A couple of months back I posted an article that I found in the February 22, 1863 Halifax Morning Sun which lead off with the words "Extraordinary Discovery!" and was all about some "small oblong pieces of wrought silver" which had "supposed Chinese inscriptions" on them. Without actually seeing the items and going by rough sketches the writer had determined them to be "Masonic Jewels". The article also said that "not having the originals under our eye, this can only be speculation". (see bottom of post for article).
Its interesting that certain individuals who are usually very critical of any speculative information involving Oak Island, took this particular speculative information to be further evidence to back up their own agendas.
I have now come across a follow-up article written approximately 6 weeks after the first one. This was not available to me previously and must have been scanned recently.
This time, an employee of the Union Bank of Halifax actually showed the writer a "piece of silver" which was similar to the first one and was also picked up "where the diggers are at work" on Oak Island. The writer(s) showed the piece of silver to a Chinese sailor who was in Halifax at the time and the sailor told them that it was a "piece of money" as was originally suspected in the original February 22nd article.
Here is the follow-up article from April 6, 1863:
Halifax Morning Sun(Monday April 6, 1863)
"Mr. Skinner, of the Union Bank, has shewn us a piece of silver similar to that received some time ago from Oak Island, and noticed in this journal. Mr. S. informs us that it was picked up where the diggers are at work. Happening to fall in with a Chinese sailer while the piece was in our possession, we learnt from him it was a piece of money of more than the value of a dollar of British coin. This is the fifth or sixth piece of the same kind reported to have been picked up at Oak Island".
The reputation of Union Bank of Halifax's employees is discussed on a page regarding it's history on the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) website. It says that "The Union's staff carried the reputation of providing good service and maintaining the highest degree of integrity". See webpage here: http://www.rbc.com/history/quicktofrontier/union_bank_hfx.html
I personally find this article to be much more credible than the first as it involves a trusted bank employee showing the writer an actual coin which was found on Oak Island and a man who can actually read Chinese, verifying that it is indeed Chinese money. The most frustrating aspect is that no indication of date is given. Judging by the fact the Chinese sailor is familiar with the coin and even gives a rough value for it, it would seem to be relatively contemporary with the time of discovery. I'm guessing that it's doubtful that they would have been minted prior to 1795? Any 18th or 19th century Chinese currency experts on the forum?
Once again, there are a number of possible scenarios as to how the money may have found its way to Oak Island. We don't unfortunately know if it actually came up and out of one of the pits or was simply found on the surface? It may have been planted or it may not have? I'm pretty sure that I've never seen mention of any Chinese workers known to have worked on Oak Island through the early years.
I followed up on this information by contacting the Corporate Archives of the Royal Bank of Canada. From the website above, I knew that the Union Bank of Halifax had been purchased by the Royal Bank in 1910. Unfortunately, the reply that I received did not offer any new information as they have very few records from that time. Here is the reply that I received below:
Your question has been forwarded to the RBC Corporate Archive. What an interesting quest! I wish that we could help you with it. Unfortunately, few records from the Union Bank of Halifax have survived. The merger occurred in 1910, and the archive was founded in 1977. That bank did not have an employee newsletter (that we know of) so the story of Mr. Skinner and the piece of silver did not survive. I also could not confirm Mr. Skinner's employment with the Union Bank of Halifax.
I am sorry that we could not be of more assistance. Best wishes with your search,
Royal Bank History
Here is a copy of the original article from February 22, 1863, which I had originally posted under the thread "Extraordinary Discovery!"
Halifax Morning Sun (Monday, Feb. 22, 1863)
"EXTRAORDINARY DISCOVERY ! - Some one of that indefatigable company of excavators, engaged in search of the hidden treasure supposed to have been buried by the Pirate Kidd somewhere on Oak Island, near Chester, chanced to turn up two or three small oblong pieces of wrought silver, which, from the indentation of the edges, and the impressions upon the surface, were deemed to be antique coins of remote date. But, if from the representations of them, roughly sketched on paper, for which we are indebted to a friend, our conclusion is, that the supposed coin are neither more nor less than Masonic Jewels - small, and perhaps not very artistically wrought, but Jewels, withal. Of course, not having the originals under our eye, this can only be speculation. The supposed Chinese "inscription," we shrewdly suspect, could be easily deciphered by a "speculative mason."