During the 18th and 19th centuries, for trading purposes the famous English East India Company sent a fleet of well equipped flagships to India and China once a year. 1809 was the unlucky year for the Admiral Gardner and her sister-ship Britannia. The 145 foot, 813 ton vessel Admiral Gardner was outbound with a valuable cargo of approximately 50 tons of specially minted copper coinage, destined for the East Indian Company’s Mint at Madras. As the Admiral Gardner left the safety of the River Thames and proceeded beyond the Straits of Dover, a very sudden storm developed in the English Channel the dark night of January 25th and subsequently swept her on to the deadly “Goodwin Sands” sandbar. Some seamen were rescued as the ship bore the thunderous waves, but ten lives were lost as well as all the cargo.
This copper artifact is hand set in an argentium silver pendant.