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Pieces Of King

July 2024
1min read

We are pleased to report that last year an antiques dealer named Louis Miller, armed with a seventy-dollar metal detector and information from an article in our August, 1958, issue entitled “The Search for the Missing King,” dug up a long-buried fragment of the most famous statue in early American history.

Five days after the signing of the Declaration of Independence a courier from Philadelphia galloped into New York bearing the news that the colonists there were now part of the embattled United States of America. A defiant citizenry converged on Bowling Green and gathered around the huge gilded-lead equestrian statue of King George III that had been erected there six years before. The patriots threw ropes around the likeness of their sometime monarch and toppled it to the ground. The statue was chopped into pieces, and two tons of these were shipped off to Litchfield, Connecticut, to be melted down for bullets. But not all of the king was fired at his troops, and from time to time fragments of the statue turned up. The last of these, a group of four large pieces including the tail of the horse, came to light more than a hundred years ago.

Louis Miller, however, was undismayed by the century-long lack of new fragments and occasionally went prospecting for parts of the statue along the route followed so long ago. Miller’s search paid off last October when he was prowling through swampy ground two miles from his Wilton, Connecticut, home. His metal detector started the electronic keening that meant it had picked up some metallic substance buried in the soil. Miller dug down and came up with a twenty-pound piece of lead that is unquestionably part of the two-hundred-year-old statue —although which part is not clear. At the present time the fragment is on display in the Museum of the City of New York, and the Connecticut treasure hunter is planning new forays with better equipment.

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