Saturday, December 22, 2007


Most seamen became pirates because they hoped to become rich, but pirate plunder was only valuable when exchanged for cash. Pirates were overjoyed if they captured a ship carrying money, not least because coins w~re more easily shared amongst the crew. In storybooks, pirates mostly seem to deal in pieces of eight. These were Spanish in origin, and worth about one dollar. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, they were accepted as currency almost worldwide.

The Barbary corsairs, operating from the North African coast, found that more money could be made by taking prisoners hostage than by seeking rich cargoes. Prisoners were ransomed or sold as slaves (sometimes sent to row in galley ships).

Most pirates did not bury their treasure and leave behind a map. Instead they squandered their loot on women, gambling, and drinking. Supposedly, Captain Kidd did bury his treasure on Gardiner's Island, New York, but he didn't live to reclaim it and it has never been found.
French pirate Olivier Ie Vasseur (alias The Buzzard), is also said to have buried a fortune. In 1721 he seized a Portuguese ship carrying gold and silver bars, chests of gold guineas, casks of diamonds, silks, and luxury goods worth a fortune. The Buzzard was captured alive in 1730. At his hanging he is said to have flung a roll of documents at the crowd with the challenge, "Find my treasure, who can!


Pirates liked to enjoy themselves when they went ashore, and were not noted for their savings. Certainly very few of them held onto their money long enough to bury any of it.
What you will need:
· lids or pastry cutters to draw around to make small circles.
· cardboard
· cork
· craft knife (TAKE CARE)
· scissors
· aluminum and gold foil
· pencil

1. Draw around lids or pastry cutters on a cardboard.

2. Cut the discs out, for smaller coins, slice off pieces from a cork.

3. Cover all the pieces with silver or gold foil, with the shiny side facing out.

4. Draw designs on top, using a pencil. (Take care not to pierce through the foil.)