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The Nova Constellatio coin, made for the American colonies... Settling Australia as a penal colony...



Item # 626000 THE GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE, London, October, 1786 

* The Nova Constellatio coin print
* Made for circulation in the American colonies


The most interesting item in this issue is the foldout plate which contains--among other prints--an image of the "Nova Constellatio" coin used in the colonies (see). The print shows both the obverse & reverse & has a date of 1785.
This was one of the earlier colonial coins, ordered by Gouverneur Morris & minted in Birmingham, England, exclusively for circulation in America. The description is on a later page (see photos for full text) & includes: "...a halfpenny lately struck by the United States of America...On one side encircled within a wreath of laurel...are the letters U.S. in cypher, surrounded with an inscription...date, 1785. On the reverse, in the center, is a constellation from which issue thirteen illuminated rays & between each ray is a small star, expressive of the Thirteen United States; round these rays & the stars is the following inscription: Nova Constellatio...".
Equally as significant is one of the earliest reports of plans for the settlement of Australia, or Botany Bay as known then. The notable report takes two-thirds of a column & includes in part: "A plan is said to be formed, and now actually carrying into execution, for settling a new colony at Botany-bay in New Holland at which place Lt. Cook, in his survey of the eastern coast of that continent in 1770, made some stay to repair his ship...As the ostensible design of the projectors is to prepare a settlement for the reception of felons, no place...can be more improper for that purpose than Botany-bay..." with more detail, and noting near the end: "...and if it is to be continued with every freight of felons it will annihilate the surplus that is intended for augmenting the fund appropriated for the payment of the national debt. It is certainly a most extravagant scheme & probably will be reconsidered." (see)
Near the back of the issue is over a full page on: "American Affairs" which includes a wide range of news items (see).
Both plates called for are present.
Complete in 96 pages, 5 by 8 inches, full title/contents page featuring an engraving of St. John's Gate, very nice condition.

A very nice magazine from the "mother country" not long after the end of the Revolutionary War with a wide range of varied content. This was the first periodical to use the word "magazine" in its title, having begun in 1731 and lasting until 1907.

Category: The 1600's and 1700's

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