The Resolution and Adventure Medal
This medal is among the first trade items in the English-Pacific trade and a token of Anglo-native friendship much like the Indian Peace medals of the English, French and Americans. This medal is an extraordinary rarity. It is an impressive numismatic connection with two sojourns that truly altered the course of history with implications to the present day and beyond. A classic relic whose rarity would make it the highlight of any advanced collection of historical medals.
The 42mm yellow-bronze Resolution and Adventure Medal was designed by William Barnett in 1772. The obverse depicts the laureate draped bust of King George III facing right with the inscription GEORGE III KING OF GR BRITAIN FRANCE AND.IRELAND ETC. Cook's ships Resolution and Adventure are depicted on the reverse of the medal, with an inscription SAILED FROM ENGLAND MARCH MDCCCXXII (1772).
Resolution and Adventure Medal with Original Loop
Originally, a ribbon was passed through a suspension loop enabling the medal to be worn around the neck of its recipient. This medal had a brass suspension loop drilled into the rim above the King's head.
The British explorer and mariner James Cook presented Māori chiefs with specially struck medals in 1773, during his second Pacific voyage. They commemorated the voyage and were also used to assert the rights of discovery. The medals were distributed on New Zealand's South Island.
No artifact better defines the point of native-Western contact in the Pacific. In fact, a specimen of this medal was literally the very first Western object to ever be given to the natives of the Hawaiian Islands. On January 19, 1778, on Cook's third and final voyage, Cook anchored off Kauai and soon saw six canoes approaching his ships. Cook offered a trade: by tying some of the brass medals to a rope and giving them to those in one of the canoes. In return the natives tied some small mackerel to the rope as an equivalent exchange.
This 1777 sketch of an interaction on Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) by John Weber was the first to show Anglos and aborigines together and even depicts the medal being awarded.
Two thousand were struck and taken on board the Resolution when it left Plymouth, England on July 1, 1772. The medals were taken to the South Pacific islands, including New Zealand and Tahiti. Cook's records indicate only one presentation of the medals to residents of North America at Nootka Sound where Cook arrived on March 30, 1778.
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