What is the Oak Island 'Money Pit'?: Coin World Buzz

Coin World gives you a quick look at what's happening in the world of numismatics
By , Coin World
Published : 03/31/16
Text Size

1. The "Money Pit" mystery 

Tales of pirates and buried treasures have always sparked interest, but very rarely has a tale of excavation and digging garnered the amount of attention that the Oak Island "Money Pit" has without yielding much of major significance. 

Today's Buzz takes a look back at a 2008 podcast from Brian Dunning of Skeptoid during which he discusses the history of the mysterious pit. 

The "Money Pit" found on Oak Island, an island off Nova Scotia in eastern Canada, has been the root of much mystery since 1795 when a teenage boy came across a peculiar depression in the ground and rounded up some friends to dig more than 30 feet into the earth, discovering a base of logs and layers of flagstones that the boys thought might be a treasure-holding pit to house the wares of the legendary pirate Captain Kidd. 

Some years later a mining company sunk a shaft that flooded after it passed a tunnel that opened directly into the sea. In context, it became thought of thereafter as a pirate booby trap. 

Other mining companies and various digs followed at Oak Island, exacerbating the urban legend. 

"To make a very long story short," Dunning writes, "many companies and investor groups have taken over the island and launched major digging efforts, costing millions of dollars and the lives of six men killed in various accidents."

The excavation has spanned three different centuries, and hasn't yielded one valuable coin or artifact.

What might explain the pit?

2. Copper counterfeits 

As copper pieces from the late 1790s increase in value, counterfeiters have taken notice. 

The fake shown here was produced from transfer dies, where all of the details from a genuine model coin are transferred to a set of fake dies, resulting in a counterfeit that appears genuine at first glance.

3. Hail Caesar

Coins of the Twelve Caesars, a group of Roman rulers as described by an ancient author, are among the most desirable coins sought by collectors of ancient coins.

Senior Editor Jeff Starck breaks down the challenge of putting together a Twelve Caesars collection.

4. Connect with Coin World: 

5.  Precious metals pricing

Kitco.com lists the following prices per ounce Wednesday at 1:02 p.m. ET:

  • Gold: $1,227.20
  • Silver: $15.230

6. Hot topics

Check out three interesting stories from the last couple of days:

  1. MS-70 early issue American Eagle platinum $50 a key: Market Analysis
  2. Monopoly swaps dollars for credit cards
  3. 2016 Harpers Ferry National Historical Park quarter dollar debuts June 8

7. Something social 

You may never have heard of Kazakhstan, but the Soviet site has played an important role in space exploration

Posted by Coin World on Monday, March 28, 2016
You are signed in as:null
No comments yet