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You’ve probably never heard of Robins Island, a teardrop-shaped islet half the size of Central Park in the Great Peconic Bay on the East End of Long Island. But it may very well be the most valuable private estate in all of the Hamptons — and the most untouchable.

Sandwiched midway between the North and South forks, Robins Island is roughly 435 acres with miles and miles of waterfront.

For comparison, a 42-acre compound, less than one-tenth the size of Robins Island, with far less waterfront, sold in Southampton this spring for close to $145 million.

“If it were just raw land, I’d guess Robins Island would be worth about a $100 million,” Corcoran’s Susan Breitenbach guessed, noting that she has never visited the island. “But depending on what’s out there in terms of infrastructure, it might be worth from $200 million to $500 million.”

The island is roughly 435 acres.
The island is roughly 435 acres.
Moore Capital Management

Satellite images reveal two large estate homes on the island, what appears to be a caretaker’s home, a tennis court, a dock and thick woodlands. Boats to the island depart from the North Sea Harbor in Southampton.

But the very fact that area brokers, who make it their business to know the ins and outs of the Hamptons’ best estates, are foggy on its structures and amenities illustrates just how thick the veil of mystery is surrounding Robins Island.

A satellite's view of Robins Island.
Satellite images reveal that the island, located just north of Southampton, boasts two large estate houses, a tennis court, a private dock and what appears to be a caretaker’s home.
Google Maps

Asked by The Post about the island, both the Sag Harbor harbormaster and a village policeman shrugged.

North Haven’s John Diat, 59, said that the waters around Robins are famed for their fishing but he’s less certain about what might happen on the island itself. The retired media executive added that he’s heard about well-attended bird hunts on the island.
“I heard that Jimmy Buffett was shooting there in November,” he said.

A sailor in Montauk — dressed in a dark tan safari vest and trucker’s cap emblazoned with the word “CASH” — added that he has heard urban legends about Robins Island.

I don’t know if there’s any substance to it, but I was told Captain Kidd buried treasure there.

Anonymous sailor

“I don’t know if there’s any substance to it, but I was told Captain Kidd buried treasure there,” the sailor, who asked to remain anonymous, said.

“That’s totally true,” said Cutchogue resident Tonya Witczak, 46. “The owner just won’t let you over there to search for it.”

That mystery “owner” is 64-year-old billionaire financier Louis Bacon, who purchased Robins Island in bankruptcy court in 1993 for a mere $11 million.

The waters around Robins are famed for their fishing.
The waters around Robins are famed for their fishing.
Moore Capital Management

Born to wealthy family in North Carolina, Bacon made his bones on Wall Street as an investor and hedge fund manager, starting Moore Global Investments in 1990 with $25,000 of family money and turning it in to one of the most lucrative hedge funds ever.
But while most masters of the universe tend to take an interest in Hamptons real estate once they’ve made their fortune, Bacon’s interest in Robins Island started back in his college days, when he worked on a charter fishing boat out of Montauk and regularly sailed past the island.

At that time the island’s ownership was under dispute — it had been under dispute since the Revolutionary War, when it was seized from its Loyalist owner, Parker Wickham, by Patriot members of the Culper Spy Ring.

An osprey nest is seen on the shore of the island.
An osprey nest is seen on the shore of the island.
Moore Capital Management

Nearly 200 years later, in 1979 it was sold for $1.3 million to German investors who tried to unsuccessfully flip it to everyone from Moroccan royalty to Donald Trump.

In the late 1980s, Suffolk County nearly purchased it to help preserve the land — which was one of the last largely undeveloped areas on the East End — but politics got in the way of a deal.

Around the same time in 1989, Wickham’s descendants sued to regain control of the island, which they claimed had been stolen from their family. Those disputes allowed Bacon to swoop in to buy Robins Island on the cheap.

Fledged red tail hawk on the island.
Thanks to Bacon, the majority of Robins Island is now a nature preserve where endangered birds flourish.
Moore Capital Management

But unlike his peers, who have built out-of-scale, Bond villain-esque lairs in the Hamptons, South Florida, Beverly Hills or Aspen, Bacon gave his fortress of solitude to the birds.

In 1997, Bacon granted a conservation easement for most of the island to the Virginia-based global environmental organization the Nature Conservancy, making Robins Island a protected wilderness area.

Rumor has it Captain Kidd buried treasure on Robins Island.
Rumor has it Captain Kidd buried treasure on Robins Island.
Moore Capital Management

More recently, the property was transferred to a family trust intended to forever prevent further development.

It’s not the first time Bacon has preserved insanely valuable real estate. According to the Moore Charitable Foundation’s website, the conservation philanthropist has “protected more than 214,000 acres of land in perpetuity across the United States,” including granting conservation easements in his home state of North Carolina (to protect the Cape Fear river watershed), Wyoming and Colorado. His Colorado donation of 167,000 acres on the Trinchera Blanca Ranch to the US Fish and Wildlife Service was the largest it ever received.

Faraway shot of Lyford Cay.
At Lyford Cay (above) in the Bahamas, Bacon spent years feuding in courts from London to Los Angeles with his neighbor: disgraced fashion mogul Peter Nygård.
Shutterstock / Zoe Esteban

But not all of Bacon’s land deals work out quite so well.

He is best known perhaps for his mansion at the exclusive gated community of Lyford Cay in the Bahamas, where he had a vicious, long running and very public feud with neighbor and disgraced fashion mogul Peter Nygård.

For more than a decade the men battled in courts from London to Los Angeles, exchanging lawsuits over development rights and defamation suits, including accusations of drug trafficking, character assassination and even a soupçon of murder.

The latter-day Hatfields and McCoys never did mend their faces, although in the end Bacon’s foundation is famed in the Bahamas for its work conserving the oceanic white-tip shark, while Nygård’s NYC headquarters were raided last year by the FBI before he was formally charged with sex trafficking.

Peter Nygard
No love lost: Bacon’s archnemesis Peter Nygård (above) has been charged with sex trafficking.
Getty Images

Today, Robins Island provides a safe haven for threatened local shorebirds, including terns, piping plovers, sandpipers and oystercatchers. Ospreys flourish and at least one pair of bald eagles are known to have mated on the island, while animals (the eastern mud turtle) and plants (seabeach knotweed) otherwise endangered can be seen thriving in the restored environment on Robins Island.

Full-grown oak trees have been replanted to replace ones previously harvested, grasses not native to the area have been removed and the herds of deer once overrunning the island have been culled.

While neither the notoriously press-shy Bacon nor his philanthropic Moore Charitable Foundation would comment to The Post, a spokesman did make clear that regular hunting parties and celebrity sightings on Robins Island were no more than idle gossip.

The official word about Buffett, for instance, is that no one knows anything about the king of the Parrotheads ever dropping by for a friendly visit. Buffett’s representatives did not reply to requests for comment.

As for the real estate value of Robins Island — even in a Hamptons market that is “out of control” with “almost nothing available,” according to Breitenbach — neither Bacon nor his heirs will ever be able to cash in via development.

But don’t worry too much about Bacon: he still has Captain Kidd’s treasure to fall back on.

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