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Mapping the Puzzle

Unlock the secrets of this intriguing design – meet the designer, Gary Breeze.

The new series of three coins by designer and sculptor Gary Breeze will combine to create a picture that celebrates the 250th anniversary of Captain James Cook’s first ‘Voyage of Discovery’. This is Gary’s second project for The Royal Mint, having previously worked with his brother Lee to design the 50p coin that marked the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 2015.

“I often work on a much larger scale but I am quite used to working with spherical shapes, like the memorial to the victims of the Bali Bombing in London and the sandstone globe that I created for the Well Said! exhibition at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford.

I didn’t tackle the three coins separately – I wanted to create a design that would work when the three coins were united. I was inspired by the circulating coins with the puzzle style design that unites to make the shield of the Royal Arms; I think that was a brilliant idea for collectors to enjoy.

Although these coins honour Captain Cook, they are also a tribute to the spirit of adventure and discovery that characterised his voyages, so I placed the HM Bark Endeavour centre stage. I always try to incorporate deeper meaning into the imagery I choose, such as the use of native names for places which were important to Cook. I used a font of my own for the inscription on the circumference of the coins, in contrast to the text that highlights the key locations in the expedition – the departure from Plymouth, the astronomical discovery at Otaheite and the discovery of the new lands like Botany Bay.

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