Saturday, March 6, 2010

Spanish Ducat


In this week's edition of our local paper, the Gazette Journal, there was a particularly interesting tidbit in my favorite section, "Glimpses Into the Past."

20 Years Ago
Thursday, March 1, 1990


"A 400-year-old silver coin was found along the North River shore of Mathews by North resident Doug S. A Peninsula coin dealer identified the coin, dated 1586, as a Spanish four ducat. The coin is slightly larger than a U.S. quarter and has been worn smooth on one side."


Okay, first of all, I went to school with Doug S. 400 years ago 400 years ago is not something we reference with any degree of frequency here in Mathews, unless one (i.e. CBW) is talking about the last time the refrigerator was cleaned.

Something from the 1800s? Sure. Early 20th century? Certainly. But something from the sixteenth century? Never.

Just touching something from the year 1586 is miraculous to me, but finding such an item would be the thrill of a lifetime. That's not just because I don't get out much, mostly it's because I don't get out much always wanted to be an archaeologist hunting for tiny pieces to some historic puzzle that needed to be solved.

It's time for a pop quiz, even though quizzes and thinking are illegal on the weekends, especially in Mathews.

How did this 400+ year old coin of Spanish descent wind up in the North River of little ole Mathews County, Virginia, USA, North America?

1. Captain John Smith brought it over from England and lost it out his pocket when he wrestled and man-handled a sting ray off a particular point in Deltaville in 1608. (For non-locals, Sting Ray Point is said to have been named for just this wrestling match, although there was no reference to a 1586 coin falling out his pocket--until now.) This answer does not address how the coin made its way from Spain to England from Stingray Point to the North River, but that's a topic for some other day.

2. Pirates. Plain and simple. Pirates. They came up the river seeking shelter from a storm and started playing quarters except with ducats.

3. Honestly if I don't find out the answer to this I'll be thinking about it until and even while drool falls from my mouth onto my lap as I sit propped up in the hallway of the Mathews Convalescent Center.

But I really think the answer relates to pirates.

What do you think?

7 comments:

Daryl said...

It rolled from his pocket to the ground and was kicked during the wrestling into the water where it was sucked up by a bottom feeder who was later ingested by a larger fish and this went on for years .. each larger was eaten by one bigger til the one with the ducat in its gut ended up back in the North River where it somehow pooped or hiccuped out the ducat which was then found by that person ... ta da!

Wipe that drool ... my WV is versmici which is Italian for wipe-a the drool

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

I agree. Pirates. Aaarrrrgh.

Russ said...

I think Chesapeake Bay Woman had better hurry up and write the best-selling comic novel that she has been keeping from the world.

Jamie said...

Definitely pirates... I heard stories that Blackbeard himself sailed the waters....

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Daryl - I knew there was a logical explanation for how it made its way from Deltaville to the North River - thank you! Maybe when you're back at the Sea Shanty this summer you can ask the owners if they've seen anything suspicious out there on the river, like a fish flailing about in pain because a coin is lodged in its gut.

Meg-Yes, matey, indeed.

Russ-You've just made my day, thank you. Sometimes I think/know I'm the only one entertained by my ridiculous attempts at humor. It's always thrilling to know even one other person finds it funny.

Jamie-Blackbeard has quite a history around here, you're right.

Thanks for commenting. Happy Saturday...tomorrow's supposed to be blazing hot - in the sixties. I CANNOT wait.

Ann Marie said...

how long can i sit here and stare at a blinking cursor before something other than nothing pops in my head? answer... a long long time.

WV: humsenso the very definition of what is going on in my head...

Grandma J said...

If I were you, I would have claim it as my own. You know, something handed down from generation to generation, then dropped there by accident. But then you aren't Spanish, and I'm a bit disfunctional this morning...