The first voyage of James Cook was a combined Royal Navy and Royal Society expedition to the south Pacific Ocean aboard HMS Endeavour, from 1768 to 1771. It was the first of three Pacific voyages of which Cook was the commander.

In 1769 a rare astronomical event (it takes place in a pattern that repeats itself every 243 years) was due to take place – the Transit of Venus. Captain Cook and his crew (including British naturalist Joseph Banks, British astronomer Charles Green and Swedish naturalist Daniel Solander) left Rio De Janeiro bound for Tahiti. Here they built an observatory to study this phenomenon. Scientists hoped these studies would finally enable them to calculate the size of the Solar System. With his work on the island complete, Cook turned his attention to the sealed orders in his possession. His next mission was revealed. It was time to start the search for the fabled southern continent (Terra Australis Incognita or unknown land of the South) that scholars had speculated about for centuries.

250 years later, The Royal Mint issued a series of three £2 coins, released each year from 2018 to 2020, will explore Captain Cook’s voyage of discovery in real time. The coins carry three intriguing designs by sculptor Gary Breeze, which combine to create a single, complete image that tells the story of Captain Cook’s voyage.


The fifth crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the George IV State Diadem and drop earrings.

The George IV State Diadem, officially the Diamond Diadem, is a type of crown that was made in 1820 for King George IV. The diadem is worn by queens and queens consort in procession to coronations and State Openings of Parliament. The piece of jewelry has been featured in paintings and on stamps and currency. It can be seen in the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace.

ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FIDEI DEFENSATRIX means Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, Queen and Defender of the Faith.

Engraver: Jody Clark



Depicts the mast of the HM Bark Endeavour below a celestial image of the Transit of Venus.

Captain James Cook (1728– 1779) was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. Cook made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand. Cook was attacked and killed while attempting to kidnap the native chief of Hawaii during his third exploratory voyage in the Pacific in 1779.

HMS Endeavour, also known as HM Bark Endeavour, was a British Royal Navy research vessel that Lieutenant James Cook commanded on his first voyage of discovery, to Australia and New Zealand, from 1769 to 1771.

Tahiti (previously also known as Otaheite) is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia.

Engraver: Gary Breeze



The most intrepid investigator of the seas.


Type Commemorative Issue (Non-circulating)
Material Bi-Metallic
Ring Cupronickel
Center Nickel Brass
Weight 12 g
Diameter 28.4 mm
Thickness -
Shape round
Alignment Medal
Royal Mint

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