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Lot 79: Sweden / Australia (1778) 'Daniel Solander' Commemorative Medal in Silver, about Uncirculated

Est: $11,500 AUD - $13,500 AUDPassed
Smalls AuctionsFebruary 05, 2023 Sydney, Australia

Item Overview

Description

Extremely Rare

Medium

Coins, Monies & Stamps

Date

Medals, Commemorative

Exhibited

393

Literature

Collectibles

Notes

Daniel Solander, like his patron Sir Joseph Banks, was fortunate to be born in a time of great discovery. Solander had studied at Uppsala University in Sweden under the famous naturalist Linnaeus and had brought to England a revolutionary scientific system devised by his teacher which categorised different plant species with the ‘binomial’ (two-part) Latin names which are still used today. His growing reputation saw him appointed as the first natural historian at the British Museum and the membership to the Royal Society which followed brought him into the circle of Joseph Banks, under whose patronage he would accompany Captain Cook on his ‘First Voyage of Discovery’ to the South Pacific. The RMS ‘Endeavour’ with Cook in command had journeyed to the Pacific to view the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun before setting out in a secret search for the mythical Great Southern Land to be claimed in the name of King George. Heading south to Van Diemen’s Land they discovered, for the first time, the eastern seaboard of Australia, observing Port Hicks (Victoria) on the 20th April 1770 before sailing north to find a safe haven at the aptly named Botany Bay. Cook named the southern headland of the bay Cape Solander in recognition of the Swede’s important role on the voyage while the northern headland was called Cape Banks. During the 3-year voyage over 30,000 specimens of plants and animals were collected and categorised adopting the Linnaeus system, with Solander himself describing over 1300 new species alone. Unfortunately, while visiting Bank’s Soho residence in 1782, Solander succumbed to a stroke before his scientific works were published and their significance fully recognised and, so his reputation has waned through the centuries. It would take another two hundred years (1990) with the belated publication of ‘Banks’ Florilegium’, a collection of coloured plates of plant specimens discovered on the voyage, that the significance of Solander’s work would be fully brought to light. This month Small’s Auctions offers both Silver and Bronze commemorative medals struck by Gustave Ljunberger (Sweden) celebrating the work of natural historian Daniel Solander. The obverse design shows a side portrait of Solander with the ‘solandra’ flower at left, which was named in his honour. A translation of the Latin reverse reads ‘To Joseph Banks this portrait of his friend is deservedly presented and dedicated by Clauss and Johan Alstoemer.’ Rare in both metals they are an important item of Australiana.

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Auction Details

Explorer Medals & Other Collectables

by
Smalls Auctions
February 05, 2023, 12:00 PM AEDT

On-Line Only, Sydney, NSW, 2000, AU

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