Cayman 27 – ARCHIVE
Culture News

Reward offered for return of unusual missing family heirloom

A repeat Cayman Islands visitor is offering a cash reward for the return of an unusual family heirloom.

He said the gentleman’s grooming tool made of gold was last seen 30 May at a popular George Town restaurant.

A proper gentleman of the 16th and 17th centuries may be familiar with this grooming tool: it’s a toothpick which doubles as an earwax spoon.

“They wore one of these around their neck,” Karen McKee told Cayman 27. “It’s sort of crude when you think about it today but it actually was very common for somebody to have one of these.”

Ms. McKee said her colleague Dan Porter showed her his treasured family heirloom over a meal at the Lobster Pot.

“She is a colonial artifact expert, so I was showing her a replica of an artifact that we had found on a 1622 Spanish Galleon, the Santa Margarita,” Mr. Porter told Cayman 27 via telephone from the Florida coast.

In 1622 the Santa Margarita, laden with treasures plundered from the new world, was enroute to Spain from Cuba when it was overtaken by a developing storm and wrecked in the Marquesas keys off the Florida strait.

The original grooming tool was recovered from the historic shipwreck in 2008 along with other treasures. At the time the Associated Press reported its value could exceed $100,000 US.

“It’s a pretty unique piece, it is very special and dear to me even though it is a replica,” said Mr. Porter, a historic shipwreck recovery specialist.

Mr. Porter told Cayman 27 he discovered the golden grooming tool missing after leaving the restaurant. He said he and Ms. McKee went back to the restaurant for a look but didn’t find it.

“I believe that is quite possible that I either left it on the table, or had it sitting on my lap waiting until I stood up to put it in my pocket, it could possibly have fallen the floor,” said Mr. Porter.

Mr. Porter is offering a $1,600 CI reward for the return of this treasured family heirloom – no questions asked.

“We’re not worried about anything except for just getting the artifact returned,” said Mr. Porter.

We just had to ask, and Mr. Porter confirmed that, yes, he has used the grooming tool for both its intended purposes.

Please contact (345) 928-0070 or with any information or to arrange to claim the reward.


About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to

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