May 17, 2009
"Collection of Spanish Silver Stolen from Horton Point Lighthouse"
SOUTHOLD, NY. The Southold Historical Society has announced that a rare collection of Spanish silver coins excavated from a wreck off Horton Point were stolen from the Horton Point Lighthouse Nautical Museum in Southold on Saturday, May 16, 2009.
The coins, which were on display in a sealed case, were removed sometime between 11am and 5pm on Saturday during the Lighthouse Challenge - a popular event that occurs each May.
"We are simply heartbroken," stated Geoffrey K. Fleming, Director of the Society. "It is a great tragedy when objects are stolen from museums - even more so when they have a very special connection to the area," he continued.
The approximately 20 Spanish silver coins, which date from between 1751 and 1782, were excavated from an unnamed wreck that was discovered in 1994 off the Long Island coast near the Horton Point Lighthouse.
"According to our records, the coins are the only documented Spanish treasure found and recovered from Long Island Waters - a great rarity," stated Fleming. The coins were purchased by the Society a few years later for a sizable sum so that they could be permanently displayed to the thousands of visitors who come to see the Lighthouse and Nautical Museum each year.
"The saddest part of this unfortunate event is that it happened in Southold, a place where you just do not expect something like this to happen," Fleming continued.
The Society will be offering a reward for any information that leads to the return of the coins. Any information received regarding the robbery will remain strictly confidential. If anyone has information regarding the whereabouts of the stolen coins, they are urged to contact the Southold Town Police Department at (631) 765-2600.
For further information, please contact the Southold Historical Society at (631) 765-5500 or on the web at www.southoldhistoricalsociety.org