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The Curse of Oak Island: Lagina brothers feared major discovery was planted by producers

Lagina brothers and Spanish maravedi
Marty and Rick Lagina and, inset, the Spanish maravedi coin discovered on The Curse of Oak Island Season 1. Pic credit: History

Rick and Marty Lagina, the brothers at the center of History’s hit show The Curse of Oak Island, feared that one of its central discoveries may have been planted by producers.

The revelation was revealed in a new book by renowned journalist Randall Sullivan which delves into both the background of the show and the history of the island’s famous mystery.

The discovery — of a Spanish maravedi (“piece of 8”) coin from the 1600s— was the biggest find of the show’s first season and was said to have been a “determining” factor in the decision to continue filming The Curse of Oak Island for a second season.

But in his book, The Curse of Oak Island: The Story of the World’s Longest Treasure Hunt, Sullivan reveals that both Rick and Marty Lagina both told him separately that they had originally feared that the coin may have been planted.

The pair were then said to have “intensely” questioned the show’s executive producer Kevin Burns along with other producers about their suspicions.

Only after that did they become convinced that the find was legitimate. However, they did also tell producers if that if it ever did emerge that the coin had been planted then the show would come to a halt with immediate effect.

Since the first season, the Lagina brothers’ initial fears have been shown to have been unwarranted with hundreds of additional discoveries, both of coins as well as other artifacts now thought to be far more significant, being made on the island.

The discovery of the Spanish maravedi was made on the final episode of The Curse of Oak Island Season 1, back in 2014, and was described by Marty Lagina at the time as “probably the most valuable thing ever found on Oak Island”.

Sullivan wrote: “Only when I arrived on Oak Island during the shooting of season four did I learn that both of the Lagina brothers were nagged by the suspicion that the maravedi had been planted at the Mercy Point by the producers of The Curse of Oak Island.

“It was the only subject on which I heard both the brothers speak with one voice. Without me bringing it up, Rick and Marty had each, in separate conversations, told me that they’d intensely questioned Kevin Burns and the other producers about their suspicions.

“‘It just seemed a little too convenient,’ Marty said. The producers had adamantly denied it and the Laginas had accepted those denials, but they had also told Burns that if they ever found out the coin had been planted, the show would end immediately.

“I told them that what I knew of the producers had convinced me they would never go along with such a deception, and both brothers appeared happy to hear it.”

Sullivan’s book, which was released this month, dives deep into the history of the Oak Island and the theories behind what happened there.

It includes many stories most fans of the show will never have heard before, after Sullivan was given unprecedented access to both the Lagina brothers and other people central to the treasure hunt over the years.

The Curse of Oak Island airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on History. Randall Sullivan’s book The Curse of Oak Island: The Story of the World’s Longest Treasure Hunt is available now, published by Atlantic Monthly Press.


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