We’ve all dreamed of it… discovering a horde of pirate’s booty, thought to be lost forever to the depths of Davy Jones’ locker. Or locating the sweet spot on a treasure map – the one marked by the “X”! Rumors have circulated for generations about pirate ships lost to storms, or treasures hidden away and then forgotten. In 2015, one group of researchers claimed to have found a 121-pound silver bar just off the coast of Madagascar… and reports that Captain Kidd’s treasure had finally been located began to appear. But who was Captain Kidd?
An innocent beginning
In 1695, the British privateer William Kidd took the helm of the Adventure Galley under a royal commission. He’d been hired by investors to pursue the infamous pirates that had been plaguing various trade routes.
In a fascinating turn, Kidd failed to locate the rumored pirates… and instead became one himself! Arriving in New York City, he took on additional crew members, with whom he spent the next three years plundering ships up and down the coast of Africa.
An ill-fated end
Eventually, Captain Kidd’s actions caught up to him. The Adventure Galley ran aground and, with critical repairs needed, Kidd’s crew abandoned him. It wasn’t long before Kidd was captured and tried. His luck continued to go from bad to worse – Kidd’s defense took a back seat to political jockeying.
Ultimately, the captain was found guilty and hanged in 1701. Some of his treasure was recovered off of Long Island, and proceeds were donated to charity. If that’s where the story ended, Kidd’s legacy would be far less interesting than it is today.
Before his death, Captain Kidd claimed that he’d buried additional treasures in the Caribbean. Treasure hunters set out to locate the loot – to no avail. In the centuries that have followed, no trace of the alleged fortune has ever been found!
Treasure found… and lost again
This brings us back to the 2015 discovery of that hefty silver bar. Its discovery was announced to much fanfare. However, within just a couple of months, UNESCO had discredited the find. The organization declared that what was thought to be remains of the ship, were in fact pieces from port construction. And the silver bar? It actually consisted of 95% lead.
To this day, the treasure of Captain Kidd remains undiscovered. But pirate lore will always draw in those dreaming of finding a trove of riches! If you enjoy the mystique of pirate life, be sure to check out Littleton’s exclusively colorized set of Kennedy half dollars honoring Pirates of the High Seas – including a coin depicting William Kidd!