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Oak Island Treasure • View topic - Chinese Coins on Oak Island

Chinese Coins on Oak Island

The Oak Island Money Pit in the media - news, press releases, tv and online.
Have you come across an interesting link? This is the place to share it.

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Chinese Coins on Oak Island

Postby GrailKnight7 on Wed Feb 01, 2006 7:56 pm

Hello all,

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)
Image

"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:

Dear Scott:

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,

Beth Kirkwood
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)
Image

"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."

Regards,
Scott
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Last edited by GrailKnight7 on Wed Feb 01, 2006 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby badinfluence63 on Wed Feb 01, 2006 9:36 pm

N4,GK&,

Interesting story. 1st thng that came to my mind was Captain Kidd. Why? I thoughtIi a had read some where that he sailed in and about China? If thats not true then read no more. If it is true that Kidd was in and about China couldn't this evidence that you shared shed light on the possibility of Kids presense on Oak Island?

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Postby badinfluence63 on Wed Feb 01, 2006 9:43 pm

GK7,

And least I forget...great detecting work there GK7. You seem to come up with some pretty amazing stuff I label as " and where the F*** did he ever find that!"

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Postby D'Arcy on Wed Feb 01, 2006 10:04 pm

GK7:

Nice piece of research and sleuthing work!

BI63:

Yeah, Kidd did indeed spend some time (a year or more) as a marauder in the South China Sea.

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Postby RRD2 on Wed Feb 01, 2006 10:22 pm

We can't be sure the piece was Chinese. It was presumed to have Chinese characters on it, but we don't know. It was identified as a piece of money, but still no verification of the characters.

Chinese coinage from the late 1500's to the 1600's, the Ming Dynasty and Ming-Ch'ing rebel periods are characterized by mostly cash coins of bronze. The characters are easy to read and they are usually found with a square void in the center. Any silver pieces would have been ingots, or Sycee (saddle money) with a distinctive large shape.

As discussed, it could have been a charm or perhaps Japanese. If Japanese during this period, it would be oblong (oval), but possibly larger. This would relate to the Koban or Oban pieces which are quite large and are partly gold. Later periods, the Keicho Era (1601-1695) produced hammered pieces of silver known as Mameita Gin, which are roughly round with thin line characters, but still larger than reported.

Many silver coins from Europe circulated in the Orient and bear Chinese "Chop-marks", which are chinese characters applied by bankers and merchants after verification of weight and purity. It is entirely possible that these coins could have been from South America or Europe with several of these marks on them.

I wish that there was more information about the pieces. Cobs, or pieces of eight (8 Reales) produced by Spain and her colonies were roughly oblong, round, and in cases of the Mexico mints, nearly rectangular. It would be easy to assume that one of these had "Chinese characters" on it, as much of the lettering is not apparent, even on the finest specimens. A Cob with several chops on it would appear Chinese to the layperson.

"Indentations on the edges" is troublesome also. Are these denticles that were machine made to guarantee weight, or could the edges have been "clipped", a common practice with Cobs, in which bits of silver were cut from the edges? Also, what gave them the idea it was Masonic?

In any event, nice find, Scott...if only we could view the drawing!


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Postby RRD2 on Thu Feb 02, 2006 12:57 am

The coin looks to be a bronze or copper pattern.


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Coins

Postby Tank04 on Thu Feb 02, 2006 12:32 pm

GK7,

That is a great piece of information I have never heard of before, what a twist to the story. Again, it is too bad those coins/medallions etc did not make it to modern times (that we know of) but it illustrates nicely what I said the other day about things that have been found on OI we are not especially aware of.

Regarding that particular sceptic. It is no surprise he jumped on it like he did to add his diabolical spin. Lets chalk it down to freedom of speech, even if it is tainted with plagiarism and self serving, personal gratification.

I wait patiently, but excitedly to see if you can find any more information about this startling bit of news.
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"Coins"

Postby Tank04 on Fri Feb 03, 2006 12:08 pm

I am impressed beyond impressed. You have done some great digging there young man.

In fact, the knowledge that has exploded over this thread is impressive from you, RDII and GK7.
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Re: "Coins"

Postby GrailKnight7 on Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:16 pm

Tank04 wrote:
I am impressed beyond impressed. You have done some great digging there young man.

In fact, the knowledge that has exploded over this thread is impressive from you, RDII and GK7.


Thanks Tank & everyone else who responded!

I must say that I was also really impressed with how quickly was able to follow-up with examples of currency based on the descriptions provided. Those 22 years of world travel and his network of "sources" is very valuable to our research here. That Hoi & Lat Hoi money certainly seem to match the description! I also continue to be impressed by RDII's extensive knowledge of history & science.

Treasure hunting & historical detective work consist of about 98% research and with the amount of old (& at one time inaccessible) information being added electronically (via the Internet & other sources) at such an explosive rate, its a great time to "find" what was once considered "lost".

Don't forget "research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought"!

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Postby Vincent on Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:59 pm

GK7.

Your praise of others and their research is not only nice to see but also well deserved, however allow me to pat you on the back as some of your posts are equally derserving of merit.
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