Apr 05, 2021 I Jocelyne LeBlanc

Ancient Coins May Help Solve a Centuries-Old Mystery Involving a Killer Pirate

Recently discovered coins may be able to help solve a centuries-old mystery involving the disappearance of a murderous pirate.

Captain Henry Every was a ruthless pirate. On September 7, 1695, he was commanding a ship named Fancy on his way to the Bahamas. He posed as a slave trader and even gathered up some men from the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean so he would look the part.

Every and his men captured the Ganj-i-Sawai which was a royal ship that was owned by an Indian emperor named Aurangzeb. On board the ship were several worshipers on their way back from a pilgrimage as well as tons of silver and gold that was worth tens of millions of dollars.

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An image depicting the Fancy confronting the Ganj-i-Sawai.

In addition to stealing the fortune, Captain Every was said to have killed all of the men on board and raped the women. He then fled to the Bahamas before sailing to Ireland in 1696. Some records have stated that after the pirates abandoned the Fancy, they boarded a ship called the Sea Flower (along with almost four dozen slaves) and sailed along the eastern part of the United States before finally landing in Newport, Rhode Island. A massive search was conducted to find the ruthless killer and robber but he was never found.

And now, new clues have surfaced that may help to solve the mystery of what happened to the pirate after stealing the fortune and vanishing. Several ancient coins were unearthed at a pick-your-own-fruit orchard in Rhode Island as well as at other locations around New England. These findings suggest that Every spent some time in the northeastern part of the United States before crossing the ocean.

The first complete coin was found at Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown, Rhode Island, back in 2014. The silver coin, which was about the size of a dime, was unearthed by amateur historian and metal detectorist Jim Bailey. It was later confirmed that it came from Yemen in 1693.

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An 18th century drawing of Henry Every with his Fancy ship in the background.

Since Bailey’s initial discovery, 15 additional Arabian coins from around that same time period have been unearthed by other metal detectorists – 10 found in Massachusetts, 3 in Rhode Island, and 2 in Connecticut. Interestingly, another coin was discovered in North Carolina where some of Every’s men were said to have landed.

The discovery of these coins certainly sheds some light on Captain Every’s life after committing robbery and murder, but it still leaves many questions unanswered regarding one of the world’s oldest cold cases.

As for Bailey, he will continue digging and perhaps even find more clues regarding the ruthless pirate. “For me, it's always been about the thrill of the hunt, not about the money,” he stated, adding, “The only thing better than finding these objects is the long-lost stories behind them.” “It's a new history of a nearly perfect crime.”

A picture of some of the coins can be seen here.

Jocelyne LeBlanc

Jocelyne LeBlanc works full time as a writer and is also an author with two books currently published. She has written articles for several online websites, and had an article published in a Canadian magazine on the most haunted locations in Atlantic Canada. She has a fascination with the paranormal and ghost stories, especially those that included haunted houses. In her spare time, she loves reading, watching movies, making crafts, and watching hockey.

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