On today’s date in 1851, James Smith launched his square-rigged clipper ship Marco Polo at Marsh Creek, Courtenay Bay.
In 2001, the Royal Canadian Mint featured the Marco Polo on a $20 silver hologram coin as part of its Transportation on Land, Sea and Rail collection. With a mintage of 41,828, the Proof coin has a diameter of 38 mm and a weight of 31.1 grams.
The Marco Polo was built with the body of a cargo ship above the water line and the configuration of a much-faster clipper ship below. It quickly set the record for the passage from St. John’s, Nfld to Liverpool, England at 15 days.
In 1852, the “Fastest Ship in the World” set a new speed record, circumnavigating the globe from Liverpool to Australia and around in only five months and 21 days.