Pride of Baltimore II recaptures the days of 19th-century privateers.
South Atlantic Privateers
By Dan Lewis |
Thu, 18 Dec 2008
Tristan da Cunha coin series captures storied ships and swashbuckling tales of the high seas.Ahoy, there, mates!
This month, I’d like to explore a coin series issued by Tristan da Cunha that depicts privateering ships.Widely known as the most remote archipelago in the world, Tristan da Cunha is located in the South Atlantic Ocean, 2,088 miles west of Cape Town, South Africa, and 1,750 miles southeast of Brazil. It is a dependency of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, 1,510 miles to the north.
The territory comprises the main island, Tristan da Cunha, which encompasses 38 square miles; inaccessible, Nightingale and Gough Islands; and several uninhabited tracts of land. The population fluctuates between 265 and 280 residents. The main sources of income are fishing, as well as the production and sales of philatelic and numismatic items.
In 2006 Tristan da Cunha authorized a 12-coin series titled “The Privateering Ships of the South Atlantic,” recalling privately owned, armed ships that were commissioned to attack and capture enemy vessels in the 18th and 19th centuries. Each of the base-metal, legal-tender 1-crown coins bears the image of one such famous (or infamous) sailing ship. Argus.
This 10-gun sloop originally was a French privateer. Captured by the British Royal Navy, it was broken up in 1811. Chasseur.
The original “Pride of Baltimore,” under the command of Captain Thomas Boyle, harassed the British merchant fleet unmercifully, capturing or sinking 17 ships before returning home inMarch 1815. Columbus.
The American brig with 12 guns and a 30-man crew under the command of Captain T. Moore captured the sloop St. Louis in 1778. The Enterprise.
This American brig sailed out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1776 under the command of Captain D. Jackson.Griffin.
Under the command of Captain Robert Grimshaw, this British brig operated out of Liverpool, England, in the 1770s. In February 1779, it successfully captured the French ship Le Count St. Germaine. Hornet.
Launched on July 28, 1805, it fought in the War of 1812 under James Lawrence, who later gave the U.S. Navy its famous motto “Don’t give up the ship.” On March 23, 1815, Hornet captured the H.M.S. Penguin in a short battle off Tristan da Cunha.
Syren. This seven-gun schooner, part of the famous Baltimore fleet of privateers, distinguished herself by capturing the British cutter Landrail. Unfortunately, she was recaptured by the British before she could get her prize back to an American port. True Blooded Yankee.
One of the most successful American privateers, she captured 27 vessels and took 270 prisoners in a 37-day cruise in 1812. Tybalt.
This was the last American privateer commissioned during the RevolutionaryWar, in 1783. Black Prince.
The first ship to gain an American privateering commission, she was a French-owned vessel crewed by Irish smugglers. She was named for her black hull and her near-legendary prowess and speed as a rumrunner. Cabot.
A 14-gun brig named for the famous Cabot family of Salem, Massachusetts, she was commissioned by the Continental Congress on December 22, 1775, one of the first four ships in the U.S. Navy. Baltimore.
The coin depicts this composite of all the privateering ships built and sailed out of Baltimore in the early 1800s.
These non-circulating, legal-tender commemoratives are an interesting combination of numismatics and nautical themes. The Tristan da Cunha ships coins
are available now.