In 1780 The British Frigate Hussar carrying $4 million in gold and silver coin sank in the East River; then in 1782 another Frigate the Lexington deposited an additional $1.8 million in the East River Bank.
I spent my childhood in New York City and as a teenager made trips to swim in the East River. So this is an appropriate starting place for our treasure site analysis.
In “Buried Treasure and Lost Gold Mines” I tell about the East River bank and the treasures that surround the New York Islands. The many shipwrecks that dot the shores are somewhat vague as to what they contain, and their locations but the East River bank is one of the most accurately defined lost treasures that you might want to consider.
As a kid in New York I knew about the cold waters of the East River and the treacherous currents around Hell gate Bridge but I never gave much thought as that they would be any different.
The story starts during the Revolutionary war when her Majesty’s ship Hussar bringing gold to British troops was introduced to the cold and treacherous waters of the East River.
I’ll leave the details of just how the Hussar came to a sorry end for the enthusiast who purchase my $4.99 downloaded ebook and just consider why the treasure hasn’t been bought up before now.
The first possibility of course is that the treasure has been raised, maybe by the British when they first lost it, or else later by somebody else and they just neglected to tell us.
The second, and more likely, is that it’s still there but we just don’t know exactly where to look
The problem with searching in the East River today is that there is a lot of traffic, even more so than there was just 70 years ago when the last salvage efforts were made; so it is very difficult to set up a dredging operation in a shipping channel with all sorts of traffic jammed down your neck.
Aside from the river traffic, taking a look at the picture above you can see that the currents are horrendous. The photograph is looking forward and not off the stern of the ship that I was on so the disturbance is not the ships wake.
The currents are in fact very swift. I have been there and watched them. The view is just passing the end of Roosevelt Island on the right and entering the Hellgate area about where the Hussar floundered, only judging from the story the Hussar probably passed Roosevelt Island on the other side… off the Queens shore.
In addition the water is very murky and is difficult to see through. Another problem is that the silt on the bottom is very deep and is believed to have completely swallowed the wreck.
My guess is any treasure salver, working in New York City waters, would not be allowed to dump the dredge-spoil back into the river. This means you would also need a barge to haul the spoil out to the ocean.
All this will cut into the reported $4 million in 1780 gold; not to mention that there may be some officials standing around with their hands out.
If only you could just sneak out some dark night with a flashlight. Hey anyone got a better idea let us know.