This article from a Delaware publication notes that coins from a two-hundred-year-old shipwreck are still sought and sometimes found at 'Money beach'.
“A most melancholy catastrophe,” the Pennsylvania Packet reported in 1785, “occurred on Thursday the 1st instant, near the capes of Delaware. The ship Faithful Steward, (Capt.) McCausland, from Londonderry, bound to this port, with 240 passengers on board, standing into the Bay, unfortunately ran on a shoal to the southward of Cape Henlopen, about 150 yards from dry land. The captain, and some others, got ashore, but the surge being very violent, the boats were unable to return to the ship, which lay till the next day, and then beat to pieces.”
The wreck of the Faithful Steward on Sept. 1, 1785, was the greatest disaster to have occurred on the Delaware coast. Out of about 260 people aboard, about 70 survived. In addition to its human cargo, the Faithful Steward carried a shipment of copper pennies that were spilled into the ocean when the ship foundered.
After the Faithful Steward disaster, the ship’s cargo of coins were scattered by the constant movement of the ocean waves. Occasionally, some of these pennies were cast onto the sand; but so few people visited the Delaware coast at the time, the sand covered up the pennies before anyone noticed.
On Feb. 24, 1937, the New York Times reported, “Copper coins issued under the reign of George III of Great Britain, and bearing dates from 1774 to 1782 were picked up along the oceanfront today near Indian River Inlet, just south of Lewes. Youths from the Lewes CCC camp discovered several hundred coins lying on the beach.”
On Sept. 1, 1939, the New York Times reported, “Daybreak yesterday found scores of persons at this resort’s ‘money beach’ five miles south of the ocean front near the Indian River Inlet in search of copper pieces, minted nearly two centuries ago in the reigns of King George II and III of England … Two Philadelphia matrons on Monday found nineteen coins. Mrs. Harry Fehr of Whitemarsh located 39, where her sister, Mrs. John W. Watson of Chestnut Hill, added 44.”
Although nearly three-quarters of a century have passed since these vacationers discovered a small portion of the Faithful Steward’s cargo, alert beachcombers visit the area north of the Indian River Inlet after strong storms or unusual tides in the hope of spotting a coin from the Delaware coast’s most disastrous shipwreck.
To read the complete article, see:
Sussex Journal: 'Money beach' still lures coin hunters
Wayne Homren, Editor
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