Great Britain Resolution & Adventure Medal Platina 1772 George III Sir Joseph Banks Extremely Fine
Lot #612, Noble Numismatics Auction 90 (April 2009). Estimate: $8,000, Hammer: $7,000, Nett: $8,155.
Ex R.N.P Hawkins collection. Lot# 24, Glendinning's (London) Auction (March 1988).
Obverse: Laureate bust of King George III facing right. “GEORGE III. KING OF GR BRITAIN FRANCE AND IRELAND ETC” around. BF [Boulton & Fothergill] in truncation.
This obverse design of King George III on the Resolution and Adventure medals demonstrated to the world (including the French) that all of England, including the King himself, supported Cook on his Second Voyage. This obverse also served a practical purpose - it would allow Banks (or Cook for that matter) to show the indigenous peoples of the Southern Hemisphere an image of their king.
Reverse: Two three-masted sailing ships in heavy seas. “RESOLUTION ADVENTURE” above, “SAILED. FROM. ENGLAND / MARCH. MDCCLXXII” below.
The reasons behind the choice of the reverse design were obvious - to the people of England it showed the vessels that undertook the voyage, to the people of the Southern hemisphere it would act as a reminder of the visit by the English. Any European explorers that subsequently landed in regions where the local inhabitants had been presented with the Platina medals would be in no doubt they had been preceded by the English.
A superb example of this incredibly rare and historic medallion.
The Platina Resolution and Adventure medallion commemorated Captain James Cook’s Second Voyage across the Southern Hemisphere, which was a pioneering journey that fundamentally changed the way the world was viewed.
This medal has long been regarded as a key item in Australian numismatics and is unequivocally regarded as one of the most desirable items of Captain Cook memorabilia available.
Not only does it remain a direct link to one of the greatest explorers the world has ever known, but it is also strongly connected to the man regarded by many as being “The Father of Australia”, Sir Joseph Banks.
Many descriptions of Banks’ involvement with the Resolution & Adventure medals speak of depict Banks commissioning them almost as a benevolent patron - one far apart from the logistics of the voyage, but with warm regard for the people and objectives concerned.
The reality is however that these medals were a fundamental part of Banks’ planning for the Second Voyage - an expedition that he clearly intended to have a dominating influence over. Banks may very well have envisioned himself gifting medallions in exchange for new botanical specimens right across the Pacific, flora that he would have received further acclaim for upon his return to London.
His conflict with Cook and the Admiralty over the available accommodation on the Resolution meant that Banks did not actually travel on the ships seen on the medals he commissioned. It is interesting to wonder whether Banks would have still commissioned Boulton to manufacture these medals had he never intended to travel with Cook on his Second Voyage, some might suspect the answer would be no.
With this in mind then, the Resolution and Adventure medals are a tangible reminder of the tumultuous and short-lived involvement of Sir Joseph Banks in Cook’s Second Voyage.
Work on the medals did not begin until after the Resolution’s new deck was complete on February 2nd 1772, and Boulton had well and truly finished striking them at least a month before Banks withdrew from the expedition on May 28th 1772.
RNP Hawkins Collection
Roy Neville Playfair Hawkins was a British numismatist that contributed a great deal to the study of British numismatic items. He was an active member of a number of numismatic societies, the list of publications he contributed to and articles he wrote that was listed in the British Numismatic Journal upon his passing spanned several pages.
Hawkins' collection of coins and historical medals was auctioned by Glendining's of London in March 1988.
Drilled, Ready for Suspension and Presentation
The obverse legend at 12 o'clock shows signs of the planchet being drilled ready for the addition of the suspension loop, indicating that this medal was prepared for distribution, but was clearly retained.
Research into the Resolution and Adventure medal by the South Australian numismatist Peter Lane has determined that "...a considerable number of medals, perhaps a quarter of the original number, were left after the voyage had been completed, Cook took the remaining medals on his Third Voyage of Discovery." 
Further research by Lane has determined that "A small number of the platina alloy medals do exist in choice condition both in public and private collections. These suggest that some medals of this alloy were not distributed on the voyages, but were sold or distributed to interested persons in England or even collected by crew members." 
As the images here show, this particular example of the Resolution and Adventure medal remains in excellent condition. The fine detail in the design either side remains sharp and clear, and there is very limited rubbing on the high points.
Attractive flashes of lustre remain evident in the devices on both sides.
Not only does the excellent quality of this medal allow us to enjoy the designs fully and without distraction, the implied possibility that it may have been kept by a crew member or related person that had a keen interest in the voyage only adds to the appeal it has.
1. Lane; Peter, "The Killora Resolution and Adventure Medal" in the Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia, Volume 6, 1992, p 17.
2. Lane; Peter, "The Killora Resolution and Adventure Medal" in the Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia, Volume 6, 1992, p 20.
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