Contrary to popular myth, Captain William Bligh (1754-1817) was neither cruel nor tyrannical. Following the mutiny by Fletcher Christian, with whom he became joined in legend, Bligh continued a decorated career as a naval captain, and later Governor of New South Wales. A gold medal that Bligh received in 1795 for his part in defeating a Dutch fleet will be the highlight at an auction of Orders, Decorations & Medals at Noble Numismatics in Melbourne, Australia, where it’s expected to sell for $200,000.
Update: Both Bligh medals sold over estimates. The naval medal Bligh received for his part in Britain’s victory over the Dutch realized $234,000, and the medal he received for the importation of breadfruit brought $126,000.
The sale also includes another medal awarded to Bligh for successfully transporting breadfruit from Tahiti to the West Indies. The Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce had set a challenge involving the importation of breadfruit to the Caribbean islands, as a food stock for slaves. Bligh’s first answer to the challenge was his mission on the Bounty. Following his acquittal in the court-martial stemming from the mutiny, he was promoted to Captain and returned to the South Seas in the HMS Providence. This medal is estimated at $50,000.
Read more at Noble Numismatics.