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BIOT Cutty Sark

Started by Deeman, November 10, 2020, 09:02:13 PM

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I see that Pobjoy Mint has issued a third sailing ship 50p coin, this time for BIOT. It celebrates the 150th anniversary of the maiden voyage of the Cutty Sark. Cutty Sark's name comes from the famous poem Tam O'Shanter by Robert Burns. It is about a farmer called Tam who is chased by a scantily-clad witch called Nannie, dressed only in a 'cutty sark', an archaic Scottish name for a short nightdress. 'Cutty' means short or stumpy, and 'sark' means nightdress or shirt
This complements HMS Erebus for BAT & HMS Resolution for SGSSI.


Issue 2,750. Already sold out.


The Cutty Sark was built on the River Clyde and launched on 22 Nov 1869. She was one of the last tea clippers to be built and one of the fastest. Her service began at a time when clippers were in decline as steamships took over the seas. (The word "clipper" was used to convey the sense of clipping across the waves rather than ploughing through them.)

She departed London on 15 Feb 1870, bound for Shanghai. Rounding the Cape of Good Hope its route passed near to the BIOT. On this outward voyage, the ship carried general cargo, including wine, spirits and beer and manufactured goods. After the Cutty Sark successfully reached China on 31 May, the ship was loaded with tea and returned back to London on the 13 Oct the same year after spending 25 days in Shanghai. She sailed in eight 'tea seasons' (1870-77), from London to China and back, being built specifically to serve the China tea trade, to meet the demand in Victorian Britain for fine black teas. Speed was of the essence in the China trade at this time because the first ship back with the fresh new season's tea could command the highest returns.

Cutty Sark's career as a tea clipper came to an end due to the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, saving a distance of 3,300 nautical miles on the route from China to London. The canal was not a practical option for sailing vessels, as using a tug was difficult and expensive - so this distance saving was not available to them. Steamships immediately made use of this new waterway and found themselves in high demand in China for the start of the 1870 tea season. So, the Cutty Sark had to find new employ. She transported a variety of cargoes, including coal, before finding her calling in the Australian wool trade. In the early 20th century, she was used as a sail training vessel. This continued until the 1950s, when Cutty Sark became a tourist attraction at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.


Not unlike Notre Dame de Paris, she was totally destroyed by fire in 2007 during conservation, to the point where only a metal skeleton of the hull remained, offering a heart-breaking view. The site re-opened in 2012, containing the restored ship.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


The ship series from pobjoy is one of my favourite sets, some beautiful old ships featured on the coins.
All coins are equal but some are more equal than others