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Bullion Haul

Treasure!! The Odyssey Marine Exploration company has recovered sunken treasure estimated to be worth $500 million. The company's press release is a good read, and see also their FAQ.

The artifacts recovered from the site include over 500,000 silver coins weighing more than 17 tons, hundreds of gold coins, worked gold, and other artifacts. All recovered items have been legally imported into the Unites States and placed in a secure, undisclosed location where they are undergoing conservation and documentation.

It is believed that this recovery constitutes the largest collection of coins ever excavated from a historical shipwreck site. They were recovered in conformity with Salvage Law and the Law of the Sea Convention, beyond the territorial waters or legal jurisdiction of any country. The Company does not believe that the recovery is subject to sovereign immunity by any nation pursuant to the Law of the Sea Convention.

The "$500 million" headline figure certainly raises eyebrows. But almost all the value in that figure is numismatic; the melt value of 17 (short) tons of (sterling) silver is only $5.9 million. That's a much more sensible figure from the standpoint of what's reasonable to put on a boat.

The company is still being quiet about the identity of the ship, where it was found, and why it sank. Since they're not saying, I'll imagine a story that's surely more exciting than the real thing.

The ship, you see, was sunk in a pirate attack! In the crossfire of cannons and pistols many sailors were lost. Knowing that defeat was at hand, the captain ordered the ship scuttled so that the pirates could not plunder the ship. The booty sank to the bottom of the sea, where over hundreds of years its true story devolved into legend… except to the descendants of those pirates, who for generations pretended to lead ordinary lives while secretly lusting for the booty that should have been their forefathers'! (Does that sentence sound odd to anyone else?) Anyway, the reason the company is being so quiet is that in their research they discovered the pirates' pact to pass on knowledge of the treasure to their children, and their children's children, so that one day they could have their revenge.


And that's how it really is. I know, because I'm one of the descendants of that original pirate crew. The treasure will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

P.S., they think they're so clever hiding the treasure "in a secure, undisclosed location." They might as well put a blinking, buzzing, GPS-coordinate-transmitting beacon on the treasure. It's all in Dick Cheney's basement.

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Tiny Island