A far too little known medal, vividly capturing the story of the capture of Spanish silver that inspired the 1745 and 1746 LIMA coinage. Strong luster and abundant mint color remain on both sides, toned to a navy blue-tinted dark brown in the fields. Choice in appearance, some little inactive verdigris reserved to the peripheries of the lower obverse, near the two step rim. Boldly struck, a joy to behold. The obverse deftly displays the July 10, 1745 capture of the Lewis Erasmus, Notre Dame, and Marquis d'Entin by the English-flagged privateers Duke and Prince Frederick. Portraits of the captains of those two vessels, James Talbot and John Morecock, are displayed being held by Fames on the reverse, while a dramatic scene plays out near the exergue: the last of 45 mule-drawn wagons full of Spanish bullion arriving at the Tower Mint on October 1 and 2, 1745. John Kirk's signature is below. Some 800,000 British pounds worth of gold and silver was taken by Talbot and Morecock, including about 2.5 million Spanish milled dollars – silver coins that were turned into sixpences, shillings, half crowns, and crowns displayed LIMA under George II's bust. A letter from a sailor aboard the Prince Frederick wrote a letter published in the Gentleman's Magazine of August 1745 that noted “We have a marquis of France, a governor of Peru, friars in abundance, one of whom threw a gold chalice into the sea of great value that it should not come into our hands,” not to mention some 78 tons of bullion. While Anson did capture the Manila galleon Covadonga, it had nothing to do with the Lima coinage, despite the persistence of misinformation otherwise promulgated by Snelling, Nesmith, and others.
This medal is very rare today. Though Ford owned two in silver and three in copper, these represent the vast majority of auction appearances in the US or UK in the last century. The LaRiviere piece, graded Fine, brought $5,750 in 2001. The story this underappreciated little medal tells of English piracy against Spain on the high seas is one of the most famous in English coinage. Jim considered this one of the highlights of his medal collection.
From the Collection of Jim Jones. Earlier Fred Baldwin to John Ford on August 15, 1965; our (Stack's) sale of the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, Part XIV, May 2006, Lot 4; purchased from John Kraljevich Americana on November 4, 2008;