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Pirates of the Caribbean

Colorful collector series starts with a host coin from the region once plagued by rovers.

WHEN DOES a circulating coin become a non-circulating, legal-tender (NCLT) issue? Answer: When it is chosen as the host coin for a new thematic release.

Such is the case with “The Golden Age of Piracy,” a new series of 10 coins issued by Gavia GmbH, a major supplier of coinage to European collectors. An enamel finish was applied to the obverse of the host coin, the East Caribbean States 25 cents. The East Caribbean dollar is the monetary unit of eight members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS): Antigua and Barbuda; Dominica; Grenada; Montserrat; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Lucia; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and Anguilla. The British Virgin Islands is the sole exception.

Each coin in the series pictures a famous pirate who roamed the Caribbean. William “Captain” Kidd  (c. 1645-1701) was a Scottish sailor tried and executed for piracy after returning from a voyage to the Indian Ocean. Welsh rover Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts (1682-1722), born John Roberts, raided shipping off the Americas and West Africa between 1719 and 1722. Teach, “Blackbeard” (c. 1680-1718) was a feared English pirate in the West Indies and along the east coast of the American colonies.

French pirate Francois L’Olonnais (c. 1635-68), born Jean-David Nau, was active in the Caribbean during the 1660s. Francis Drake (1540-96) was knighted in 1581 and was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588.

Anne Bonny (1702-82) was an Irish pirate who plied her trade in the Caribbean. She was married to a poor sailor, James Bonny, who took her to the Bahamas. While there, Anne had an affair with the pirate John “Calico Jack” Rackham (1682-1720). She left her husband and accompanied her lover on many of his exploits. Although Bonny is one of the best-known rovers in history, she never commanded a ship of her own. Her renown derives from the fact that, as a female pirate, she was a rarity. “Calico Jack” acquired his nickname from the clothing he wore. Active toward the end of the era known as the “Golden Age of Piracy,” he was noted for having female crew members. Calico Jack was among the first pirates to fly the Jolly Roger, the black flag with white skull-and-crossbones insignia.

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