A Captain’s Coins?
Posted: July 1, 2021
Sweet Berry Farm: Come to pick fruit. Leave with pirate coins.
Let’s begin at the beginning . . .
Once upon a time—on September 7, 1695, to be exact—an English pirate named Henry Every robbed a ship. The vessel was carrying Muslim pilgrims home to India. Captain Every and his crew killed the people on board. The brigands also stole tens of millions of dollars’ worth of gold and silver before escaping. Government officials sought to bring the criminals to justice. But no one ever found Captain Every. The case went cold.
The case warmed up again more than 300 years later. In 2014, amateur historian Jim Bailey took his metal detector to Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown, Rhode Island. With it, he found a dime-sized coin. Peering closer, he spotted Arabic text. The coin was oooold . . . from the 17th century. Eureka! That pocket change is the oldest ever found in North America!
Indeed, the coin was minted in 1693 in the Middle Eastern country of Yemen. There’s no evidence that American colonists traveled to anywhere in the Middle East to trade until decades later. So who left the coins? Maybe pirates. Maybe Captain Every.
Since then, others have unearthed 15 more Arabian coins from the same era in New England. Another was found in North Carolina. Records show that some of Captain Every’s men first came ashore there.
Mr. Bailey says the coins he and others have found are evidence. They show that the pirate made his way to the American colonies. There, he and his crew spent the stolen treasure while on the run.
So where was Captain Every hiding until his death? In plain sight—pretending to be a slave trader.