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Old salts meet for shipwreck conference


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Sometimes the key to solving the mystery isn't a key at all - it's a coin.

Researchers often used numismatics, the study of coins, to determine a ship's origin. It stems from an English superstition in which a coin is placed under the main mast during construction. The coin was sent to the Smithsonian Institute for identification, but the results were disappointing; it was a English penny, minted before 1859.


This is an interesting tradition in seafaring that goes back to ancient times.


Even US Naval vessels, such as the USS Constitution have coins under the main mast, back in the 1970's when the Navy restored the Constitution again, they found several coins from the early 1920's from the previous restoration.

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