REPUBLIC Remains Saga of Treasure and Intrigue

RMS Republic

RMS Republic

Capt. Martin Bayerle is back and he thinks he knows where the treasure lies aboard the RMS Republic, a luxury liner that sank off Nantucket, Massachusetts, in 1909. It’s not that he went away after a failed attempt in 1987 to retrieve the cargo of gold coins purported to be somewhere in the bowels of the 585-foot White Star liner.

Throughout the years the steadfast former Martha’s Vineyard dive shop owner has visited archives, maritime museums and insurance companies in the U.S., U.K., Ireland and France in an effort to prove the treasure is there and why there are no records of it. After all the years of research, Bayerle believes he has discovered a secret kept by French government officials and Tzar Nicholas II of Russia, major players in an age-old drama of international intrigue.

RMS Republic

RMS Republic

Records show that in 1908 France bought gold from U.S. financial institutions at low interest rates in order to pay off a loan coming due from Russia. Neither country wanted publicity, France under threat of war and the Tzar struggling with the Bolsheviks. As Bayerle uncovered what he calls the “Tzar’s Secret,” he also found naval records that alluded to a military payroll of nearly $1 million in gold coins being shipped to a navy base in Gibraltar, one of the vessel’s stops on its way to the Mediterranean. Nothing was listed on the ship’s manifest.

Sailing in a dense fog, the Italian liner SS Florida struck the Republic broadside, yet managed to stay afloat and save all but four of the passengers and crew before the White Star liner sank. The ship’s boilers were shut down upon collision in order to avoid possible explosions. Without steam to operate the winches, the crew couldn’t attempt to raise the tons of gold.

RMS Republic

RMS Republic

Bayerle began researching the ship in 1979, sometimes working 10 hours a day. He made frequent trips to Washington, searching records in the National Archives and the U.S. Treasury Department. He had a friend who alternated with him on trips to dig deep into all the records they could muster. On one occasion, Bayerle’s friend says he was followed by Secret Service or Treasure Department agents. A least he hoped they were government agents since rumors were running rampant that the Mafia, filtering money through a Caribbean island, was interested in backing an expedition to the wreck.

Bayerle, who owns salvage rights through Admiralty Law, says he knows where the gold was stored and how to raise it. Its value in 1987 was $4 million, but has increased to more than a billion dollars now owing to the numismatic value of the rare gold eagles.

The Tsar's Treasure: The Sunken White Star Liner with a Billion Dollar Secret by Martin Bayerle

The Tsar’s Treasure: The Sunken White Star Liner with a Billion Dollar Secret by Martin Bayerle

Millions of dollars are being raised to fund the venture that will include a reliable topside vessel and a team of saturation divers that will be challenged at 40 fathoms by low visibility, heavy North Atlantic shipping lanes and inquisitive sharks.

“When I dove on the wreckage years ago,” Bayerle says, “I had no practical knowledge of where to look for the treasure. Nor did I have the knowledge to substantiate the rumors. I was searching for a treasure I didn’t know for certain existed and didn’t know where to look in the sprawling field of wreckage. Now I know it exists and where to find it. Secrets don’t remain secrets forever.”

For further information read The Tzar’s Treasure: The Sunken White Star Liner With a Billion Dollar Secret by Capt. Martin Bayerle and G.S. Payne or visit:

About Ellsworth Boyd

Ellsworth Boyd, Professor Emeritus, College of Education, Towson University, Towson, Maryland, pursues an avocation of diving and writing. He has published articles and photo's in every major dive magazine in the US., Canada, and half a dozen foreign countries. An authority on shipwrecks, Ellsworth has received thousands of letters and e-mails from divers throughout the world who responded to his Wreck Facts column in Sport Diver Magazine. When he's not writing, or diving, Ellsworth appears as a featured speaker at maritime symposiums in Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, New York and Philadelphia. "Romance & Mystery: Sunken Treasures of the Lost Galleons," is one of his most popular talks.
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14 Responses to REPUBLIC Remains Saga of Treasure and Intrigue

  1. Terry Martin says:

    Intriguing read

  2. Randy says:

    If he has pictures then he found it. Whats the problem? Its his now so if the gold is there then hes a billionaire.

  3. rick says:

    he will find it but the mafia will find a way to get involved

  4. Ellsworth Boyd says:

    Thank you Terry
    Randy: The problem is that it takes a LOT of money to launch a salvage expedition necessary to get into this wreck. I’m sure Marty has been trying to raise the funds, but it’s not an easy task. I hope he succeeds, but I think it’s along shot.

  5. Jody Sullivan says:

    We’ve been watching the show and hope he finds it.

  6. Plumbob says:

    The problem lies in short dive times. Once on bottom, divers only have 30 minutes or so… I think they need the Calypso submersible or similar to do the hunting, then send diver to pack Gold……if there is in fact gold to pack

  7. George says:

    Why are the mix tubes only so long as to get a diver a few feet into the wreck. No, im not a deep sea salvage diver, im a retired paratrooper, so I’ve done my share of difficult tasks. I am less than impressed with the salvage and dive masters of the ship.

  8. George says:

    And yes, Martin seems to be a guy I can respect, I hope he hits the motherlode and every diver gets a good bonus. I will buy a coin from this ship in honor of Mr. Bayerle, and all who dived on it. Again, the problems arent their fault, but the leadership, and the ingrained difficulties of such an operation.

  9. Rick martin says:

    Don’t stop’s ur time glad see grant on board with u.hard part was finding wreck buddy.ur knowledge is power.

  10. Sandy Benoit says:

    I have watched the show, don’t give up. Hope you find the treasure

  11. Sandy Benoit says:

    All his research and never giving up martin deserves to find what he is looking for. I really would like to see what is discovered. This is more intriguing than the Titantic.

  12. Courtney Sutherland says:

    There is something about the ship itself the iron used to build it. As fragile as it is the remaining weight of metal would be of value as well as any artifacts found. If the ship comes apart during a lift operation then it is opened up just have to lift where they think the hold with the gold in it. Likely the gold on the ship is not the greatest value of what is contained within.

  13. Don Cullett says:

    I believe Martin is on track for this huge treasure he deserves it the Republic will finally give it up to the man who has earned it an gave such a great great tale of this lost ship.

  14. Carl Edward Ireton says:

    I honestly wish you all the luck in the world in finding this treasure. History SHOULD BE preserved for posterity. I’ve never understood all the big outcry by those who felt that by salvaging valuable historical artifacts from the Titanic was somehow reprehensible and grave robbing.

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