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The Somerton Man Case. The body of a man found on an Australian beach close to a major Atomic Testing ground, he was probably poisoned, a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and an unbroken Code page found and associated to him. Set against a Cold War background in 1948, was this man a spy? We think so and this blog focuses on the evidence that was left behind and in some cases missed, the Code page, Dry Cleaning numbers, A Poem and a small, torn piece of paper bearing the words TAMAM SHUD.

Thursday, 12 October 2017




Amongst the contents of the pockets of the Somerton man when found was a single coin, the humble 'tanner', sixpence to those that no better and a silver coin for those who think a little laterally.

The question being asked here is simply this:

Was the sixpence that was found, the only money the man had left in his possession or was it a symbolic gesture? If you are familiar with the work of Virgil, the silver coin, silver because of its purity, was the cost of the ferry across from this life to the next, the journey across the River Styx.

Charon, the ferryman of Hades, had his fee for the task, a single silver coin. According to legend, the silver coin was to be placed beneath the tongue of the departed soul but a pocket? Maybe.

Is it possible that amongst the Academic Royalty that deigns to grace this blog, (anonymously of course), and others with their presence, could somehow have missed this prize piece of information?  Let's not prejudge them, it is highly likely that they would simply have had the thought cross their complex and superior minds but immediately dismissed it because it was so obviously outside the 'broad canon' of what is and isn't acceptable in the SM case, at least that, I imagine, would be the reason given their track records.

For me, well quite honestly, it was bugging me, why only sixpence? What else did he spend on that day? How much in total? A quick calculation gave me around 3 shillings, and what was left was a humble tanner. There has to be a logical reason albeit abstract. 

What are your thoughts?



  1. Hi Gordon,
    Just a single coin in his pocket, a humble sixpence (in the old coinage). Why not a penny or any other coin, why a sixpence coin? I think you've hit the nail on the head, this was a symbol which was overlooked and is still not recognised. The sixpence is the SM's way of stating he's on his final journey. Now, whether he put it in his pocket or somebody else did, the message remains the same. CT

  2. Thanks for the comment CT, From what I understand, the silver coin was placed by another, not the deceased. I don't pretend to know just who that might have been but by default, they would have been educated enough to know the significance of the silver. Having said that, it could be that SM put that there himself but my bones say he spent money on tickets, a pasty, maybe a shower and shave and all that's left is a sixpence piece. A coincidence? Possibly but...


  3. Seems that the sixpence was in fact 'sixpence in coins' and not a single coin, hmmm, and it was in the suitcase. That means that SM was absolutely stoney broke when found. Interesting isn't it that he had enough for the bus and train ticket, enough for his shower and shave and enough for his pasty, enough to pay for the medication he took perhaps, exactly enough with no more money in his possession at all.

    No 'lucky sixpence' no fare for the ferryman had been left with him but instead left in the suitcase.

    Some questions, if you only had just a few shillings left and knew you had sixpence in your suitcase, wouldn't you have taken that out of the case and put it in your pocket? Is it just pure chance that he had exactly enough money to last him the day and not a penny to spare? No money for the return trip to the railway station nor to pay for and collect his luggage, no money to buy his next train ticket to who knows where? Just exactly enough?

    Just maybe there was some money with him but it somehow mysteriously left his person?

    Oh, for you JS, the composition of a 1948 tanner was 50% silver, 40% copper, 5% zinc and 5% nickel. Not that it matters. Got a bite though :)