Great Britain: Chinese Junk Keying

Great Britain: Chinese Junk KeyingGreat Britain: Chinese Junk Keying
Form: Circular
By: Allen & Moore
Date: 1848
Ref:  AM2: 15; BHM: 2322; Laidlaw: 0248f;
26.6 mmWhite Metal5.0 gm$55

Edge: Plain.

Obverse: Starboard broadside view of the Junk Keying with main mast sail set only. Signed: “ALLEN & MOORE” at the left end of the exergue line. Legend above: “THE CHINESE JUNK KEYING”. In the exergue: “ABOUT 800 TONS/ BURTHEN”.

Reverse: Across: “THE FIRST / CHINESE VESSEL / EVER BROUGHT TO / EUROPE, / LENGTH 160 FEET, / BREADTH 33 FEET, / DEPTH OF HOLD / 16 FEET, / (line) / ARRIVED AT ENGLAND (in an arc) / MAR. 27 1848. (in an arc)”.

Notes: The Keying was a three-masted, 800-ton Foochow Chinese trading junk which sailed from China around the Cape of Good Hope to the United States and then to Britain between 1846 and 1848. The junk was purchased in August 1846 by a group of British businessmen who equipped the ship as a floating exhibition of Chinese culture. The Keying was named after the Manchu mandarin Qiying, appointed by the Emperor to supervise the transaction. The Emperor had given his tact approval to the purchase despite a prohibition on the sale of Chinese ships to foreigners.

The vessel left Hong Kong on the 6 December 1846 under the command of Captain Charles A. Kellett with a crew 30 Cantonese and 12 English seamen. On board were two Chinese passengers, Mandarin He Sing and the artist Sam Sing. After a voyage of three months she rounded the Cape of Good Hope on 6 March 1847. She then made for St Helena put in there on 17 April where she remained for six days. The intention was to sail for England but adverse weather forced the junk westwards to the United States. On 9 July she arrived in New York and remained there for four months on exhibit to the public. She then sailed for Boston, arriving there on the 18 November for a similar exhibition which lasted for three months. She departed for England on 17 February 1848 and, despite severe storm damage, reached Jersey in the Channel Islands after a voyage of 21 days. After a short stay she left on the final stage of her journey and arrive in London 27 March 1848, 477 days after leaving Canton. The exhibit attracted much attention and revenue from the public for several years but this came to an end in 1853 when the junk was towed to Liverpool and dismantled for research and eventually scrapped.