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Description: Recovered from the ship-wreck of the Royal Mail Steamer 'Douro'

  • Notes: In the early morning of the 2nd April 1882 the Spanish passenger liner 'Yrurac Bat' was hugging the Spanish Coast as it approached Cape Finisterre the last landfall before it took on the perils of the Atlantic crossing on its south-west journey to Havana. At the same time travelling north up the coast on its journey to Southampton was the Royal Mail Steamer 'Douro' having made a port of call at Lisbon in Portugal to disembark passengers who had travelled onboard from South America. As well as carrying valuable cargo the 'Douro' was also known for its well-appointed cabins and was a firm favourite of first class passengers journeying to and from South America. Thus, it was a passenger, Mr Stoher, who while taking in some fresh night air before retiring first noticed a light in the distance from the starboard (right-side) bow. Curious, he mentioned it in passing to a Fourth Officer who identified it as a far-off ship, but thinking nothing of it didn't bother to alert the Chief Officer on the Bridge who he was certain would be monitoring the situation. However, by the time the Chief Officer did notice the light of the oncoming ship it was upon them and far too late to avoid a catastrophic collision. Reuters reported: Corunna 2 April 1882. - The Spanish Steamer Yrurac Bat came into collision at 4 o'clock this morning with the Royal Mail Steamer Douro, near Cape Finisterre. Both vessels foundered. The Yrurac Bat lost 30 men including her captain and pilot. About 35 of the persons on board the Douro were saved. The number of the Douro's passengers and crew drowned is not known. The survivors have arrived here. The Spanish vessel ploughed into the starboard side of the 'Douro' in the area of the main mast causing immediate carnage. Mayhem ensued as the passengers woken from their sleep ran amok having received no practice drill on how to report to the lifeboats. Only six passengers from the 'Douro' fell victim to the waves but in the spirit of naval tradition, the Captain, four of the senior officers and the Second Engineer, all went down with the ship in the company of a valuable cargo of over 28,000 gold sovereigns plus a quantity of unrefined gold held in the ship's safe.
  • Provenance: Spink (London) 11/96
  • Dimensions: AGW 0.2354 Troy oz
  • Exhibited: Coins, Australia & New Zealand
  • Literature: Coins, Monies & Stamps
  • Medium: 355
  • Circa: Collectibles

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May 9, 2021 12:00 PM AEST

Paddington, Sydney, Australia

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