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Old 2nd April 2021, 04:22 AM   #1
M ELEY
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Default Discovered pirate coins might solve mystery...Arrgh!

Sorry, couldn't resist. Everyone on this Forum knows my obsession with the sea dogs. Here's another incredible find that indeed might solve the mystery of what really happened to the nefarious Henry Avery/Every. For the interest of this discussion forum, I'd suggest the importance of coins in our collecting, which might lend information directing to our weapons collecting (for example, my Dutch hanger with the same marking found on Dutch dump coins of the late 17th c.) as well as supportive history (coins used to purchase items of the era, obvious stolen treasures, etc.). I currently have some copper cobs retrieved from Port Royal and a King William half-penny dated 1693 to show his profile, also found on my British hanger with his likeness on the guard). Pretty intriguing stuff!

https://www.yahoo.com/news/ancient-c...051105975.html

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Old 3rd April 2021, 06:57 AM   #2
Jim McDougall
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Ahoy Cap'n!
An EXCELLENT entry, and fascinating discoveries of these coins, which are unique enough, and corroborated enough to present convincing evidence that they may well have been part of this remarkable booty hoard.

While the volume of coinage must have been enormous, it seems likely that numbers of them might well have fallen to the ground in transporting the treasure from one place to another. It is always said that pirates did not bury their ill gotten gains, but simply spent the money frivolously. However, here were countless numbers of these strange coins of Arabia and India, which were hardly among currency usually exchanged in trade in America.
Still they would have been of value for the precious metals, so there was the rub.

Just how much of this 'heavy metal' would be feasible to carry in the pockets of the members of the crew? and there were no banks etc....so what then was done with what must have been chests of coin, not to mention jewels.
This suggests of course burial, at least for a time. Fate allowing, these guys probably retrieved these proceeds within short time, again presenting the opportunity for stray coinage to be accidentally deposited here and there.

Your point of the importance of coins in identification of markings on sword blades is well placed. As you note, the four dots on those 'dump' coins of the VOC do occur on Dutch blades, often on the quillon of some walloons as well.

I recall with an Afghan sword I had, there was a cartouche containing what appeared a Muslim shrine and some Arabic script. Eventually the same device was found on an Afghan coin of 1890s, and the mark was the state seal of Afghanistan. This was applied to blades from the Machin Khana arsenal in Kabul.

Often the royal cyphers found on blades can be matched to same found on coinage issued in the particular country of the sword, as well as substantiating the period.

Indeed a topic that is often salient in the study of arms! and ALWAYS key in the study of our favorite brothers of the sea!
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Old 4th April 2021, 03:42 AM   #3
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Hello Jim and thanks for posting on this thread. I know there's questionability with this story, but it is an interesting theory and, as you pointed out, Arabic coins bearing that early date here in the states does indeed support the author's hypothesis. Also, from what the article implies, the coins were buried deeply, not as if someone had dropped them in the last hundred years or so. Also, the scattered pattern of where they were found by multiple searchers and in areas where people were back pre-Revolution. In any event, just another possible case to support all of the 'piratical' activity going on here in the Americas at the time!
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Old 4th April 2021, 09:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by M ELEY
Hello Jim and thanks for posting on this thread. I know there's questionability with this story, but it is an interesting theory and, as you pointed out, Arabic coins bearing that early date here in the states does indeed support the author's hypothesis. Also, from what the article implies, the coins were buried deeply, not as if someone had dropped them in the last hundred years or so. Also, the scattered pattern of where they were found by multiple searchers and in areas where people were back pre-Revolution. In any event, just another possible case to support all of the 'piratical' activity going on here in the Americas at the time!
Actually, as you and I have often agree, there was a heck of a lot more 'brotherhood' activity than ever 'made the papers' !

The fact that these unusual coins were found in various locations that correspond to certain 'maritime' activity seems to present considerable plausibility to their possible connection to Every. These kinds of hauls were the exception in pirate looting and the typical coinage used in trade were Spanish or thalers as well as English coins of course. These 'exotic' coins would have been melted down for the precious metal value rather than carried about.
Just as with the huge number of shipwrecks that remain to be found, so too are the mysteries of the 'pirates'.....and we delight with every new discovery!
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Old 6th April 2021, 01:39 AM   #5
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Remember that the Indian Ocean was a favorite hunting ground of many pirates including the memorable Captain Kidd (see attached) and the pirate Thomas Tew among others.
One thing that they seem to have had in common is that they were fond of frequenting the coast of America in their travels and Madagascar when cruising the Indian ocean.
It would be interesting to know if any Muslim coinage was found on the site of the wreck of Whidah Galley.
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Old 6th April 2021, 11:19 AM   #6
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Remember that the Indian Ocean was a favorite hunting ground of many pirates including the memorable Captain Kidd (see attached) and the pirate Thomas Tew among others.
One thing that they seem to have had in common is that they were fond of frequenting the coast of America in their travels and Madagascar when cruising the Indian ocean.
It would be interesting to know if any Muslim coinage was found on the site of the wreck of Whidah Galley.

Very well noted Rick! in fact the very downfall of Captain Kidd came about as a result of his transgressing against the relations between England and India by preying on the lucrative Mughal ships and their treasure. In his case, the document ( a French letter concerning the voyage of the vessel) which would have saved him from execution was remarkably discovered in 1911!

