Years of planning are coming together toward marking the 300th anniversary of the July 31, 1715, sinking of the Spanish treasure fleet off the eastern coast of Florida during a storm.
Kicking off the commemoration will be a selected display of recovered sunken treasure and artifacts from the State of Florida’s extensive collection related to the fleet. The items will be exhibited Jan. 8 to 11, 2015, at the Florida United Numismatists Convention at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
To bring the treasure exhibit together, Ben Costello, as one of three directors of the 1715 Fleet Society, collaborated with others. From the collecting community are Bob Hurst, past FUN president and current FUN board of directors member; and Ernie Richards, publisher of PLVS VLTRA Newsletter from En Rada Publications. Richards is also a 1715 Fleet Society director.
State collaborators are David Dickel, conservation lab supervisor and state archaeologist for the Research and Conservation Laboratory for the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources, and Dickel’s colleague, senior archaeologist Marie Prentice.
The 1715 Plate Society is scheduled to host a two-day seminar July 28 and 29, 2015, at the Vero Beach Museum of Art as part of the society’s week-long celebration of the 1715 Fleet.
Phil Flemming from Scottsdale, Ariz., the third director of the 1715 Fleet Society, is the designated academic coordinator for the seminar. Flemming is responsible for selecting the topics to be presented as well as the presenters.
Costello said Aug. 13 that arrangements have been made with the Indian River County Main Library in Vero Beach to present lectures, displays and artifacts related to the 1715 Fleet.
“The library has in its possession a significant archival video,” Costello said. “The video, taken on March 15, 1997, is an interview of members of the Real Eight Co. Inc., including Dr. Kip Kelso, Col. Dan Thompson, Lt. Col. Harry Cannon, Louis J. Ullian, Bob Johnson, John Jones, Del Long and Rex Stocker.
“This may be one of the last interviews of this group together.”
The Real Eight Co. Inc. was incorporated in 1961 for the purpose of conducting treasure salvage operations from the sites of the wrecked ships from the 1715 Fleet.