (The Royal Society Cook Medal, Sydney, 1982) has suggested a probable final minting figure of 22 gold, 322 silver and 577 bronze medals. An engraving of the medal was printed on the title-page of the second and third editions (and some copies of the first) of the official account.
The commissioning of this medal was due above all else to the efforts of Sir Joseph Banks, who supervised 'the minting and distribution of the Royal Society Cook medal as a personal task coincident with the publication of the narrative of the tragic third voyage' (H.B. Carter, Sir Joseph Banks, 1988, p. 168). Cook's European reputation is borne out by several letters to Banks from the Continent requesting specimens of the medal, including one from Bougainville, who wrote in June 1785 to remind Banks that as a member since 1756 he felt entitled to one (see The Banks Letters, ed. W.R. Dawson, 1958, p. 122).

Beddie, 2795; Betts, American Colonial History Illustrated by Contemporary Medals, 553; Klenman, K5; Marquess of Milford Haven, 'British and Foreign Naval Medals', 734; Mira, Captain Cook: his coins & medals, pp. 35-7; Nan Kivell and Spence, p. 72.

Price (AUD): $4,200.00  other currencies     Ref: #4212270

Condition Report