Last week I asked for more information on the history of the unique Charlotte Medal, engraved by the convict and expert forger Thomas Barrett when the First Fleet arrived at Australia's Botany Bay.The `Charlotte' Medal, 1788, in silver (74mm, weight 37.58gms) (MH.49 - this piece), engraved on both sides of a thin silver disc, obverse, fully-rigged ship secured to a buoy, sun near horizon to left, crescent moon and stars in the sky, inscribed in left field `The Charlotte at anchor / in Botany Bay / Jany. th 20, / 1788', inscribed on reverse a full description of the voyage from London to Botany Bay (13,106 miles) in nautical terminology. Contemporary in style this medallion was engraved by Thomas Barrett one of the convicts on board the `Charlotte' whilst the ship was anchored in Botany Bay between the 20th and 26th January. This medal is widely acclaimed as the first Australian Colonial work of art and an icon of the foundation of our nation and as such is of immense historical interest to Australia. Extremely fine and unique
Colin Pitchfork, President of the Australian Numismatic Society and Numismatic Consultant to Noble Numismatics forwarded the full text and illustrations of the medal from the recent Noble Sale. Many thanks! Here's an excerpt which includes a partial pedigree. -Editor
Ex The Marquess of Milford Haven, A.H.F. Baldwin and (Spink Australia Sale 6 [lot 422]) John J. Ford Collections. The `Charlotte' was built on the Thames in 1784. Her length was 105 feet, the maximum breadth between her wales was about 28 feet 2 inches, and her tonnage 38 tons. The ship featured two decks and three masts, but had no embellishments such as a figurehead or galleries, and contemporary records generally describe her as `square-sterned'.
Christopher Eimer writes"
The Charlotte medal was pedigreed in the Noble catalogue to an earlier Noble auction, in its earlier incarnation as Spink Australia, in Sale 6 on 20 November 1981. I do not have a prices realized for this auction, but I believe that it sold for something in the order of A$ 11,000. Prior to this and the Ford ownership, the medal, as also mentioned in the Noble Auction catalogue, was in the collection of A.H.F. Baldwin and, previously, that of the Marquess of Milford Haven.
What was not mentioned in the catalogue is that the medal was published in 1919 in the first volume of the Marquess of Milford Haven's collection of naval medals, as No. 40 on pages 463, and on 465, where it is illustrated.
I trust that this finds you well and add my congratulations and praise for the work that you are doing on the E-Sylum.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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