The Baron’s loss
Charles Pershing Glyn was the 9th Baron Wolverton. The British peerage system is a complicated one. Suffice to say, the ranks go like this: Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, Baron and Baronet. Our man Glyn was a Baron, and a fairly low one on the peerage hierarchy, so it would seem. Baron Wolverton was not a great statesman, leader, or even worker in his own right. He was quite an eccentric and almost singularly focused on one thing, obtaining rare and lost items. In this way, I’d say, Baron Wolverton is a lot like your favorite professor/explorer, wouldn’t you say? But that is where the similarity ends, if needs must…
Glyn was never supposed to have inherited the Barony of Wolverton, which is in Buckinghamshire just outside London. Indeed, he presided as Baron for so short a time that he isn’t even listed in the UK Peerage lists. Charles Glyn was an eccentric character. He really didn’t have the money to purchase rare items, but what money he did manage to get, he spent on antiquities. His favorites were his antique (even for the 1860s) coin collection which contained, as you can imagine, a full set of “the 12 Caesars” which apparently he paid many hundreds of pounds sterling for from a traveling Balkan merchant.
Because Glyn was so reckless and single-minded in his pursuits, he was on the verge of losing his Barony to his uncle, Frederick Glyn, when he took an ill-fated trip to the USA. He was looking to acquire some valuables (silverware, etc.) supposedly once owned by Benedict Arnold. Charles Glyn arrived in New York City on New Year’s Day in 1864. He chartered a carriage to head to upstate New York to meet with a silver broker who supposedly had these oddities for sale. However, when Glyn arrived at the meeting site two days later, he found he had been duped. There were no silver wares for sale, only lies. Drowning his sorrows in a local Publick House, he overheard two woodsmen talking about a cache of jewels from colonial times that had been unearthed in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Buoyed by a new adventure, Glyn quickly chartered another carriage to head out east and hopefully bargain the prize into his possession. A week after his fateful meeting in the pub, Glyn was outbid on the jewels by a wealthy Trenton, NJ industrialist. To make matters worse, a cable arrived from London telling Glyn he was no longer a Baron of Wolverton, that Frederick Glyn has assumed the rights and duties of the position. The whole trip to the US a failure, his future uncertain, Glyn booked passage on The Bohemian to set sail for Liverpool. However, The Bohemian never made it out of the Maine harbors and sunk on that fateful night in February 1864. Glyn managed to float on some flotsam for about 30 minutes before a lifeboat pulled him from the freezing ocean.
Glyn had even bigger problems now. He could never bear to be separated from his beloved coin collection, which contained not only the “12 Caesars” but also some coins from Alexander the Great’s reign, coins from the Tan Dynasty of China, and assorted others. In the chaos of the sinking of The Bohemian, Glyn had lost all of his coins. Now despondent, Glyn wandered around Portland, Main for several weeks, talking to anyone who would listen about his woes. Glyn also used the last of his personal funds to hire divers to try and scour the sea bottom near what is now Boothbay Harbor to try and find his coins. No luck. Destitute and disgraced, Glyn was eventually sent home at the expense of his uncle and nothing further is known of his fate.
My friends, your favorite professor readies to do this summer what Glyn was unable to do, recover the “12 Caesars” and other coins. Unfortunately, Glyn would never have had the luxury of time to wait for ocean currents to shift so imperceptively slightly as to be able to pick up debris from the shipwreck of The Bohemian and simply wash it ashore into waiting hands (which will be mine). Thanks to data from a colleague of mine (and confirmation using the eDonkey 3000), I have pinpointed where these coins should appear, and the window in time is small! I am having Norman work on pinpointing everything to the last second and meter, but for sure, your favorite professor will be in the treasure again after a pandemic-forced hiatus! Stay tuned!