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Ancient coins may solve mystery of murderous 1600s pirate

A 17th century Arabian silver coin, top, that research shows was struck in 1693 in Yemen, rests near an Oak Tree Shilling minted in 1652 by the Massachusetts Bay Colony, below, and a Spanish half real coin from 1727, right, on a table, in Warwick, R.I., Thursday, March 11, 2021. The Arabian coin was found at a farm, in Middletown, R.I., in 2014 by metal detectorist Jim Bailey, who contends it was plundered in 1695 by English pirate Henry Every from Muslim pilgrims sailing home to India after a pilgrimage to Mecca. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

WARWICK, R.I. (AP) — A handful of 17th-century Arabian silver coins unearthed around New England may help solve one of the planet’s oldest cold cases.

Amateur historian and metal detectorist Jim Bailey found the first intact coin in a Rhode Island orchard and discovered it was minted in 1693 in Yemen.

Other coins have turned up in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and Bailey has found documents tying them to English pirate Henry Every.

The murderous pirate became the subject of the first worldwide manhunt after plundering an Indian ship carrying Muslim pilgrims home from Mecca.

Bailey and other historians say it’s evidence that Every, who was never captured, hid in the American colonies for a time.

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