Every year, treasure hunts for these and other ships are carried out among the Southern Bahamas. No one can guess how much, if anything, has been recovered, but every-one in Nassau knows of the 72-lb. silver bar recovered by two Nassau businessmen off Gorda Cay in 1950, and since presented to the Nassau Development Board, in whose offices it is permanently on view.Fleming, Ian. Thunderball (James Bond) (p. 107).
Treasure hunts are referenced several times in the James Bond novels. The incident described above is real.
As Fleming described, two Nassau businessmen, Howard Lightbourn and Roscoe Thompson recovered a 72-lb silver bar off of Gorda Cay in 1950. The bar was dated to 1652 and was the property of King Philip IV of Spain.
For many years the bar was indeed displayed at the offices of the Nassau Development Board.
The Development Board was replaced by the Tourism Board, and the current whereabouts of the bar is unknown. (I’ve made an inquiry with the Tourism Board about this.)
The Island is small, approximately 1000 acres in size. It was first inhabited in 1783, and has had a colorful history of pirates, bootleggers and drug runners.
Looking for Gorda Cay on a map today? You won’t find it. In 1997, The Walt Disney Company purchased a 99-year lease on the island and renamed it Castaway Cay. It is now a stop for the Disney Cruise Line.
3 thoughts on “The 72-lb Silver Bar on Gorda Cay”
In which of Fleming’s books does he refer this silver bar. Any luck with the search for it?