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British George III Silver Threepence 1763 - Captain Cook Coin

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 Posted 09/26/2021  6:14 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add willieboyd2 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Recently I acquired a British silver threepence of King George III dated 1763:

Great Britain Threepence 1763
Silver, 17.5 x 17.0 mm, 1.46 gm

In 1768 astronomers all over the world wanted to observe the "Transit of Venus" when the planet Venus would pass across the sun. The transit was to occur on June 3 to 4 in 1769. The astronomers hoped to calculate the distance from the Earth to the sun from the observations.

Great Britain wanted to participate but, with weather a factor, wished to send a ship to sunny California to make the observations.

California was then a Spanish possession and the British applied at Madrid for a permit. The Spanish government made several conditions for the voyage, including that the ship's captain be a Roman Catholic. The British hired an Italian to captain the ship but the Spanish then refused permission claiming that the British actually wanted to observe the state of Spanish military defenses in California.

The Spanish then sent their man to California to make the observations. He did make them and then died of a disease.

The British sent the Italian captain to Canada and hired a British naval officer, James C. Cook, and supplied him with a ship, the Endeavour, to sail to Tahiti with astronomers to make the observations. Captain Cook did sail to Tahiti, set up a base, and his astronomers made their observations.

Captain Cook's second mission was to search for a mythical southern continent named "Terra Australis". He headed to New Zealand where he sailed along the west coast of the North Island and circled the South Island.

In January 1770 he stopped at a place he called "Ship Cove" at the north end of the South Island where he picked up supplies and had his crew make repairs on the ship. The crew encountered Maori natives and began trading with them.

When the repairs were completed and the ship was ready to leave the sailors held a drinking party and invited the natives.

An old man, who had previously paid several visits, complained that some of Cook's sailors had fired guns at the natives. Cook severely condemned the action of his men as totally unjustifiable.

During the party an empty bottle was presented to the old man who had complained about the shooting, along with some silver threepenny pieces, dated 1763, and spike nails marked with the broad arrow.

This story is a sufficient reason for getting a British threepence dated 1763.
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 Posted 09/26/2021  11:05 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Being a Sydneysider, it is a simple day trip for me to visit Captain Cook's landing site in Botany Bay.
The site is commemorated with a small obelisk.

To enable accurate positioning during the transit of Venus, an accurate chronometer was required. For this purpose, a copy of the Harrison No.4 Chronometer was carried on board. The Royal Observatory, before the start of the voyage was able to calculate exactly where the ship should be, and at at what time it was needed to be there, by a rather cumbersome mathematical calculation system of 'Lunars'. Very accurate time measurements were also needed for the exact timing of the duration of the transit.

With these observations, the Royal Observatory was able to calculate the distance between the Earth and the Sun to within 0.5% accuracy. Essential information for determining the size of the Solar System.

The chronometer was cross gimbal mounted in the center of roll, pitch and yaw of the ship; the only movement that couldn't be accounted for was the rise and fall of the ship on the waves, but was largely cancelled out by having the spindle of the balance wheel of the chronometer rotating in the same vertical axis as the ship.

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 Posted 09/27/2021  08:50 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

This story is a sufficient reason for getting a British threepence dated 1763.

A good reason indeed! Congrats!

Thanks for posting the coin and the background story. I found both very interesting.

Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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