I do not recall Muslim coins found on the Whydah, and not sure if Black Sam Bellamy was in those waters frequented by the India vessels, however trade involves networking, so anything is possible. Most of coinage as far as I have known was from South America etc. but as with many wrecks, more is always being found.
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Old 6th April 2021, 11:43 PM   #7
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I have wondered how the Innkeepers of our coastal taverns figured sums with so many different coins from all over the world passing through their cashbox.
Who set the value of silver and gold coinage back in those days. Figuring exchange rates must have been, interesting.
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Old 7th April 2021, 06:01 PM   #8
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I have wondered how the Innkeepers of our coastal taverns figured sums with so many different coins from all over the world passing through their cashbox.
Who set the value of silver and gold coinage back in those days. Figuring exchange rates must have been, interesting.
I think thats a very good question!!
From most of what I have understood there was a certain common parlance concerning most currencies which were prevalent, and the 'thaler' was considered viable as well as the Spanish coins (pieces of 8). Aside from that, mostly the 'currency of the realm' prevailed, and the American colonies were of course British, so British currency was standard.

With these 'exotic' coins, unless they were of precious metal, they might only have been taken as a novelty sort of in a trade sense. Trade and barter were typically used means of currency as well.
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Old 15th April 2021, 03:15 AM   #9
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Default A Remembrance of Coinage

A friend of mine used to be the resident Mason on the PBS This Old House television show; he was my neighbor in Eastham and an avid bottle digger/relic hunter; back in the day many of us were similarly inclined as the Outer Cape was settled very early in our nation's history.
He did a lot of relic hunting in Wellfleet; we all did back then.

In the late 17th century there was a tavern on the highest part of Great Island which borders Wellfleet harbor; all that's left there is a cellar hole, and it is barely more than a depression now. Back in the time when the tavern was active the hilltop had been cleared; the view of Cape Cod Bay must have been spectacular and a very good place to view any vessels coming and going offshore.
Poking around the spot one day he spied a tiny coin in a sandy patch; it turned out to be a French Henry IV 1/4 Ecu that had been drilled, quite possibly to identify the owner of a livestock animal back in those days.
Now there are only two usable harbors on the bayside of the Outer Cape, Provincetown which is a very open anchorage and Wellfleet harbor which is a very snug place to anchor. All kinds of mariners frequented that tavern and it is not much of a stretch of the imagination to think that Bellamy and his crew were among the clientele.

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Old 24th April 2021, 03:24 PM   #10
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https://www.livescience.com/pirate-h...iscovered.html

Stumbled across this article and thought it sounded familiar, having read this thread. Thought I'd park it here as an addition account of this interesting find.
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Old 27th April 2021, 04:27 AM   #11
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Thanks for linking this up. It does have some more details and hopefully, this article will still be good in the years to come.
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Old 28th April 2021, 05:32 PM   #12
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Shayde, thank you for this article, and I think it is pretty compelling evidence.
These kinds of coinage were certainly not the kind of currency found about in colonial America in those times. Despite the prevalence of trade, which was not direct necessarily with these 'exotic' locations, the amount of such currency which filtered to these shores via these networks was likely small, and more a novelty. The coins would have probably been melted down for the metal.

While the romantic notions of pirates and the proverbial dead mans chest have long been pretty much dispelled, I think there had to have been some degree of secreting at least some amount of currency.
After all, through history the burial or secreting of valuables and money has been commonplace. The discovery of hoards of coinage in archaeological finds or metal detector discoveries is well known. ......there were no banks until fairly modern times.

Rick brings up a good point on coinage, with coinage or currency outside the standard exchange, how would one determine value? I would imagine either it would be based on the precious metal, or perhaps simply become a barter type agreement. Taverns and some establishments used a 'tally' (precursor to the bar tab) for individuals, but in everyday business its hard to say.
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Old 28th April 2021, 07:37 PM   #13
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Well, the value of money in those days was not fiduciary but intrinsic. It was about solid coins, and those favoured were made of silver and gold, not minding their numeric value but instead their weight; in that, real business was made with coins of known reputation. One of the most reliable was the silver thaler, which lasted for 400 years (the dollar descends from it). Gold coins were also reputed by their metal purity. On the other hand, and going back in time, Roman coinage could be good for internal use, but it is known that, at least silver denariums were either underweighted or of low purity to cope with momentum inflation.
But i realize taverneers and traders, altough illiterate, knew a whole lot about this ... much more than me, i am sure .
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Old 28th April 2021, 09:46 PM   #14
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I expect that this post is just a rehash of Fernando's above.
From a bit of research I have found that nondescript foriegn coins in that age that were made from gold or silver were valued by weight. I expect innkeepers and tavern owners kept a small balance scale and weights. If one knew (for example) the value of a Thaler then the equivalent weight in silver could be adjudged as the same.
Purity and counterfeit might be a problem; I always think of the image of a merchant biting a coin to asses its purity.
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Old 29th April 2021, 06:31 PM   #15
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It was not easy to circumvent counterfeight. Weighing was a practical method, but fakes could be made with metals of similar density and bathed in gold or silver; nowadays with electrolysis.
Biting the coin is another story, as we start by stripping the act from some fiction. In the old days, integrity of pure gold coins was of concern, as it was soft enough to wear with time and also subject to shaving (edge clipping)*, in both cases losing intrinsic weight. Circa 1526 a blend with a harder metal was invented to give gold some toughness.This way when (if) the recipient bit the coin to check on its authencity based on the gold malleability, the test was inconclusive due to its resistence.
Also not to forget that, due to its unique characteristics, there are those who pretetend that 'tasting' the flavour of gold is a good test.
* A system implemented to prevent this was the minting of coins with an edge (rim) to allow for the eye checking of this highly punishable crime; but that is another story.


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